You've earned your degree in criminal justice or criminology, and now you're ready to enter the workforce. Or, perhaps you're ready to make a career change and want to work as a police officer, either for the job stability or enhanced benefits that often come with criminal justice careers. Where, though, do you begin your search for a new career? Here's help if you're wondering how to find jobs in criminology and criminal justice
The easiest way to begin your search is by checking job boards. Websites like Career Builder, Indeed, and Monster offer plenty of job advertisements across the country and industries. They can often be overwhelming, though, and very rarely will they reflect jobs in many of the specialty areas within the field of criminology.
For criminal justice career seekers, a more focused search is often in order. No matter the discipline or career, entry-level criminal justice positions are most likely going to be found within the public sector, at either the local, state or federal level.
Your local government may have an online clearinghouse for all job openings, or you may check the websites of the individual local agencies. Political offices, such as the sheriff's department, will most certainly have a website and will often include employment opportunities.
State and Federal Government Websites
Likewise, more and more state governments are moving toward online applications. Many, such as Florida, have a single site for all employment opportunities within the state. There, you can search by agency, job type, and location.
Of course, if you limit yourself to online job searching through open advertisements, you are closing yourself off to a wealth of other employment opportunities and resources.
Network, Network, Network
What's one of the best ways to find out about job openings in your field? Ask someone you know, or if you don't know anyone, ask someone in the industry. Networking is an important key to any successful job search, and it starts right at home. Think about where you want to work and what you want to do, and start asking your friends and family if they know anyone in the field.
The chances are that you know someone who currently works in a criminal justice career. Maybe your uncle is a detective, or your neighbor is a forensic investigator. Perhaps there's an attorney in your family.
Think outside of the box. Even if it's your dream to become a forensic psychologist, there's a high likelihood that your detective uncle or attorney cousin has contacts who can point you in the right direction.
When networking, it's important to talk to people who not only work in your chosen field but also around your chosen field. Remember, almost everybody knows somebody who knows somebody.
Associations, Societies, and Professional Organizations
Professional organizations are also excellent sources for potential jobs openings. Most disciplines within the field of criminology have their own association or society, such as the American Board of Forensic Psychology, the International Association of Blood Stain Pattern Analysts or the American Society of Criminology, to name a few.
All of these organizations have web pages with contact information. Many of them post employment opportunities. Even if there are no jobs listed, you can get helpful advice and direction by writing to one of the members or officers of these associations.
Institutions of Higher Learning
Colleges and universities often have excellent job resources, because they have a vested interest in ensuring that their students obtain gainful employment after graduation.
In many situations, especially for academic careers such criminologists, you may be able to find employment at the university. Employment opportunities are often available as a graduate assistant or, with an advanced degree, an associate professor.
Use Every Available Resource
Whatever your career field, figuring out where to look for jobs can be a daunting task. By using the resources available to you, such as the Internet, your friends, family and your local institutions of higher learning, you can simplify your career search and put yourself one step closer to finding the perfect criminology career for you.