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Whether you’re new to the field or you’re a seasoned investigator, you know the first step in any investigation is to gather information. The same goes for writing your resume. By reviewing investigator resume samples, you’ll learn what kind of information to include, the formatting options that are currently favored, and you’ll get a feel for the proper tone and style of a well-crafted resume.As you continue to read, you’ll learn about each section of a resume and the order in which they should appear, the best way to highlight your particular skills and qualifications to bring them to life, and common mistakes to avoid.Examples will be provided for complex or unfamiliar concepts, and you can use these tips on fine-tuning your resume to help you stand out from the crowd.
What to Include in an Investigator Resume
There’s no single black-and-white rule that dictates what to include in an investigator resume. Why?For one, investigators are used in many industries, including the insurance, law enforcement, and the corporate sectors. Not to mention, each individual investigator will have a different education level, set of certifications, and overall career path.You’ll be taking the factors above into consideration to write your own unique document that lets a potential employer see you as a candidate who meets all the qualifications listed on their job description.But while the specific nature of the information you may include in a resume varies extensively, the way you lay out the facts do not. Just as every case you work on starts with basic information and culminates in a solid case, so too will your resume take shape one step at a time, beginning with the basic structure.As you review investigator resume samples, you’ll notice certain consistencies in the three most prevalent formats: chronological, functional and combination.The chronological style is the most common and most familiar to potential employers and is usually used by job seekers who have relevant, consistent employment and who are following a traditional career path. The recommended sections for this style resume are:
- Contact info (name/phone/email)
- Resume summary
- Work experience
How to Write the Investigator Resume Summary Statement
Your resume summary is your opportunity to introduce yourself as the best candidate for the position at hand. Like they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and in a resume, the summary statement is it.Basic guidelines for writing a concise summary statement include:
- The summary should be no more than 2-3 statements
- If at all possible, the statements should be structured to describe a problem, your solution, and the positive result
- Incomplete sentences are preferred over complete ones, and first-person pronouns aren’t used in a resume
- The summary should concisely sum up your qualifications, greatest accomplishments and how you can add value to the employer
- Experienced investigator with over 10 years in the retail sector conducting background investigations, in-house surveillance, and tracking and prosecuting corruption involved in the misdirection of inventory. Recovered 75 percent of loss in restitution. Currently working in a corporate setting with primary focus on industrial espionage as it relates to the security of company laboratories and executive protection as a result of threats from environmental extremists.
- Insurance investigator with 15 years experience investigating questionable claims for injuries or damage. Conducted surveillance of claimants and provided photographic evidence of fraud. Interviewed witnesses and prepared internal pre-prosecution reports for legal department. Potential dollars saved by exposing insurance fraud last year totaled an estimated $1.5M.
How to Write the Investigator Work Experience Section
By this time, you need to have decided which resume format you’re going to use. If you need a reminder, review the investigator resume samples again for both content and presentation. The major difference between the two primary styles is:The chronological style focuses on your uninterrupted work history, which you worked for and when, and what you did. An entry in this style in the work history section includes your job title, the company your worked for, your employment dates and 3-5 bullet points highlighting your responsibilities and achievements. It should look something like this:Investigator, Corporate Security Global Enterprises – City, State January 2011 to February 2016
- Updated Security Vulnerability Assessments for all 15 labs in a 10 state area
- Negotiated a national contract with a tier I security firm
- Investigated bidding process for irregularities resulting in overhaul of entire process
Action Verbs to Include in Your Investigator Work Experience Section
As you craft your work experience section, keep in mind what qualities the employer is looking for and write so they can see you doing the job. Using industry-related action verbs like the ones listed below will show what you can do.
How to Write the Investigator Skills Section
As you consider your skills, let the potential employer’s job requirements be your guide. You probably have many valuable skills, but they should be listed in order of importance to the employer. You want them to nod as they read and see the ideal candidate before them.Here’s a possible breakdown of investigative skills for you to consider, but keep in mind that they have to describe the employee the hiring manager wants, so make this section your own.Interpersonal/personal skills:
- Strong written communication
- Ability to conduct in depth interviews
- First aide/CPR
- Expertise in computer searches, background checks
- Photographic equipment and its use day or night
- Understanding of complex security systems
- Self-defense training
How to Write the Investigator Education Section
While your career path and work experience are individual to you, another opportunity to further differentiate yourself from the crowd is in the education section of your resume.Whether you’re working on your degree or you’ve already graduated, your highest level of education should be listed first in this area. The information should include the school attended, school location, and degree obtained. If you’re currently in school, use the qualifier Ã¢â?¬Å?in progress.Ã¢â?¬Beyond degrees in criminal justice or police science, degrees in accounting, computer science, and computer forensics are also viewed as favorable areas of expertise. Not to mention, Continuing education, even if you already have a degree, will give you an edge, especially if you’ve taken courses relevant to the industry, like:
- Property crimes
- Presentation of evidence
- Emergency management
- Computer crimes
- Certified Legal Investigator, by the National Association of Legal Investigators
- Professional Certified investigator certification, by ASIS International
Should I Include References in my Investigator Resume
With all the good things you have to say about your experience as an investigator, you don’t want to take up perfectly good resume space with your references. The simple statement at the end of your resume that they’re available upon request will put you in the advantageous position of:
- Knowing for sure the employer is interested when they make the request
- Being able to let you references know to be expecting a call
- Asking them to let you know when they’ve been contacted and how it went
Investigator Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
- As an investigator, you’ve had to document your activities and prepare pre-prosecution reports. You understand the importance of accuracy. Your resume is no less important, so make sure you proofread it more than once, and if you can, have someone else read it before you submit it. Mistakes don’t speak well of you.
- Figure out a way to describe your accomplishments without violating a confidentiality agreement. Your reputation is critical to your success, and sharing inappropriate information on your resume will make a potential employer leery of trusting you.
- The purpose of your resume is to pique the employer’s interest so they’ll call you for an interview. If your resume is more than two pages long and loaded with dense paragraphs, they’re likely not to read it all the way through. A good rule of thumb, if you have to cut it down, is to eliminate information that the employer isn’t looking for.
- You don’t have to list every job you’ve ever had. Most employers view only the last 10-15 years as relevant. By sticking to this representation of you work experience, you’ll keep your resume to two pages, and you’ll avoid possible age discrimination that you’d never be aware of.
Job Prospects in the Investigator Industry
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth for all occupations for the period of 2014 to 2024 to be at 7 percent. Below are projections for different sectors of the investigator industry:The employment of private detectives and investigators is projected to grow slightly slower than the average, at 5 percent. Ongoing demand for investigative services will continue with the rise in cyber crimes, identity theft, and credit card fraud, leading to opportunities in the legal services industry. Experience conducting background checks will provide an edge because of the ongoing need by both employers and individuals. If you’re retiring from the military or from law enforcement and looking for an investigator job, familiarity with computers and strong interviewing skills will help make you competitive.Employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 4 percent for the same time period. While there is an ongoing desire for police services to maintain and improve public safety, job prospects will be largely driven by local and state budgets. Those job seekers who are bilingual and have a bachelor’s degree or law enforcement or military experience should have the best job opportunities.Employment of examiners, claims adjusters, appraisers and investigators in the insurance industry is expected to grow slower than the average for all occupations, with a projected growth rate of 3 percent.
Investigator Resume Samples
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