Tips for Writing an Effective Counseling Resume

When you’re just starting out in a counseling career, it’s important to have an effective, up-to-date resume to submit in applications. However, for many people, trying to work out how to create a resume that gets the necessary positive reaction can be stressful and daunting.

Lots of counseling candidates are comfortable talking to potential managers or recruiters in person and can showcase their skills, experience, qualifications and personal strengths in an interview, but the same people can struggle offer the same information on paper in an engaging and effective way.

Since your resume is what people will see of you first, it’s vital to know how to draft a resume that gets your points across and highlights your abilities. Read on for some tips you can follow to help you write a quality counseling resume today.

Have a Layout That Impresses

Having an effective format is vital and will impress recruiters straight away because it helps ensure they see, quickly, that you have what they’re looking for to do the job. A professional layout is easy to read, for starters. Use a common, clear font such as Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial, in a decent size that reads well on hardcopies. Avoid trying to get attention with lots of color, funny graphics or other “creative” features as these rarely work; instead, they just make your document seem unprofessional.

It’s necessary to make your resume scannable. Recruiters usually have to look at dozens or sometimes hundreds of documents per day, so they have little time to devote to each. In the short amount of space your information is given, you must showcase your skills and experience ASAP. As such, break up the text into separate sections. Utilize sub-headings and bullet points, and keep paragraphs nice and short. This all makes it easy for a readers to scan quickly.

Include Specific Details and Results That Match the Job Type

Read over any job advertisements for the role many times to see what kinds of words and phrases are repeated. This will give you a good idea of what’s particularly important to the recruiter or employer. Assume nothing; even if you see qualifications mentioned that you think are a given and that everyone applying will have, don’t neglect to include this in your document. Many HR people use specific recruitment software that searches through documents for specified keywords. This means if you don’t include one of these terms, your resume will likely not even make it past the first round of inspections.

To give yourself the best chance of success, include as much relevant information as possible and try to use some of the phrases from the job ad. Always spell out all your qualifications, and note how you would use what you know to succeed in the role. For example, if you have an online master degree in counseling, list it – and perhaps include mention of a computer program you trained in that would be especially helpful in the job.

Tailor your resume for each position, rather than just having one document you use every application. Even though you’ll likely be applying for the same kinds of positions, different employers will have difference focuses and traits they’re looking for, so you must showcase how you will match this. As well, be sure to include specific details about the responsibilities you had in your past jobs and mention the results you achieved. Include numbers wherever possible; this will help you stand out from the crowd.

Ensure Your Document Is Error Free

While you should look over your resume for errors such as spelling and grammatical mistakes, missing words, inconsistencies in formatting and the like, it’s easy to miss things when you know what should be there. Your eyes tend to skip over the page, so you should always get fresh eyes to help you before you submit. A trusted colleague, family member or friend (preferably someone who has knowledge of your career field) should be able to pick up on any errors or omissions that you missed. Once you get the O.K. from them, you can turn in your resume – and see the counseling positions open up for you.