Resume Guide

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Updated August 18, 2022

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You may think you already know how to write a great resume. But does your resume include some of these common mistakes? Find out how to write a psychology resume your future employer will approve of.

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Whether you're transitioning from working in academia to another psychology-related field or this is your first foray into the workforce, you'll need a resume to start your job hunt in psychology.

With more than 115,000 graduates of psychology degrees per year – just accounting for bachelor's degrees awarded in the U.S. – you're probably wondering how to write a resume that sets you apart from other applicants. Read on to learn some valuable tips to impress recruiters and help your resume stand out.

What Should I Include on a Psychology Resume?

While academic and clinical psychology jobs often require a curriculum vitae (CV) to apply, other psychology-related roles may ask for a resume. CVs allow you to expand on your academic accomplishments and experiences, while resumes serve as a condensed version of your career.

When building your resume, you should include the following sections. Put the headers in bold or slightly large font, no larger than 14 point font, to differentiate them from the rest of the text:

You may also include the following optional sections if you have relevant experiences to list:

Beneath each header, list your experiences in order of most recent to least recent (chronological order). Also, make sure to include the range of time you spent on each experience. Separating each listing with a bullet point makes the document easier for recruiters to read quickly.

What Should I Put on My Psychology Resume if I Don't Have Any Experience?

If you're a recent graduate or in the process of changing your career path, you might struggle to fill up space on your resume with relevant experience. But work history isn't the only factor recruiters consider when looking for candidates.

Here are some other items you can list to demonstrate your skills and interests:

  • Personal Summary

    Include a section near the top of your resume that summarizes your skills and career goals. This gives recruiters an instant understanding of your personal brand. You should tweak this statement to fit each employment opportunity you are applying for.

  • Academic Achievements

    If you're a recent graduate, the work you've done in school is relevant to include. If you earned a high GPA or any academic honors, include them under your Awards and Accomplishments section. Papers and presentations you've made may also be worth mentioning, as long as they are relevant to the job description.

  • Certifications

    Massive open online courses (MOOCs), bootcamps, and certifications offered through professional organizations can be great additions to your resume. If you don't have any certifications yet, ask respected professionals in your network which certifications are respected in your area of interest. Many take less than six months to complete.

  • Volunteer Experience

    Volunteer work not only demonstrates your passion for a certain cause, but your dedication and reliability. Make sure to include the duties you had, the number of hours per week or month you volunteered, and the total length of time you spent at each experience.

  • Memberships

    Joining a professional association is a great way to demonstrate your interest and commitment to a particular niche within psychology. Each state has its own psychological association. You can also join national organizations related to various niches within psychology.

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Resume Writing Tips for Psychologists

When building out your resume, keep the following best practices in mind.

Common Mistakes Psychologists Make on Their Resumes

Below are the most common mistakes to avoid when writing a psychology resume.

  1. 1

    Typos

    Spelling mistakes are an easy way for recruiters to weed out candidates. Don't forget to check for typos that spell check won't pick up, such as your email address or phone number.

  2. 2

    A Resume That Is Too Long or Too Short

    Unlike CVs, resumes should be 1-2 pages to give recruiters a quick snapshot of who you are and the level of experience you have. If you can't fit your experience onto a single page, it's better to add a second page than to noticeably adjust the margins.

  3. 3

    Irrelevant Skills or Experiences

    Earlier on in your career, you may want to include every academic achievement or internship to fill space on your resume. But as you progress, you can leave out experiences that don't relate to your current career goals. This gives recruiters a better sense of who you are as a professional and makes your resume easier to read.

  4. 4

    Vague or Misleading Information

    Make sure to be honest and consistent about your experiences. While you should give the best impression possible, exaggerating your level of experience isn't worth compromising your reputation.

    You should also be specific about time frames of previous jobs. Include the month and date you started and ended a role, for example "Jan. 2021 - Dec. 2022." If your dates are vague, like only providing the years "2021-2022," or don't align with your LinkedIn profile, it can raise a red flag that you're being vague or deceitful, even if it's unintentional.

  5. 5

    Formatting

    Try not to deviate too much from the standard resume format. While it can be tempting to add interesting design elements, the priority should be making the document easy to read.

    Avoid using decorative fonts, distracting graphics, bright colors, etc. You should also try to leave some white space to not overwhelm the reader.

Reviewed by:

Portrait of Sarah Holliday, MS

Sarah Holliday, MS

Sarah Holliday has years of experience working with nontraditional and traditional-aged students in areas related to career coaching, training, and development. Holliday holds a BA in English from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and an MS in instructional design and technology rom Walden University. Holliday is currently working on her doctorate.

Sarah Holliday is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.

SOURCES


State, provincial, and territorial psychological association directory. (2022.)
https://www.apa.org/about/apa/organizations/associations

Page last reviewed March 30, 2022

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