In a competitive job market a well written and smartly constructed resume is crucial. As a speech language, physical or occupational therapist or therapist assistant your resume has a few industry specific things it should have that will help you or your therapy staffing company find you the best short-term / travel therapy jobs available. Here is a quick overview that should help you build a resume that will get you the job you want.
1. Do your research
Take the time to look through job descriptions online and see what skills, experience, credentials and characteristics they are looking for in a candidate. This will help you take stock of where you are in relation and what areas you are strong in and what areas you need to improve in. This also helps you cater your resume to the current needs of the industry and highlight them prominently on your resume.
2. Sum up your strengths
A summary of your qualifications that includes your biggest strengths and best qualifications should be the first thing (other than your name and contact info) on your resume. Some things to include are your degrees, certifications, your years of experience, specialty expertise, and the types of patients you have worked with in the past or personality traits.
3. Look at your resume from an employer’s point of view
An employer, whether it is a hospital, skilled nursing facility or travel therapy staffing company, is going to want to see not only what you have done at your past jobs, but how well you did them. So make sure to highlight areas where you made contributions and list specific results as often as you can.
4. Be detailed
This is especially important in the work history area of your resume. Some examples of things to include are:
• The types of settings you worked in
• Examples of success with patients
• The type of caseloads you handled
• The kinds of treatments and modalities you have experience with
• Any overall program improvements you had a part in
• Any recognition or performance awards you have received
5. Be accurate
Typos or inaccuracies in your resume can be the death sentence of your job search. So take the extra time to proofread and spell check. One good way to do this is to finish it up and revisit a week later. This way you will see things that your mind can subconsciously overlook if you edit too soon after writing. And of course have someone else look over it.
6. Show your passion for the field
Including any volunteering or associations you are a part of is an easy way to show that therapy is more than a paycheck for you. It is also a great way to develop and show off any skills, such as leadership and management, that you may not get to develop in your full-time position.
7. Use industry keywords
If your resume is going to be in a resume database, like Monster or CareerBuilder or MedicalWorkers.com, then including a wide variety of industry keywords that an employer searching through the resumes would look for is important. So for instance you would not want to use PT through the whole thing and not mention Physical Therapist. You need to have the keywords in there that an employer is going to use, so again researching the way they are writing job ads will help here.
8. Be targeted
If you are submitting your resume to a travel therapy company they can help focus it for you for a short-term or travel therapy position, but as a general rule each resume you write should be targeted for that position. It doesn’t take long and will help your resume stand out.
9. Use the 15-second review
An employer will have a lot of resumes to look through so you only get about 10-20 seconds for yours to stand out and entice them to read more. You can do that by using this little checklist:
- Is your resume clean, easy to read and follow and does it invite the employer to read it?
- Does it have a good summary of qualifications that targets the position you want?
- Are your accomplishments described in detail in the work history?
- Do you have keywords and phrases used throughout the document.
- Do you list your work history in an easy to read, yet detailed, style with a through description of your jobs in the last 10-15 years and a more condensed style for the jobs 15 years or older?
- Do you have a section that highlights your education, professional development (workshops, seminars, or other job related training), and other professional certifications, publications, etc.?
- Do you lay out your clinical skills and background in an easy to scan format?
Remember that a good resume is the most basic, but most important part of your job search and needs to be a true indication of your skills, so follow these tips and don’t over or understate what you have done in your therapy career.