This post was a collaboration with Katie Millican from SLP Echo. Special Thanks to Katie for providing a lot of great tips that are pertinent to our favorite topic, Resume Writing.Katie Millican, B.S. Ed., is a second year SLP graduate student at the University of West Georgia. She is moving to Alaska to complete her Clinical Fellowship experience in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District for the 2013-2014 school year. She is the author behind http://slpecho.wordpress.com/ where she writes on topics to help inform future and current SLP graduate students, as well as iPad apps for use in therapy.
I remember asking other students in my cohort what their resume looked like. Asking, “Did you put XYZ on there? How did you describe it? Is it considered work experience if you didn't get paid?” When writing a resume, don’t try to re-invent the wheel. There are resources at your disposal to lessen the confusion of resume design, organization, and content.
Organization and Structure
Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers outstanding advice for designing the overall look of a resume. First, scroll through the Resume Workshop Presentation for every section of a basic resume and how to compose a unique-to-you resume. Then, check out their Resume Design post to learn about the Quadrant test, using columns, font selections, and the 20 second test.
Tailoring an SLP Resume
Tailoring a resume means highlighting strengths and weaknesses which make you uniquely qualified for the position. Consider the employer – Are you applying to a school district or health care employer? Each place of employment might have a different need for posting the position. While many people keep one resume for every job they apply to, tailoring can make you stand out. Now, here are some basic guidelines for tailoring a resume:
1. Review the Purdue OWL structure and organization of a resume
2. Include the basic factual information from previous clinical experience and/or internships (i.e. name of employer, dates worked, location, supervisor, etc)
3. Now, as you search for a a desired SLP position posting online (when available), save and refer back to the description. For instance, below is an example pulled from an online posting for a school-based SLP.
1. Once you decide to apply, pin-point the main skills and requirements the employer is looking for based on the description provided. For example, in the above listing, “research” seems to be a large emphasis in this school district, as many bullet-points highlight evidence, journals, statistical analysis, and data collection.
a. Often, job postings are vague or limited to “Seeking full-time SLP for in-patient rehabilitation” or something to that effect. In that case, I would use the ASHA Scope of Practice for pin-pointing notable skills for mention relevant to previous experience.
2. On your resume, under each experience, include verbatium verbage from their own description as it relates to your clinical experience. To expand on the example above, for instance, you might put something to the extent of:
Obviously, you don’t want to make things up if your job never included the duties, but then again, almost every SLP job includes evidence-based approaches, working with culturally and linguistically diverse clientele creating short and long term goals, and working under educational or government regulations like IDEA and HIPAA. It’s all in the wording!
Keywords and Action Words are KEY
It is important to develop a list of keywords and action words to incorporate into your resume. There are many websites that provide a list of keywords and action words under various categories. The importance of these words is they highlight the skills that you possess and draw the employer to your resume.
Examples of how to incorporate keywords and action verbs into your resume:
1. Keywords: Intervention, strategies, family Action Verbs: Educated, facilitate
· Educated family members of individuals with Aphasia on specific intervention strategies to facilitate active involvement
2. Key Words: Graduate students, speech pathology, clinical
Action Verb: Supervised
· Supervised graduate students in speech pathology program during their clinical rotations
3. Key Words: confidential documents, filing, accurately
Action Verbs: Organized, maintained
· Organized and accurately maintained filing system of confidential documents
Boston College and Wake Forest University organized a list of action verbs that could be incorporated into your resume .
Boston College’s Resume Action Verbs
Wake Forest University’s List of Action Verbs for Resumes and Professional Profiles
In addition to descriptions under jobs, Linkedin is a great resource to use to develop keywords to incorporate into your resume. To get to the Skills and Expertise Section on Linkedin, follow the steps below:
Log in to your Linkedin Account and click on More (located in the top toolbar)
1. In the Drop down menu under More, click on Skills & Expertise
2. When you get to the Skills & Expertise screen you can type in a keyword and other similar skills will populate based on what you typed into the search box.
How Long Should My Resume Be?
