What to Include in a Counselor Resume
- Professional Summary Statement
- Work Experience
- Skills and Qualifications
If you compare entry level and more experienced counselor resume samples, you will see that formatting plays an important role in highlighting your core qualifications.
The functional resume works well for recent graduates or professionals who are switching careers and have minimal experience in counseling. This type of resume focuses on your skills and training in the field as they pertain to the job’s requirements.
Counselors who have been in their field for years may prefer to use the chronological style for their resumes. By inputting job history in reverse chronological order, you can illustrate a clear progression along your career path.
How to Write the Counselor Resume Summary Statement
You will notice that there are no personal pronouns in these statements, and they are written in sentence fragments. It is also good to use descriptive adjectives and strong verbs to engage the hiring manager from the start. If it’s possible, use a few key words or phrases from the job description in your summary statement.
In addition to reviewing counselor resume samples, take a look at the following summary statement examples for inspiration.
Caring middle school guidance counselor devoted to offering sound advice to students. A natural leader with experience in providing guidance on social issues as well as career options. Through compassion, empathy and trust, able to drive students toward a more positive future.
Certified drug and alcohol counselor with outstanding communication skills. Prioritizes the needs of the individual while tending to case management duties under confidentiality guidelines. Skilled at helping individuals, families and therapy groups work toward recovery and wellness.
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How to Write the Counselor Education Section
As you will notice in counselor resume samples, you should include at least a few basic pieces of information regarding your education entries. Starting with the highest level of your schooling, be sure to include the name and location of the school as well as the title of the degree. Generally, you would only include the dates if you are still enrolled or you received the degree within the past five years.
Another important qualification of many counseling positions is certification. You can list any certifications you have received in your field under the education section. Depending on the type of resume you are writing, you might choose to include your certifications and licenses under the skills or qualifications sections.
If these entries need to be renewed on a regular basis, it may be best to include the dates so that the hiring manager knows that your certification is valid. It may also be appropriate to add the state in which you are certified, especially if you are applying for jobs away from your home. The same guidelines would apply to professional licenses as well.
How to Write the Counselor Work Experience Section
If you’re following a chronological resume, no matter how you choose to list your entries, be sure to include the name and location of the company, your title or position and the dates of your employment. You can detail your position using about five or six bullet points for each job. If you really want to impress the potential employer, add a mix of duties, quantifiable achievements and personal traits that helped you succeed in that role.
Recent graduates who are lacking professional experience can put internships and volunteer work under this section to showcase their skills. It is also perfectly reasonable to include non-counseling jobs if they allow you to highlight some of your relevant soft skills, such as active listening, time management and communication skills.
The functional resume, on the other hand, will include a sparse employment history that simply lists job title, company and location; it then features an expansive skills section that backs up your qualifications and achievements more generally.
Action Verbs to Include in Your Counselor Work Experience Section
How to Write the Counselor Skills Section
As long as the entries pertain to the job you’re applying for, this section can include a variety of talents and abilities. Specialty training and computer expertise are appropriate if they are portrayed in relation to the counseling industry. Review the skills sections of counselor resume samples, and consider the following skills that may be included in your document.
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite
- Cultural Sensitivity
- Crisis Intervention
- Group Therapy Training
Like the bullet points beneath the work history entries, these items should be short and to the point. There is no need to create sentences; you can simply list the skill, talent or proficiency as a noun phrase. Finding counselor resume samples that relate to your specialty will help you determine which types of skills employers are looking for.
Should I Include References in my Counselor Resume
When it does come time to generate a few names, try to use people you share a professional relationship with rather than personal. Coworkers, teachers and managers are great examples of professional references. You can even use one of your school guidance counselors or college career counselors if you are still in touch with them. The main point is to choose individuals who have knowledge of your abilities as they relate to your career path.
Counselor Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
- Always run a spell checker program, and be sure to proofread your resume in its entirety. You will want to look out for spelling, grammar and formatting errors in order to submit a professional document to a potential employer.
- Avoid repeating yourself in multiple sections of the resume. If you have already stated that you are a certified substance abuse counselor in your skills section, then don’t repeat it under the education section. Instead, use that space to highlight a different quality that will help you earn that job.
- Do not include unnecessary punctuation marks, especially exclamation points. The only place in your resume where you should use periods to end sentences is in the summary statement.
- Don’t hesitate to use other resources before submitting your resume. Have a friend or coworker review your resume first. Another person’s eyes may be more likely to catch errors or unclear phrasing than you are, so it can’t hurt to have a friendly critique before handing your resume over to the hiring manager.
Job Prospects in the Counselor Industry
- Employment growth is looking positive for the counselor industry over the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects anticipated growth for several specialties between the years 2012 and 2022.
- For example, the small field of genetic counselors will experience the highest growth, at 41 percent. Advancement in technology and genomics offer more opportunities for these specialists, especially in hospitals. School and career counselors can expect to see a growth rate of 12 percent as school enrollments increase. Also, people who were laid off during the recession are utilizing career counselors to find new jobs.
- With an increasing elderly population, there is higher demand for rehabilitation counselors. This specialty is expected to grow by 20 percent. New laws demanding individual health insurance along with greater coverage increase the utilization of services like mental health, family, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling. These fields will see an average growth rate of 30 percent. Rural areas where insurance coverage used to be minimal will have the most job opportunities for new counselors in this area.
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