Job hunting can be confusing. You know you need a resume, but what is it exactly? What makes a good one? Relax. Here’s everything you need to know.
Abstract: Psychologists work with people by identifying and diagnosing mental illnesses and emotional disorders. You are specifically trained to use knowledge and research to establish facts and develop effective treatment plans. Your psychology resume should prove that you have the specialized education and skills to succeed as a mental health professional.
A hiring manager reads a good psychology resume and immediately picks up the phone.
It’s like Pavlov's dog syndrome.
They can’t help it.
They’ve got to meet the person behind the paper!
If you’re on a job hunt you obviously want to be that person.
And you can be.
You just have to craft the perfect psychology resume that will make an impact.
In this guide:
- A psychology resume sample that gets jobs.
- How to format your psychology resume so it looks professional.
- What kind of skills and achievements recruiters are looking for in a psychology resume.
- Expert hints that will help you write a psychology resume that stands out.
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Sample Psychology Resume
Jason D. Dehaven
4930 Watson Lane
San Antonio, TX 78217
Driven and ambitious psychology professional with 4+ years of experience leading individual psychotherapy sessions using empirically-based treatments to help patients. Met with over 100 patients monthly: individuals, couples and families. Conducted 4 experiments with 252 undergraduate students to investigate the relationship between general and academic procrastination with mental health and life satisfaction.
TexasState Board of Examiners of Psychologists
Mindside, San Antonio, TX
March 2017-May 2021
- Conducted intensive therapy sessions with more than a 100 patients monthly with varying ethnic, social, educational, and economic backgrounds.
- Facilitated 6 group therapies in anger management and substance abuse that showed significant reduction in symptoms upon conclusion of treatment.
- Created and led a social skills group for children with Asperger's Syndrome.
- Provided counseling for 15 families who have experienced the death of a child.
- Created individualized treatment plans for each client and assisted the clients in achieving the objectives of the goals they created.
San Antonio Therapy Center, TX
September 2015-April 2016
- Conducted over 50 comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluations of high school students referred for significant learning and/or emotional concerns.
- Prepared comprehensive and multidisciplinary reports of each patient assessed; interpreted assessment findings for staff, family members, and other authorized persons as necessary.
- Helped facilitate couple counseling sessions.
- Completed special projects in a timely manner.
BS in Psychology
The University of Texas, Dallas, TX
- Graduated Magna Cum Laude
- Honored with Harry S. Truman Scholarship
- Empirical psychology
- Statistical analysis
- Group therapy techniques
- Strong writing skills
- Public speaking
- Time management
- Goal setting & prioritization
- Autism Spectrum Disorders Postbaccalaureate Certificate
Now here’s what to include on your resume:
1. Select a Psychology Resume Format That’s Neat and Readable
First things first. The layout of your resume. Let’s satisfy the narcissist hidden inside the recruiter and make it perfect.
Psychology Resume Format
- Use the reverse chronological order to show off your latest experiences first.
- Choose a neat resume font, like Arial, Noto or Garamond.
- Make sure you have 1-inch resume margins on all sides of the document.
- A one-page resume should be your goal. If you have more experience in the field two pages will be just fine, too.
- Use these resume sections: Header, Summary, License, Experience, Education, Skills, and “Additional.”
- Save your resume as a PDF file to make sure that it looks the same on every computer.
- Use a simple resume template for enhanced readability. Simple templates are also more ATS-friendly.
2. Write a Powerful Resume Summary or Objective that Grabs Attention
A strong introduction is like the bottom part of Maslow’s hierarchy theory. It’s the first part of your resume that works as a base for grabbing the reader’s attention.
The recruiter NEEDS a good resume summary or objective—otherwise they’ll be biased while reading the rest. Or won’t even bother to do it.
If you’re not sure what kind of intro your psychology resume needs, here’s a small cheat-sheet:
Got work experience? Use a resume summary.
No experience? Go for a resume objective.
To make your resume summary or objective stand out, make sure you try these tricks:
- Start with a potent adjective, like: highly-motivated, ambitious, driven, inspired, etc.
- Now put your job title.
- Next, let the recruiter know how much experience you have: 3+ years of experience, 7+ years of experience, and so on.
- What you specialize in: guiding and supporting students in a special education program to build confidence and modify behaviors.
- Finish strong with 2-3 of your key accomplishments.
Your resume summary should look like something like this:
Psychology Resume Sample—Resume Summary
Oh, no. The recruiter will develop a phobia after reading the bad example.
While the first example shows competence and highlights some important achievements, the second one, first of all, seems like it’s been written by a child, and second of all—
A recruiter isn’t interested whether you’re empathetic or not. A psychologist obviously should have highly developed interpersonal skills, but that’s not what makes him or her GOOD.