At some point, a transition from one to two page resumes lends itself to three and four page resumes. The more experience, professional development, and skills acquired automatically increases the length of a resume. However, I think the Purdue OWL’s 20 second rule still applies, no matter how many pages. Employers or Human Resource people want to see relevant experience and how recent/dates, education level, professional development, and other components correspond to the job.
The above job description and duties example appeared on the Disctrict of Columbia Public Schools website for a position as a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist, posted May 2, 2013.
The Chronicle of Higher Education: First Time on the MarketResume Builder
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Putting the time in to learn a trade and making your way successfully through a Speech-Language Pathology grad program are only half of what it takes to become a full-fledged SLP. You may know the practices, but now, you have to step out into the real world, where competition is around every corner and finding steady work and substantial pay is a full-time job. But there are ways to prove your worth and earn the job of your dreams.
Beef Up Your Resume
Whether you have a Master’s degree or a Bachelor’s, competition is stiff. There will always be someone out there with more experience and better credentials, but that shouldn’t deter you. SLP jobs come in all shapes and sizes, so outfit your resume with solid, specific, and impressive material that will make you stand out. Remember, a cover letter is sometimes more important than the resume itself, so brush up on your writing skills and stand out.
Do Some Traveling
This doesn’t mean take a vacation. However, there are plenty of great opportunities pooling in various areas of the country, and only travel therapy staffing companies have access to all of them. These are agencies that weigh your personal and professional interests to find travel speech therapy jobs that best suit you. These may be in other cities or states, but all come with considerable pay and fantastic benefits. Not only is this a great way to gain experience for bigger jobs, it saves the trouble of actually going out and searching for a job on your own.
Too many resumes are tossed in the trash before the hiring manager gets a chance to look at them. Don’t be afraid to be outgoing, and don’t be afraid to express your uniqueness. Know when to limit yourself in an interview, and recognize when you have the opportunity to be memorable. Whether it’s a formal interview or a casual meeting with a hiring manager, leave a positive and professional impression.
Special Thank you to Advanced Medical for taking the time to write this article for New SLP Grads.
About Advanced Medical
Advanced Medical is a therapy staffing company that provides physical therapy, occupational therapy and traveling SLP jobs in specialties and locations nationwide. Focusing on quality and integrity, Advanced Medical has emerged at the forefront of the travel therapy staffing industry. Get the latest updates from Advanced Medical on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
A couple weeks ago, I had the distinct honor of helping one of my Language-Impaired students with her resume. It took us about two weeks’ worth of extended therapy sessions to create a resume that met her needs despite her lack of professional experiences, but we did it.
Besides the feeling of satisfaction that I got from putting a vibrant young woman on track for her
first job, I learned that the key to drafting a winning resume is to write from the viewpoint of a
hiring manager. If you were the person who had to spend thousands of dollars in advertising in
hope of recruiting a top candidate for your company, what skills and personality traits would you
be looking for?
According to Ramit Sethi, author of “I will Teach You to Be Rich,” a hiring manager will spend
roughly 10 seconds scanning your resume. What do you want your resume to say about you? Do
not fall into the mental trap that you will land a job because speech-language pathologists are in
high demand and carelessly put your resume together. Turn your resume into a magnet for the
best companies by doing the following:
Avoid content indigestion (Ramit Sethi recommends that you make each word earn its place on
your resume and if the information is irrelevant for the position you are applying for, leave it off
Keep your resume neat (stick with Times New Roman or Arial fonts; no fancy graphics)
Target it for your specific audience (recruiters from various public/private organizations or
speech therapy business owners)
Have an objective (what type of position would you like and in what clinical setting; know what
Avoid overused phrases (we are all hard workers, team players and highly qualified; focus on
how your clinical skills will benefit your future employer)
In sum, the secret to writing a resume that gets you noticed is to take on the perspective of your
future employer. Remember, you would not want to read endless lists of people’s descriptions
of how they traded their time for money. Briefly state your objective, highlight your value and
attract the job of your dreams.
Special Thanks to Espinoza for writing this article about resume writing!
Espinoza Pierschke is a savvy Speech Therapist, Certified SEO Copywriter and author of “Windows Can Become Doors: A Blueprint for Beginning Speech Therapists.” She is passionate about making a difference and teaching fellow therapists how to survive life after graduate school.
