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Like most industries, counseling is a competitive field that requires impressive resumes to catch the attention of a hiring manager. If you’re unsure about how to make this highly important part of your job application shine, you don’t have to fret because this guide will help you determine what to include in your resume, what format to choose and how to avoid common pitfalls.Start by looking at counselor resume samples that relate to your specialty to get a feel for how your resume should look. The more time you spend perfecting your own version of this document, the better your chances will be at landing your ideal job.
What to Include in a Counselor Resume
There is no such thing as the right way to put together a resume, but there are some basic guidelines you should follow to help you along the way. Looking at several counselor resume samples will show you that there are different formatting options and resume types to choose from. Your specialty, education, and experience will determine the most effective way for you to craft this essential document. Keep in mind that you will want to include at least the following sections in your resume.
- Professional Summary Statement
- Work Experience
- Skills and Qualifications
How to Write the Counselor Resume Summary Statement
Counseling careers require individuals who are compassionate and skilled in communication. The summary statement is your first chance to prove that you have these qualities. Read counselor resume samples before writing your own summary statement to learn how to craft this introductory section.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.
How to Write the Counselor Education Section
The education section is your chance to show off your formal training and scholarly achievements in the counselor industry. Here, you can list the degrees you have obtained or are still working towards.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
As the name implies, the work experience section is where you list your previous positions as they relate to the industry. It is okay to copy the formatting and structure of other counselor resume samples as long as you remain consistent throughout the document. Simple formatting is best because it allows the hiring manager to easily scan your resume for important information.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 the 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
The best counselor resume samples are written using action verbs in the descriptions below each work experience entry. Rather than using adjectives to describe yourself, insert powerful verbs that indicate how you succeeded in each position. The following list includes action verbs that relate to the industry and that may help you come up with some more on your own.
How to Write the Counselor Skills Section
The skills section is where you can place all the relevant qualifications that you obtained outside of education and work experience. If you have a lot of professional attributes illustrated within your work experience section, then your skills section may be limited to soft skills.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
Should I Include References in my Counselor Resume?
One common question that people often ask when writing their resume is whether or not to include references. As a general rule, your resume should be all about you and your skills. Also, you want to avoid breaking any confidentiality agreements or including anyone else’s information. It is best to save wait until the employer asks you for references rather than including them straight away.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.