How to Apply for Criminology, Criminal Justice and Forensics Jobs

Interviewer looking over an applicants cover letter and resume. / Getty Images

Sometimes, taking the first step can be the hardest part of any journey, if only because you don't know where or how to start. This is especially true if you're looking for jobs. If criminology is where you want to work, you need to know where to go and how to apply for jobs in criminology and criminal justice.

Where to Look For Criminal Justice and Criminology Jobs

Before you can worry about who to send an application or resume to, you need to know what agencies, departments, and organizations have job openings in the jobs you're looking for.

In the case of criminal justice and criminology careers, the majority of your employers are going to be local, state or federal governments.  

The quickest and easiest way to learn about government vacancies is to visit their websites. More and more public employers are advertising their vacancies - and accepting applications - directly online.  

Across the country, states, counties, and municipalities are hiring all sorts of public service workers. All you need to do is visit the websites of governments you'd like to work for and start searching.

Finding Private Sector Criminology Careers

In the private sector, things aren't always so clear-cut. Here's where applying the keys to job search success - networking, informational interviews, cold calling and a lot of perseverance - will really be important.  Remember though, difficult does not mean impossible.  All it takes is a little research and effort.

First off, know which private sector employers hire criminal justice and criminology professionals. Look for retailers, financial institutions, and even hotel chains.

These organizations will likely have some form of loss prevention divisions, which may include investigations into financial and other so-called "white collar crime."

When to Submit Your Resume or Job Application and Who to Send It To

Once you've got your potential employers narrowed down, you need to find out whether to send a resume or complete a job application.  

For most public sector jobs, your first step will probably be a standard job application.  In some cases, you may be required to submit a resume along with the application. For private sector jobs, chances are you'll need to start with a well-written resume and cover letter.

If you're going after a specific job opening, read the instructions in the job advertisement carefully. There will very probably be instructions on how to apply, what information to include in your resume and who to send it to.  If you're cold calling, make sure your cover letter clearly paints a picture of who you are and what you want to do, and that your resume demonstrates what makes you qualified to do it.

Research your potential employers and find out who handles hiring in those organizations. Look for key terms like the hiring manager, recruiter, human resources, employee relations or similar titles.

These are going to be the people in charge of the hiring process and who will have a strong influence on who ultimately gets hired.

Applying for Jobs in Criminal Justice and Criminology

To apply for jobs, you'll need to look for specific job openings. The advertisements will have specific instructions on how to apply and where to submit the application. It's extremely important that you follow these instructions.

When applying for the job, make sure you complete the job application, and any supplemental application, in its entirety. Make sure you don't skip sections.  Answer all of the questions honestly, and do not leave out past employers if asked about them.

Get Prepared in Advance to Have the Best Chances of Success

Criminology and criminal justice careers are more than worth considering, but the job hunt can easily get frustrating if you're not well prepared.  You can help your chances by taking steps to make yourself the candidate employers are looking to hire.  

To do this, research the careers you may be interested in and find out exactly what kind of experience and education you'll need. This will help you to make good decisions on what you can do to get ready.

By doing this, you can go a long way toward landing a rewarding career when you finally take the leap to apply for the job.