3 things you need to know about the Criminal Justice sector

Our Employability Placement Officer, Sarah Goulden, is back from an event on Careers in the Criminal Justice Sector. Lots of students and graduates are interested in the sector, so Sarah has put together ‘3 things you need to know about the Criminal Justice sector’ to help you get your foot in the door and kick start your career.

The Criminal Justice sector might sound a little vague, right? It’s a big sector with lots of career options, including Probation Officer, Prison Officer, Forensic Psychologist, Youth Offending Team and much more. All of these career paths have 3 things in common, so read on to find out the essentials…

1 Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer

If you are thinking about a career in criminal justice, then volunteering is a must. Working in criminal justice guarantees that you will be working with vulnerable people so any experience that demonstrates your ability to do that is ideal.

If you’re specifically looking at a career in, or related, to the prison service then finding volunteering opportunities in a prison, or for an organisation that works with offenders, is highly recommended. Not only will this look great on your CV, it also gives you a chance to brush up on the terminology, hierarchy and processes of prison life.

If you’re interested in volunteering to boost your career prospects then book yourself in for a 1-to -1 appointment with a Careers Adviser by emailing careers@hope.ac.uk. Telephone and skype appointments are also available.

2 Use your research wisely

There are always current and upcoming trends in the criminal justice sector. If you’re still studying this is a perfect opportunity to use your dissertation research to take a step closer to your dream job. If you’ve already graduated then this could look like additional research in your own time, or perhaps an idea for postgraduate study and research?

The buzz word at the moment in Criminal Justice is Desistence Theory. Desistence Theory is all about rehabilitation and striving to explain the process by which offenders come to live life free from criminality. If you want to stand out on your job applications for criminal justice jobs, do some research into this!

3 It’s a step in the right direction

Often when you are starting your career in a sector, the hardest part is landing your first job. As they say ‘once you’re in, you’re in!’ Some jobs in Criminal Justice are hard to come by and aren’t advertised very often. For example, if you want to be a forensic psychologist in the prison service, all of their vacancies are advertised internally before they are promoted externally. This means that if you already work there, you have a better chance of getting a job with them.

A job might come up that isn’t exactly what you’re looking for but ask yourself is it a step in the right direction? Research your career options, find out what the stepping stone job roles are and get applying to those as well!

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Why see a Careers Adviser?

The Careers Service offer Careers Express (quick query drop-ins) and 45 minute one-to-ones but if you’ve not used the service before you might be unsure of what exactly seeing a Careers Adviser entails and how it might be of benefit. Our services are free to use and our Advisers are all trained professionals.  We see students at any stage of their degree and can offer impartial information, advice and guidance so what’s stopping you?

I’m not sure what I can do with my degree or what job I might enjoy so I’m not sure how you can help…

We’ve got a great range of resources and information to help you in the decision making process. Within a one-to-one we can explore your interests, skills, experience to date and look at information on roles directly and indirectly linked to your degree to help you identify jobs and careers that might be of interest.

I have a career in mind but I’m not sure if I’d need to undertake further study or what experience I’d need in order to get a job in that sector…

We can help you to research careers and/or postgraduate study. With information on a wide range of careers and job sectors we can help you to identify routes into a particular career and enable you to make a plan for your future.

We’ll work with you to identify work experience opportunities that will help you stand out from the crowd. We’ve got some great links with local organisations and recruiters and may even be able to put you directly in touch with an organisation offering work experience or volunteering opportunities.

I’m applying for jobs or further study – can you help me?

Yes, we can check your CV, cover letter or application form and ensure you’re making the most of everything you’ve got to offer. We work with you to identify your skills and strengths and detail why you’d be suitable for the position. We can also help in your search and make further suggestions on where to look for jobs.

We can help you to prepare for an interview or assessment centre with hints, tips and insights.  You can even book a mock interview to really put you through your paces!

I’ve graduated, can I still use your services?

Yes! All our support and services are available, free of charge, for up to 3 years after graduation.

“Thank you so much for all your help and advice as I know I wouldn’t have been able to perform as well at my interview without the sessions we had” Jasmine, graduate

Whatever your level of study and whatever stage you’re at in your career planning it’s never too early or too late to get professional support! Book a one-to-one with a Careers Adviser by visiting the Employability Hub or calling us on 0151 291 2032