It’s the experience and achievements that count.
Straight out of graduate school and have nothing to show off?
You can still land your dream job by writing a resume with no experience.
But this time, instead of writing a summary of your experience, start your resume with an objective. Examine this case study:
Entry Level Psychology Resume Sample—Resume Objective
See the difference?
If you were the hiring manager, who would you choose for the job?
Someone who cared to write a nice objective that proves they have skills and attitude to take on a full-time internship? Or someone who didn’t even take the time to highlight their competencies?
Even entry-level candidates have some kind of experience from school or other projects that should be included in their psychology resume.
An eye-catching introduction is what makes recruiters greenlight a candidate.
But remember—you have to make it relevant and attractive. No psychobabble.
Highlight the skills and experiences you’ve acquired and be on your way to a whole new sense of self.
Expert tip: If you have some significant experience, skills and qualifications, you may want to use a summary of qualifications on a resume. This gives you the opportunity to highlight both your skills and work experience, which is a win-win situation.
3. Highlight Your Psychology Resume Job Description and Skills Section
Writing the job description section isn’t as easy as Albert Ellis’ ABC model.
This part of your psychology resume should prove that you have everything that it takes to succeed in the field.
Here’s how to write the best psychology resume job description section:
- Use the reverse chronological order to list your previous jobs and employment background.
- Remember to include what position you worked in, the dates of your employment, the organization’s / company’s name and location.
- List 4-5 bullet points that describe what your role was. Start each point with a resume action verb to convey emotion and purpose.
- Don’t forget to include some key achievements that are both measurable and convincing.
Take a look at these two psychology resume samples of job descriptions:
Psychology Sample Resume—Job Description
The first example? Looks like the candidate implemented a triangulation protocol. Or... used a simple STAR formula (Situation-Task-Action-Result) to phrase the bullet points.
The problem with the second one is that he/she doesn’t show numbers which is something that shows real impact.
Simply listing your duties isn’t really what will make the recruiter have the “Aha! moment”.
Even though it’s not always easy to quantify your achievements when it comes to psychology —try your best to squeeze in some numbers here and there.
Think about how many patients you’ve been seeing on a weekly basis, or how many research projects you were a part of. This will show the hiring manager that not only you can do your job well, but you also have the ability to show how effective you really are.
When it comes to resume skills, it’s pretty tricky to stand out from other candidates.
The most important thing to remember is to list skills and qualifications that are relevant to the position.
Double-check the job posting to see if the desired skills are there. This is your “Big Five”.
Here are some ideas that can inspire you:
Sample Psychologist Resume—Skills
- Behavioral psychology
- Clinical psychology
- Psychological treatment techniques
- Confidentiality procedures
- Group therapy techniques
- Strong analytical skills
- Clinical research
- Presentation / public speaking skills
- Computer skills
- Communication skills
- Goal setting
- Writing skills
- Solid assessment and documentation skills
The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your resume in our resume builder now.
Nail it all with a splash of color, choose a clean font, highlight your skills in just a few clicks. You’re the perfect candidate and we’ll prove it. Use the ResumeLab builder now.
4. Ace Your Education Section
When it comes to the resume education section—don’t hide your ego.
Prove that you are in your psychology “flow state” by putting it in your document in the right format and wowing them with your qualifications.
Education on a Psychology Resume—Sample
Expert Hint: Various studies show that you have seconds to impress a recruiter with your resume. If they want to know more about you, they’ll probably want to check out your LinkedIn profile, so make sure it's up to date.
5. Perk Up Your Psychology Resume With an “Additional Information” Section
You’re almost done.
Show off your potential with an “Extras” section that will even convince Albert Bandura to hire you.
Certifications, extra research studies, projects, volunteer work—all of these will nicely spice up your resume!
Here are just a few examples of the most prestigious resume certifications that you can get as a graduate:
- PGCert in The Psychology of Dementia Care
- Graduate Certificate in Autism and Behavioural Science
- Advanced Certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counselling
- Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate
Depending on your field of study, you may want to take time to do some research on what kind of certifications are the most profitable ones for your mental health care area.
In the meantime, check out this psychologist resume example:
Sample Psychology Student Resume—Extra Sections
Double your impact with a matching resume and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.
Want to try a different look? There’s 18 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.
For a psychology resume that gets interviews:
- Use the psychology resume template provided. It has all the sections that are ready for you to fill in with your information.
- Highlight your psychology achievements in the summary / objective, and experience and education sections to prove you have all the right qualifications.
- Tailor your psychology skills to match the recruiter’s job description.
- Include a psychology cover letter to show that you’re the best fit for the role.
Did we help you get your psychology resume right? Got any more questions on how to write a resume or cover letter for a mental health professional? Leave a comment. We’ll be happy to help.