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Criminology Career Essay

Writing Skills in Criminal Justice and Criminology Careers

Why It Is Important and What You Can Do Improve

Careers in criminology and criminal justice certainly require a wide variety of skills. Among the most important skills and abilities, those looking for jobs in criminology will need, no matter their specific field, is the ability to communicate in various forms. Written language is perhaps the single most valuable skill career seekers should possess.

Written communication is vital in every aspect of the criminology career.

Police officers write reports; criminologists issue proposals, policy papers and studies; and forensic science technicians produce written records of their findings and conclusions. Writing is one of the most fundamental abilities in every career option within criminology. Here are a few reasons why you should want to hone your writing skills now so you can be more effective in the future:

Impressions Matter

Face it; first impressions do matter, whether you want them to or not. The simple fact is that in most cases, your written reports will be the first and only introduction you'll ever have to some very important and high-ranking people. Whether you're presenting a survey or a study you've just completed or you're writing an arrest report, your written word will be seen and reviewed by judges, politicians, lawyers and the press.

A poorly written report can leave someone with a bad impression of not only your abilities and intelligence but your dedication, as well.

Often, people will think badly of someone who they perceive has not taken the time to complete a well-written or thorough report.

Conversely, a report that is well written can make a tremendous first impression and lead to new contacts and new opportunities down the road. Whether you like it or not, it matters what people think of your work product.

Dire Consequences

In the case of police officers, detectives, and crime scene investigators, a poorly worded or badly organized report can mean the difference between a criminal being brought to justice or going free. In many instances, state and district attorneys will decline to prosecute defendants if the original arrest document is wrought with errors of fact or if it reads as if a kindergartner wrote it.

Reports need to be well organized and written so that they articulate the thoughts you are trying to convey. If they fail to get your point across, they will have served no purpose, and your effort will be wasted.

If you are trying to recommend that a legislature or municipal council adopt a new policy, they may ignore your advice because they lack faith in your intelligence or they're unable to follow your disjointed thought process.

For police officers and investigators, if a state or district attorney lacks faith in your ability to articulate the facts of the case, or if you fail to do so in your report, the defendant will go free. Poorly written reports will also leave you wide open to attacks from defense attorneys, who will try to portray you as incompetent and negligent. Don't give them the ammunition they need!

Effective Communication is Key

Communication is vital to achieving the goal of voluntary compliance with the law. Criminal justice and criminology workers must be able to articulate their actions and reasoning to the public to maintain their support.

Police reports are the first place media outlets will look when a high profile incident occur. Without the ability to effectively communicate the details of the event, public misconceptions prevail. In the same manner, criminologists must be able to present their research and findings coherently to effectively persuade others to take up their positions.

In every instance, the ability to write well is not only a valuable skill but a vital one. To be successful and effective in your chosen profession, you need to start working on your ability to use the written language.

Why Choose a Career in Criminal Justice or Criminology?

Even in a tough job market, there are plenty of career opportunities for the well-qualified job seeker. The need for technology, engineering and other advanced and specialized vocations are only going to increase. So, too, are community and public service careers. So when you sit down to consider where you want to go with your professional life, why should you choose a career in criminology or criminal justice?

Helping Others

There are plenty of surveys - including one I conducted - that indicate the number one reason people enter into law and enforcement and other criminology careers is because they have a strong desire to help other people. There are few other career fields out there that offer so many and so diverse opportunities to do just that.

Criminal justice careers give you the ability to play to your strengths and use your specific skills for a greater good, whether through helping victims of crime as a victims' advocate, helping to counsel and rehabilitate convicted criminals as a forensic psychologist, or overseeing the progress of a parolee or probationer as a probation, parole or community control officer.

Job Stability

Many jobs in criminal justice and criminology offer an almost unmatchable level of job security and stability. If you have the fortitude to stick it out, you will more likely than not enjoy a long a career that is relatively immune to the ebbs and flows of the private sector job market.

Though you often give up higher salaries to work in criminology, you gain the peace of mind knowing that your job is pretty much safe as long as you remain true to the high ethical standards it demands.

Engage Your Brain

The old police stereotypes are diminishing; today's law enforcement officers and other criminal justice professionals have to think fast on their feet and be ready and wiling to meet a host of challenges.

Regardless of what field or discipline you ultimately choose to pursue, whether it be a career in forensic science or policing, you'll enjoy putting your problem-solving skills to the test day in and day out.

Few professions are as mentally demanding and hold higher stakes than criminology careers. As the public rightly places higher expectations on its protectors and public servants, these careers offer rewarding challenges to keep the job interesting, whether you're in your first or thirtieth year.

Health and Retirement Benefits

Though the landscape is changing somewhat, public service careers still tend to offer a more appealing insurance and retirement package than many private sector jobs. For criminal justice and criminology workers, the deal is often even sweeter. Many criminal justice professions offer an earlier retirement at a higher rate of accrual, meaning you'll be able to retire younger and earn more. And because many of these jobs are physically demanding, they often come with the means to help you stay healthy longer.

Amazing Opportunities and Experiences

During my career, I've had tremendous opportunities. I've met governors, helped protect vice presidents, and received some of the best training available.

I've had ample opportunity to promote and advance in my career, and every day on the job has come with its own new and unique rewards. The fact is, most careers in criminology and criminal justice offer exactly what most job seekers are looking for. All you need to do is find the perfect criminology career for you.