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As a trained psychologist, you’ve worked hard and followed a long and difficult path to get where you are today. But while you may have studied hard to earn your credentials, and you may also have several years of experience under your belt, you still won’t get very far without an effective job search strategy and a strong resume.
As you begin drafting and editing your resume document, you’ll have a few choices: you can rely on the support of outside help and resume building tools (like LiveCareer’s Resume Builder), or you can shape your text from the ground up on your own.
If you choose the second option, it’s a good idea to use psychologist resume samples, like the ones below, to get some guidance and to log a few formatting examples as references that can help you stay on track.
You can also use psychologist resume samples to make decisions about the information you include, how you draft your sections, and how you organize your information in ways that employers will find valuable.
In addition to these psychologist resume samples, feel free to read through the subsections and instructions below for a few more tips.
2What to Include in a Psychologist Resume
Of course, the details you decide to include in your resume and cover letter will vary widely depending on the exact nature of the job you’re looking for. Your experience and certifications will also influence the decisions you make as you put your profile together, and so will your long-term and short-term career plans.
In other words, there’s no single right way to create a resume in this field, or any other for that matter. But as you can see from reviewing the psychologist resume samples presented here, there are a few rules and guidelines that have become more or less universal. For example, each of the psychologist resumes in this collection will contain the subsections below, and yours should too:
- Resume Summary
- Education Section
- Work History Section
- Skills Section
Not to mention, they largely adhere to one of three formats: You can present your information chronologically, functionally, or as a hybrid of these two options.
If you choose the chronological format, you’ll center your resume on your past positions. The chronological format will work better for job seekers with a long, clear, uninterrupted track record of highly relevant former jobs.
If you’ve spent some time away from the workplace or are just starting out in the psychology industry, the functional format may offer a clearer and more effective presentation of your credentials. This approach will focus less on your past job history and more on special abilities, specialties, skills, or areas of clinical expertise.
As some of these psychologist resume samples indicate, you can also blend these two styles into a hybrid of your own, as long as you present your employers with the information they need in order to understand your background and make an informed hiring decision.
3How to Write the Psychologist Resume Summary Statement
As you begin drafting the sections of your resume, you’ll start with a heading that provides your name and contact information. But immediately below this heading, almost every effective resume starts the same way: with a short, concise summary of your profile and how you can bring value to a position.
Review the psychologist resume samples and you’ll notice that most resume summaries consist of about four lines of text that mention areas of specialty, depth of experience, and most meaningful career milestones. Here are a few more examples:
- Registered clinical psychologist with over a decade of experience in a wide range of clinical and therapeutic environments. Areas of expertise include patient assessment, adolescent counseling, addiction-related intervention, and behavior modification. Longstanding member of American Psychological Association and AABT.
- Experienced crisis counselor and crisis intervention expert. Have provided consultation and case support for private employers as well as the NY Police Department and the NY Public School System. Expertise with real-time critical assessment and strategic response to patients in immediate danger. Licensed and registered in the state of New York, APA member.
4How to Write the Psychologist Resume Education Section
If you intend to launch a career in academia or leverage your psychology background into a teaching or lecturing position with an institution of higher learning, you’ll be better off creating a CV, or curriculum vitae, rather than a resume. But if you plan to enter the private sector or join a clinical practice outside of academia, your resume should contain a short, concise section that documents your educational achievements.
These will include your degrees, of course, including your PhD, master’s, bachelor’s, and MD (if you hold one). This section should also include your licenses, certifications, and special training. You may want to list each degree or distinction along with the honor you were granted, your institution, and your completion date. You can follow this list with a list of your honors, awards, scholarships, and grants. You can also work each of these educational achievements into a single list, but make sure no vital information is lost or buried in the process.
Review the psychologist resume samples for some formatting ideas that can help you clearly display the educational information your employers will need the most.
5How to Write the Psychologist Resume Work Experience Section
As demonstrated in the psychologist resume samples, the work experience section of your resume can be presented in either of two different formats (or a hybrid of both).
The chronological format will present each previous position as a separate entry, and each entry will outline and explain the key details of that specific job, including the title, start and end dates, accomplishments, and responsibilities. The chronological format leverages the past to impress and win the trust of future employers.
The functional format, by contrast, shows less concern with the past and more interest and emphasis on the future. This layout transforms the work experience section to a secondary or supporting position that merely contains a list of your past job titles and corresponding companies. There’s no reason to include employment dates or achievements and responsibilities in this section. You’ll rather slot your accomplishments and unique specialty areas into a new Accomplishments section, which should be comprised of 6 to 8 bullet points. Choose this format if you aren’t sure your previous positions are relevant or recent enough to play the leading role in your resume.
6Action Verbs to Include in Your Psychologist Work Experience Section
Here are a few action verbs that can lend weight and meaning to your work history section:
7How to Write the Psychologist Resume Skills Section
After you’ve completed your work experience section, take another look at the psychologist resume samples and start putting together a description of your most specific, relevant, and meaningful skill sets. These might include your clinical and therapeutic skills, but they may also include other skills sets that haven’t found a place in early sections.
These might include software skills, language skills, first aid and safety skills, leadership and training skills, presentation, communication, emergency intervention, or even skills that may seem non-relevant on the surface, like artistic and athletic abilities. These may be meaningful to your employers in ways you might not recognize. List each of these special skills in a block of text or as a set of concise bullet points.
8Should I Include References in my Psychologist Resume?
You can feel free to include a list of references in your psychologist resume, but most of the time this move is not necessary, and will only take up valuable space on the page that can be better used for other purposes. Instead of adding the names and contact information of your references to your resume document, create a separate file for this information and submit it only if and when your target employer asks you to do so.
Check the job post carefully and contact the HR office of your new employer if you don’t fully understand what to include in your application or how this material should be presented.
When you are asked for references, submit a simple list of names, titles, phone numbers, and email addresses. Make sure your contacts know that you’re doing this and confirm that they are ready to accept a call from your reviewers.
9Psychology Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
As you edit and submit your resume for a position in the psychology field, watch out for common mistakes like these:
Confusing Resumes and CVs: The resume and CV are very different documents that provide different information and serve very distinct purposes during the job search. Make sure you know which one your employers are looking for.
Broad Strokes: In highly specialized fields, broad, generic claims add little value to a resume. You may have a moderate level of general experience and training, but so will your competitors, so focus on the specialized credentials that set you apart.
Missed Opportunities: Don’t leave out any past position or area of training that may interest your employer, even if this detail seems small or took place long ago. If in doubt, err on the side of inclusion.
10Job Prospects in the Psychology Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected job growth for psychologists will exceed the average across all industries, reaching about 19 percent between 2014 and 2024. More opportunities will likely be available to applicants with a doctoral degree in an applied specialty, but overall, expansion in this field looks very promising.