Private Investigator Resume Example & Writing Guide

Use this Private Investigator resume example and guide to improve your career and write a powerful resume that will separate you from the competition.

A private investigator is a detective who specializes in cases that are often under-the-radar or high-profile. They’re hired by individuals or organizations to look into situations that are too sensitive or risky for the police to handle.

Private investigators might work on cases involving fraud, theft, identity theft, insurance scams, embezzlement, or other white-collar crimes. They might also be hired to follow someone suspected of infidelity or to conduct background checks.

To succeed in this field, you need to be able to think on your feet and stay calm under pressure. You’ll need strong investigative skills and an eye for detail. And you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively with clients, law enforcement, and other members of your team.

Here are some tips and an example to help you write a fantastic private investigator resume that hiring managers will love.

Jennifer Thomas
New York City, NY | (123) 456-7891 | [email protected]

Seasoned detective with over 10 years of experience investigating a wide range of cases. Skilled at conducting interviews, gathering evidence, and compiling reports. Seeking an opportunity to use investigative skills and knowledge to help an organization resolve complex issues.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice Jun '10
B.S. in Criminal Justice
Company A, Private Investigator Jan '17 – Current
  • Conducted surveillance and conducted background checks on potential employees, vendors, or clients as needed.
  • Provided security for company executives when required and assisted with the investigation of employee misconduct allegations.
  • Assisted in preparing cases for litigation by conducting witness interviews, collecting evidence, analyzing data, etc., to determine if a case exists against an individual or business entity.
  • Maintained client contact information and organized files related to investigations using various computer programs such as Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel).
  • Performed other duties as assigned within the Private Investigation Department including but not limited to: personal/business assistant work, courier services, etc..
Company B, Private Investigator Jan '12 – Dec '16
  • Conducted surveillance on cheating spouses and monitored employees to ensure they were not stealing from their employers
  • Followed leads, conducted interviews, and gathered evidence for cases involving fraud or infidelity in romantic relationships
  • Worked with local law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes such as murder, rape, arson, and robbery
  • Maintained a detailed case log of all activities related to each investigation assignment
  • Regularly updated the agency’s database with new information pertaining to ongoing investigations
Company C, Security Guard Jan '09 – Dec '11
  • Monitored and patrolled assigned premises to prevent and detect signs of intrusion and ensure security of doors, windows, and gates.
  • Called police or fire departments in cases of emergency, such as fire or presence of unauthorized persons.
  • Warned violators of rule infractions, such as loitering, smoking, or carrying forbidden articles.
  • New York Private Investigator License
  • Certified Protection Professional

Industry Knowledge: Criminal Law, Interviewing, Surveillance, Evidence Collection, Case Management, Report Writing, HIPAA
Technical Skills: Windows, Microsoft Office Suite, Google Analytics, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn
Soft Skills: Leadership, Problem-Solving, Strategic Thinking, Communication, Empathy, Teamwork, Attention to Detail

How to Write a Private Investigator Resume

Here’s how to write a private investigator resume of your own.

Write Compelling Bullet Points

Bullet points are the most effective way to showcase your experience and qualifications. But rather than simply listing your duties and responsibilities, you can use bullet points to tell a story about your work. For example, rather than saying you “conducted surveillance on subject,” you could say you “conducted surveillance on subject for domestic violence investigation, resulting in successful prosecution of suspect.”

The second bullet point paints a much clearer picture of what the job entailed and the outcome of your work. And it provides specific details about the case, which makes it easy for the reader to understand how your work contributed to the outcome.

Identify and Include Relevant Keywords

When you apply for a job as a private investigator, your resume is likely to be scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS) for certain keywords. The ATS will look for keywords related to the job like “surveillance” or “investigations” in order to determine whether your skills are a match for the position. If your resume doesn’t have enough of the right terms, your application might not make it past the initial screening.

To increase your chances of getting an interview, use this list of commonly used private investigator keywords on your resume:

  • Private Investigations
  • Surveillance
  • Investigation
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Law Enforcement
  • Criminal Justice
  • Crime Prevention
  • Interrogation
  • Public Safety
  • Police
  • Evidence Collection
  • Security Operations
  • Physical Security
  • Criminal Law
  • Executive Protection
  • Police Investigations
  • Fraud Investigations
  • Security
  • Homeland Security
  • Background Checks
  • Loss Prevention
  • Corporate Investigations
  • Research
  • Matrimonial Investigations
  • Corporate Security
  • Surveillance Detection
  • Due Diligence
  • Personal Security
  • Threat Assessments
  • Technical Surveillance Counter Measures (TSCM)

Showcase Your Technical Skills

Private investigators need to be proficient in a variety of technologies in order to do their jobs effectively. Programs like Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Word, PowerPoint), social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and GPS tracking software are all commonly used by private investigators. Additionally, private investigators need to be familiar with law enforcement databases, such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), and reporting software, like Crystal Reports.


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