Psychology Resume Guide inc. examples

By Staff Writer

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If you’ve decided to pursue psychology, it’s important to have an impeccable, polished resume.

There is fierce competition for psychology jobs. Every year there are about 6,000 people who graduate with a doctoral degree in psychology. The candidates you’re competing against spent years of their time pursuing their passion and are eager to jump into a psychology role — just like you.

To stand out in a crowd of hard workers, it’s important to know exactly how to present your achievements. Once you start learning about this, plenty of questions arise. How should you write about your experience? What kind of font is okay and what size should it be? Is it necessary to include a summary section?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of writing a resume, you aren’t alone. This short document can mean the difference between your dream job and accepting a filler role until another opportunity appears on LinkedIn.

Before filling out more psychology job applications, make sure you’re presenting the best version of yourself on paper.

Formatting Your Psychology Resume 

One of the most important parts of putting together your resume is formatting. This means including all the important sections, using the right font, saving it as the correct type of file, and a host of other small details.

Here are the seven sections you need to include in the final draft of your resume:

  • Header: This is the top part of your resume that lists your personal information. In this section you should have your full name, certifications, and contact information (at least an email address and possibly your phone number). It’s optional to add a link to your LinkedIn profile and your location. If your resume is more than one page, make sure this header is at the top of each one.
  • Summary: This section is a basic summary of your skills and experience. Use this part of your resume to sell yourself to the hiring manager looking at your resume. Think of this as a way to grab their attention.
  • License/Certificate: Your license to practice psychology in your state of choice is an extremely important piece of information for hiring managers. This should be in its own section. If needed you may also want to include the state and the certificate number.
  • Job experience: In reverse chronological order list each of your previous jobs and internships. Start with your most recent position at the top and work your way through each one.
  • Education: For this part of your resume, list where you earned your undergraduate and graduate degrees. Add your colleges’ names, the years you attended, and your degrees.
  • Skills: A section in which you summarize your most valuable psychology-based skills.
  • Extra Information: This is where you should add your volunteer work and any other pertinent information you’d like to share with the hiring manager.

Details on Formatting

  • Font Type: The best types of fonts for resumes are Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Cambria, Georgia, Garamond, Avenir Next, and Muna. These are all very readable and considered professional by hiring managers.
  • Font Size: Though it’s tempting to make your font as small as possible to fit in more information, keep the size between 11-12 for the body text and 13-15 for your headers.
  • Layout: Use bullets to help separate your wording and enhance readability.
  • Margins: Keep these between half-inch to an inch. If you go smaller than that, your resume might not be able to be printed.
  • File Type: Unless the job post specifies something different, always send your resume as a PDF. Other file types may change your carefully planned formatting.

Writing a Psychology Resume Summary 

Until recently, putting a summary on your resume was seen as filler information. Now, this section is considered an integral part of your resume, no matter how long you’ve been working.

This is the place for you to sum up your experience for the hiring manager and get them interested in you as a candidate. Depending on the job post, they may have hundreds of strong applicants. A well-written summary can grab their attention and hopefully help you be chosen for an interview.

To write a successful summary, take this approach:

  • Use a strong adjective to describe yourself. Some popular ones are licensed, passionate, or detail oriented.
  • Include your job title and years of experience in your field.
  • Mention the name of the company you’re applying to and what you’d want to improve if hired by them.
  • Highlight your most impressive career or college accomplishments.

Because you’re mentioning the company by name, you’ll need to change this section every time you’re applying for a new opportunity. Before sending out your resume make sure you have the right organization listed. Forgetting to change the name may mean a missed interview.

Your summary should be succinct and full of details. This is your chance to show exactly why you deserve to be considered for the psychology role for which you’re applying.

Summary Example: 

Licensed counseling psychologist with 5 years of experience treating veterans who wants to help expand the veteran therapy program at COMPANY. At CURRENT COMPANY NAME, created a group therapy initiative that brought in 15 new patients.

Writing About Your Psychology Work Experience

Your work experience is the most important part of your resume. This is where you get the chance to show employers exactly what you did at your previous jobs.

It’s important to be detailed when writing about your job duties. You’ll be competing against people who have similar experience, so it’s imperative to highlight exactly what you achieved in your work experience.

Not putting in information about what your job responsibilities at your previous roles is one of the most common resume writing mistakes. Without specificity, it’s easy for your resume to be overlooked — no matter how qualified you are for the position.

