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.
Thank you Andrei for sharing this resource "340+Resume Action Verbs And Power Words [Complete list]