How To Write a Correctional Officer Resume

Your correctional officer resume should showcase your skills in maintaining order within correctional facilities and managing inmate populations. Hiring managers must be sure you can help preserve the safety of inmates and staff. Whether you are a seasoned professional with years of experience or someone just starting their journey in the correctional system, this guide will equip you with expert strategies to create a results-driven resume.

  • Entry-level
  • Mid-career
  • Senior-level
Resume Callout Image
Build Your Resume
Resume Builder offers free, HR-approved resume templates to help you create a professional resume in minutes.

1. Write a dynamic profile summarizing your correctional officer qualifications

As the first paragraph of a resume, your profile needs to draw readers in and pique their interests. Aim to create a brief career summary highlighting the areas where you excel. Begin by clearly stating your job title and years of experience. Then, feature three to four key strengths that align with the job posting provided by the correctional facility.

Provide insight into your career by giving a snapshot of how you excel in your target work setting. For instance, if you’ve implemented innovative security protocols or played a role in enhancing inmate rehabilitation programs, work that directly into your profile. Also, add experience working with at-risk youth and fostering a safe and supportive environment.

Senior-Level Profile Example:


Alert and decisive senior correctional officer with over 15 years of experience. Use strong communication skills to manage inmates and liaise with colleagues and wardens effectively. Draw on a broad knowledge of criminal psychology and body language to pre-empt dangerous situations and locate contraband and its sources.

Entry-Level Profile Example:


Dedicated correctional officer with over a year of experience overseeing and encouraging positive behavior in young offenders. Recognized for diffusing volatile situations while gaining residents’ respect and compliance. Committed to ensuring the safety of staff members and incarcerated persons.

2. Showcase your correctional officer experience

Craft a professional experience section that gives real examples of your skills in action. Under each job you choose to include, create bullet points emphasizing your achievements, not just responsibilities. This helps readers understand the results you achieved in the past and how you could contribute similarly to their team. As you write your descriptions, include relevant numbers and data to quantify your success.

Remember to highlight your talent for crisis intervention and de-escalation. As a correctional officer, these skills are crucial. You’ll undoubtedly encounter challenging situations, and your ability to handle them effectively is a key strength.

Senior-Level Professional Experience Example:


Senior Corrections Officer, Colorado State Penitentiary, Canon City, CO | September 2016 to present

  • Oversee high-security wing, ensuring over 80 inmates’ safe and orderly movement to and from meals, work, and recreation
  • Write daily reports on prisoner behavior, identify vulnerable individuals, and manage referrals to mental health treatment. Efforts have helped the facility see a 10% reduction in self-harm incidents
  • Implemented new daily security check that reduced contraband by 25% and inmate violence by 30%

Entry-Level Professional Experience Example:


Trainee – Correctional Officer, Minnesota State Government, Moorhead, MN | March 2022 to present

  • Help plan, organize, and oversee the daily activities of over 150 inmates
  • Supervise and teach offenders in the institution’s vegetable garden
  • Use early intervention tactics with disruptive inmates
  • Enforce security procedures and promptly report any breaches or unusual occurrences
  • Serve as a counselor and mentor for juvenile residents

Give employers a look into your academic background and knowledge base with a section highlighting your formal training. Be sure to mention your high school diploma or GED, as it’s often a minimum requirement. Any further education in criminal justice or a related field should also be included, such as degrees or coursework in criminal law and ethics.

In addition to your education, include relevant certifications. A correctional officer certificate or training in CPR, first aid, firearms, or crisis intervention can be helpful. While these qualifications won’t guarantee an interview, they’ll show employers you’re well-prepared for the role.

Education

Template

  • [Degree Name]
  • [School Name], [City, State Abbreviation] – [Graduation Year]

Example

  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice
  • The University of Arizona, Tucson | 2017

Certifications

Template

  • [Certification Name], [Awarding Organization] – [Completion Year]

Example

  • Correctional Officer Certificate, Minnesota State Community & Technical College, Moorhead, MN | 2021

4. List key correctional officer skills and proficiencies

Most organizations use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to analyze resumes and select the ones that mention a minimum number of keywords. Identifying and incorporating these key skills into your resume helps get your application on the hiring manager’s desk. Check out our list of common correctional officer terms and phrases to get familiar with those you may encounter in your job search:

Key Skills and Proficiencies
Behavior documentation Community relations
Conflict resolution Crisis intervention
Emergency response Ethical conduct
First aid and CPR Inmate supervision
Legal knowledge Mental resilience
Negotiating with inmates Observation
Physical fitness Report writing
Search and inspection Security protocols
Self-defense Teamwork
Use of authorized restraint  

How To Pick the Best Correctional Officer Resume Template

When picking a resume template, prioritize substance and readability over personal style. While bright colors and graphics may look nice, they’re unnecessary and often distracting. Opt for a template that’s simple and organized, highlighting your accomplishments and key skills. Hiring managers should be able to quickly find the information they need, and a classic design with straightforward fonts and formatting will help them easily navigate your resume.

Correctional Officer Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples

  • Entry-level
  • Mid-career
  • Senior-level

Gary Moreno
(135) 531-1357 | [email protected] | Tucson, AZ 87654 | LinkedIn

Profile

Diligent Correctional Officer with 6+ years of experience supervising inmates and ensuring security at Arizona prison facilities. Use calm, assertive communication style to build respectful relationships with inmates and maintain a low-conflict environment.

Key Skills

  • Conflict De-escalation & Resolution
  • Contraband Detection
  • Prison Health & Safety Protocols
  • Reporting & Documentation
  • Team Collaboration

Professional Experience

Correctional Officer, Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry, Tucson, AZ | September 2021 to Present

  • Monitor facility security via regular patrols and video surveillance
  • Inspect cells and communal living areas against strict hygiene and safety standards, reporting any hazards to senior leadership
  • Draft and submit end-of-shift and incident reports to the appropriate department

Highlights:

  • Helped reduce need for forceful intervention by 34%
  • Met 100% of report submission deadlines

Correctional Officer, Pima County Sheriff’s Department Corrections Bureau, Tucson, AZ | March 2017 to September 2021

  • Investigated grievance reports submitted by inmates
  • Used force and restraint devices appropriately in high-risk situations
  • Conducted evacuation drills
  • Helped monitor visitors and check for forbidden items

Highlights:

  • Resolved 87% of inmate grievances within target timeframe and without need for escalation
  • Maintained safety and control during an emergency incident in June 2021
  • Member of team that increased contraband detection rate by 34% in 3 years

Education

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice, The University of Arizona, Tucson | 2017

Frequently Asked Questions: Correctional Officer Resume Examples and Advice

What are common action verbs for correctional officer resumes?-

Action verbs help illustrate your accomplishments, making it easier for hiring managers to visualize what you did in previous roles. Choose from our list of verbs below as you write the professional experience section of your correctional officer resume:

Action Verbs
Administered Assisted
Collaborated Communicated
Conducted Coordinated
De-escalated Documented
Enforced Expedited
Facilitated Implemented
Investigated Managed
Mediated Monitored
Patrolled Resolved
Supervised Trained
How do you align your resume with a correctional officer job posting?-

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for correctional officers will decline 7% between 2022 and 2032. This reduction is primarily due to budget cuts and a predicted decline in prison populations.

With fewer openings for correctional officers, you can expect to face greater competition when applying for positions. To stand out from other applicants and demonstrate your aptitude for the role, align your resume with the skills and required experience detailed in the job posting.

For instance, suppose a correctional facility is looking for someone with a background as a Quick Response Strike Team (QRST) specialist. In this scenario, you would emphasize your training and experience as a QRST member and your ability to respond to emergency situations swiftly, manage high-stress incidents, and ensure inmates' and staff's safety and security.

What is the best correctional officer resume format?-

The combination format is ideal for correctional officers as it lets you showcase your relevant hands-on skills early in your resume. Correctional officer jobs often require a blend of specialized skills and a strong work history. The combination resume allows for a skills-based section at the beginning, followed by a chronological listing of work experience.

Craft your perfect resume in minutes

Get 2x more interviews with Resume Builder. Access Pro Plan features for a limited time!

dimand icon
Expert Advice
Include a cover letter with your resume
Crafting a solid cover letter increases your chances of landing an interview in your search for a new position. The best strategy for writing a compelling cover letter is to customize your document for the facility you're applying to. Check out our comprehensive cover letter guide to learn how. For more cover letter examples in related fields, see our security guard and security officer cover letter guides.
Sidebar image
Create your resume in minutes. Try for free.