For your psychology job experience section, you should include each of these elements:

  • For each job add the company’s name and location, your job title, and the dates you worked there (month and year). Keep it organized by listing each of your roles in reverse-chronological order.
  • Underneath the general information, write a bulleted list of your major job duties. Don’t get lost in the minutia of your everyday work — share the most prominent tasks only.
  • Start each bulleted piece of experience with a strong verb.
  • Write in past tense for previous roles and present tense for your current job.
  • For your job duties, keep the information detailed and short. Hiring managers are reading hundreds of resumes, if you cram too much unnecessary information onto yours it decreases scan-ability and the chance you’ll be selected to interview.
  • If you have space, highlight your biggest achievement at the bottom of each description.

Besides listing your job duties and responsibilities, you should also include your achievements. Because other applicants have similar experience this is the best way to stand out from the others who are competing for the same psychology job opening.

The best way to present your experience is twofold: 1) explaining what you did and 2) what your work accomplished. If you know specific numbers and percentages, these should be included.

Job Experience Example: 

  • Revolutionized adult therapy program by introducing new treatment methods and increased number of patients at the practice by 15%

Choosing Your Psychology Skills 

Going through years of college and post-educational work means you’ve developed dozens of impressive psychology skills. You’ve learned how to actively listen to your patients, you know exactly how to document important information after sessions, and you know how to establish a trusting patient and practitioner relationship.

Unfortunately, you don’t have room to share each one of your hard-earned skills. The key for this section is understand exactly what skills a hiring manager is searching for in a candidate.

You can discover these by thoroughly reading the psychology job post. Because these are based on the description, this is another section that you’ll need to update for every one of your applications. After you discover what the role is looking for, make sure the skills in your section match.

When you’re compiling a skills list, it’s also a good idea to include both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are types of proficiencies you learn while on the job. This includes how to provide certain types of therapy and knowing how to create an Excel sheet. Soft skills are related to your personality. For instance, being an empathetic person.

While your skills section is a summary of what you bring to a job, make sure this information is also “proven” in the rest of your resume. If you claim to be proficient in EMDR therapy, make sure this is represented in your work experience.

Highlighting Your Education 

While writing about your education seems self-explanatory, this is another place you can demonstrate being a quality psychology job candidate.

The basics of what must be included are the names and locations of where you earned your graduate and undergraduate degrees. You should also list your degree type and the dates you attended each of your colleges.

Besides this, you should list any of your major university achievements. Did you graduate Magna Cum Laude? Were you a part of a prestigious psychology association? Did you study abroad? Add it here.

Adding Extra Information 

If you spend your time outside of work volunteering, this is the place to add this information. Being a volunteer is an excellent way to demonstrate how you give back to your community and is something hiring managers like seeing on a psychology resume.

How to Edit Your Psychology Resume

Besides demonstrating your qualifications for the psychology job you’re applying for, it’s important that your resume is grammatically sound and free of errors. If you claim to be obsessed with details, but your resume is riddled with speling misteaks, you may be missing out on a major opportunity.

Since you’ve spent so much time staring at the document, writing and reformatting it, resume errors can be extra difficult to catch.

One easy way to find a mistake you may have missed is asking another person to proofread it — especially if that person has a good eye for editing. Having a second set of eyes read your work is a fast way of finding errors. They can also tell you if what you’re saying makes sense for your audience. If you’re too close to your work, it can be difficult to remember what your audience does and doesn’t know.

If you don’t have access to a trusted proofreader, it’s still very possible to catch your own mistakes. Start by printing out a copy of your resume. Why? Editing a detailed document is less difficult when it’s printed. On a computer screen, your eyes are more likely to skim information, making it harder to detect problems with your writing.

With your printed resume in hand, the first step is reading the document aloud. Reading your words and hearing what you’ve written can help you discover issues you may not have been aware of if you’re reading it in your head.

The next self-editing step is reading the document to yourself, but backwards. This forces you to really pay attention to what you’ve written since you’re taking in the information in a completely new way.

Finally, read it out loud one more time with a pencil or pen in hand. As you read each word, make a little dot underneath it. This will ensure you aren’t skipping over phrases. This can be time-consuming, but it forces you to hone in on every word you’ve written.

Following this editing process will better ensure your resume is free from mistakes and raise your chances of scoring a high-quality position.

Put That Resume to Work 

Now that you have a proofed, error-free document, it’s time to put it to use. There are thousands of job posts waiting for you on Test out your well-constructed and error-free resume by applying.