I was inspired to write this post after a beautiful walk this morning. I enjoy walking, it really helps for me to clear my mind, reflect, and brainstorm. As I was walking today,I thought about the risks that I took to get to where I am today. I could not be happier, although I am over 800 miles from home and I miss my family and friends very much, it is all part of the new chapter in my book of life! I think it is so important to step out of your comfort zone sometimes and "take a risk!"
I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a risk when I moved to a new place, created this website, tried a different therapy approach with some of the kids that I work with in the schools, and the list goes on...Risks do not have to be extreme, they can be as simple as trying something you never have done before, opening your mind up to trying new approaches, or whatever task is outside of your comfort zone.
Listen to your intuition, follow that gut feeling you get, open yourself up to new opportunities, go into a new opportunity with an open mind and do not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and take a risk. The next chapter of your book is waiting to be filled with all of the experiences, knowledge, and wisdom that you gain from "taking risks."
Have a great weekend!! Continue to pray and keep Japan in your thoughts,my prayers go out to all families, victims, and survivors affected by this tragedy!
"Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first." ~Frederick B. Wilcox~
I wanted to share this table that I used when I was job searching. Initially I started off and I just was writing information down on a notepad whenever I would contact a company of interest. Then one day my dad said, "You should make some type of table, so that you have everything all in one place." So that is what I did, I created a chart so that I could have all of the companies of interest, this helped me to compare the benefits in order to come to a decision of the job that fit me best. Any headings can be used to go at the top, it just depends on what you are looking for and what is important to you when finding the job that fits you best! Thanks Dad!
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Career Services created the Sample Speech Language Pathology Resume below. Retrieved February 13, 2011, from www.unl.edu/careers/education/resume/icspeechpath.pdf
Prior to signing a contract for a job, please be familiar with some of the terms and information listed below:
*Non-Compete Agreement: Get familiar with this term because some contracts state that if you leave their company you can not work within a certain radius/geographical location for 2 years or whatever timeframe is stated in the contract. Be sure to research and find out different examples of non-compete clauses so that you do not sign something that you may regret. If there is a non-compete clause in your contract, be sure to ask what the time frame is, if you really want to work for that company, weigh your options!!!!
*No Skimming, Read the Entire Contract: It is really exciting to sign the contract for your first job, but please be sure to read each word in the contract. Find a quiet place with no distractions to read the contract and all of the information that the company provides. Take a day or two to look it over, have your parents read it too or someone you go to for professional advice!
*If Something is Unclear Ask Questions: Be sure you are clear with everything that is in the contract, if something is unclear, ASK!!!! If something that was agreed upon is not included in the contract then ask!
*Instincts Are Key: If your gut instinct is telling you that something is not right, listen to it!
This post is not to take the excitement out of job searching and signing a contract, but it is so that you can be PROACTIVE and really enjoy your CAREER so that you do not have to be worried with points that can be addressed from the beginning!
"Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling."
~Stephen R. Covey Quotes from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People p. 71~
Special Thanks to Heidi Kay from PediaStaff for sharing this great Guide for New Graduates
. Please be sure to explore PediaStaff's Resources
for a variety of information for Therapists. Don't forget to subscribe to their newsletter
as well so that you can get the latest pediatric and school-based therapy resources, tips, articles, and news each week!!
The Graduate Guide below provides information about choosing the best setting, resume preparation, interview tips, and so much more....
As February approaches, graduation is right around the corner for many. Some are counting down the days until graduation and until they start their first job in the real world. I know firsthand how exciting and overwhelming all of the above can be, so I wanted to share some tips on my blog in preparation for these big events! Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing information that helped me in preparation for choosing the right job for my clinical fellowship year.
Do not wait until the last minute to prepare for graduation or even to apply for jobs. Start planning now so that the process will not be overwhelming. I highly recommend having a folder or notebook dedicated solely for graduation and job searching. It is important to have all necessary information in one place and not scattered everywhere. Over the course of the next few weeks I will be targeting the following topic areas:
~Resume and Cover Letter
~Key Questions to Ask When Applying for Jobs
~Gathering Appropriate Documents in Order to Get Provisional License