Once you’ve earned your degree, passed the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy exam, and obtained your license, the next step is to find a job with a company that is hiring OTs. This requires that you have a resume.
Resume Builder shares that resumes are extremely important, for a number of reasons. First, you’re competing with countless others who’ve taken the same steps as you, so if you don’t have a piece of paper that effectively highlights your education and experience, your phone will never ring.
Second, if that resume doesn’t reach out and actually speak to the person reviewing it, you’re sunk then as well. There’s also the fact that, because the person looking it over has never met you, your resume is the one document responsible for making your first impression.
So, how do you create a winning occupational therapy resume, one that sets you apart from other job hunters, that really speaks to OT hiring managers, and provides an amazing impression of you and your skills?
Include the Right Contact Information
Since your number one goal is to get an occupational therapy business to contact you for an interview, you want to include enough information so they can do this easily. If you make them search for you, it’s likely they won’t take the time.
In addition to providing your first and last name, GCF Global indicates that this involves also listing:
- Your home or cell phone number
- Your address (either full address or simply the city and state)
- Your email address, preferably one that is professional, such as Judy.Smith@email.com
- A link to your online profile or webpage
Remember: the easier you make it for them to contact you using whichever method they prefer, the more likely it is that is what they’ll do.
Format the Resume Correctly
Have you ever looked at a document and found the formatting so confusing you didn’t know where to rest your eyes first? You can keep human resource managers from having this response to your resume by making sure it is formatted correctly.
According to LiveCareer, an easy-to-read resume will use short, bulleted sentences as opposed to long paragraphs. Plus, instead of spelling out the words “number,” “dollar,” and “percent,” use the symbols instead (#, $, and %) because they tend to pop out more.
Additionally, though you may want to list everything you’ve ever done on your resume, leaving white space and limiting it to no more than two pages is actually more beneficial. And your font needs to be at least 10-point so the person reading it doesn’t have to squint.
Use Action Words
When sharing all of your education and experience, it’s also important that you use a lot of action words. These are words that not only tell a prospective employer what you’ve done for others, but what you can possibly do for them too.
Not sure what action words are? Wake Forest University shares a rather comprehensive list that can help you share your accomplishments in a way that gets you noticed.
For instance, if you want to highlight your management or leadership skills, you may consider using words like administered, generated, oversaw, or supervised. However, if it’s your people skills you want to draw attention to most, articulated, expressed, mediated, and resolved may just do the trick.
The main goal is to get the resume reader to visualize all of the wonderful things you’ve done. Use words that enhance this visualization so they can accurately see you for who you are.
Tailor Your Resume Directly to Them
Do you send the same resume to all of the occupational therapy businesses you’d like to work with? If so, you may not get an interview solely because you didn’t tailor your resume directly to them.
The Resume Coach explains that “you need to show each employer why you are the perfect fit for the vacancy they are filling.” This means that each resume you send out should be somewhat different than the last, based largely on what the prospective employer is looking for.
A lot of times, you can find a lot of information just by reading their job post. Not only will this tell you what qualifications they want, but by tailoring your resume to include the experience you have related to the job functions they’ve listed, it’s like you’re speaking directly to them saying, “See! I have everything you said you want!”
What happens if their ad is vague or if you don’t get enough from it to create a solid resume that is solely for them? Well, that’s where the next point comes in.
Do Some Research
Certainly, the whole point in having a resume is to be able to sell yourself to the occupational therapy business you’d like to work for. But you also need to remember that the hiring process is all about them. It’s about what they want and need. In order to figure that out, you may have to do a little research.
Rockport Institute recommends that job applicants visit prospective employer’s websites and follow them on social media. Based on their content and posts, what do they hold important and what kinds of words do they use when communicating their business?
This gives you great insight into the business itself and enables you to position yourself so you highlight those same types of values and use the same type of wording. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should make things up just to align yourself with their company, but if you do fit what they’re looking for, it’s always best to speak their language.
By taking the time to do these five things—including the right contact information, formatting your resume correctly, using action words, tailoring your resume to each individual employer, and doing your research—you’re one step closer to your dream job. And a resume that can help you receive it.