Criminal Justice Major Skills List

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A criminal justice major could qualify you for an array of law enforcement roles, including a police officer, park ranger, paralegal, and forensics expert. Some criminal justice jobs, such as computer forensics expert, are more technical than others. While some roles, such as fish and game warden or detective, are more physical. No matter which role you choose, there are a number of skills any employer will look for in someone with a criminal justice degree.

Taking Advantage of the Skills Lists

Including the right skills in your resume, especially when describing your work history, will help you in your job search. You can also use them in your cover letter when explaining your prior work experience. You should also consider providing examples of how you’ve demonstrated these skills toward measurable success in prior work. And don't be shy about using these words in your interview and be prepared to share examples of how you've exemplified each skill you mention.

Top 4 Skills Employers Look for in Criminal Justice Majors

Each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description for every position you're applying for carefully and focus on the skills listed by that employer. Reviewing lists of skills listed by job and type of skill are also good exercises to employ in advance of all job interviews.

1. Applying Ethical Standards to Criminal Justice Issues

Criminal justice professionals are on the front lines of maintaining and upholding the basic ethical standards of society. Across a number of related fields—from policing to park rangering—legal as well as moral ethics are paramount for success. A criminal justice major should not just be well-versed in the details of the law but should understand and embody the spirit of ethics as well.

Basically, a criminal justice major should have a sense of right versus wrong, even when those ethics are tested by difficult people or situations. If you select this major, there's a good chance you'll end up in a position of power that demands public trust. Maintaining scrupulous ethics will help you model standards throughout your department or office, and help you influence positive outcomes and consequences whatever your chosen field.

2. Writing Skills

A big part of most criminal justice careers involves writing, so strong written communication skills are essential.

Think about it, you may need to create reports to get approval for a warrant. Or, you may need to keep meaningful records of policy papers or create proposals for funding. In some cases, a well-written report could mean the difference between convicting a known felon or setting them free. All too often, cases are often lost, or go un-tried, because of poorly written arrest reports.

Whether it’s to apprehend a criminal, explain findings from research, or convey some other pertinent idea, a criminal justice professional must be able to communicate, in writing, the details of the issue at hand.

3. Research Proficiency

A criminal justice major should have strong skills and proficiency in the area of research, and related topics like preparing research findings to be shared with colleagues and others.

This includes the ability to access resources with crime data, comfort with assessing models, and the ability to create charts and graphs. One also needs to be able to utilize data visualization software, to interpret social science research data, and create presentations.

You might be asked to analyze public policy and its impact on criminal justice. For example, you might be called upon to study and analyze the impact of reforms on criminal justice systems or to see how previous changes to policy has impacted crime.

4. Technology Skills

Criminology and related jobs are becoming increasingly techier as techniques and systems evolve. Simultaneously, the field of cybercrime has opened up a whole world of new careers in criminal justice, with more and more professionals focusing on crimes committed in cyberspace and breaches in cybersecurity.

For cyber-specific roles, as well as more traditional criminal justice roles that will employ various technologies to solve problems, employers are looking for technical proficiency in prospective employees.

In order to make a career choice among the myriad possibilities for employment, weigh your strengths against the skills list and take into account your temperament and interests. These few steps will help you zero in on the criminal justice role most appropriate for you.

Criminal Justice Major Skills List

Remember, as with many fields, skills vary by job, so be sure to review these skills lists for a variety of different occupations. Once you've highlighted the skills acquired during your studies, internships, and prior jobs, you'll be ready to include the appropriate skills in your cover letters, resume, and job applications.

  • Accessing resources with crime data
  • Adapting to changing circumstances 
  • Analyzing public policies impacting criminal justice
  • Analyzing societal and economic factors contributing to crime
  • Applying ethical standards to criminal justice issues
  • Assessing models for correctional facilities
  • Collaboration
  • Composing criminal justice case analyses 
  • Constructing arguments based on fact
  • Creating Charts and Graphs
  • Critical Thinking
  • Employing Data Visualization Software
  • Debating
  • Decision Making
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Detail Orientation
  • Developing hypotheses for criminal justice research
  • Evaluating the efforts of organizations to control crime
  • Evaluating the validity and reliability of criminal justice research studies
  • Facilitating group discussion
  • Interpreting social science research data
  • Interrogation 
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Investigating crimes
  • Leadership
  • Managing Stress
  • Multitasking
  • Note taking
  • Observational
  • Organizational
  • Physical Conditioning 
  • Project Planning 
  • Prioritizing Tasks
  • Problem Solving
  • Producing Presentation Slides
  • Quantitative
  • Reading comprehension
  • Researching legal precedents
  • Research Techniques for Criminal Justice
  • SAS and SPSS Software Proficiency
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management 
  • Use of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and PowerPoint
  • Writing essays supporting criminal justice perspectives
  • Writing research papers on criminal justice topics

More Lists of Skills
Here’s a list of skills employers are looking for, including soft skills, general skills, and hard skills for a variety of different jobs.

Read More: How to Answer Interview Questions About Skills | What to Include in a Resume Skills Section | List of Skills Employers Seek in Job Applicants