As a psychotherapist, you're usually the one people turn to when they're feeling a bit stuck. Now you're the one who needs professional help when it comes to landing that new career opportunity.
A thoughtful psychotherapist’s resume will suggest why you are a great addition to a mental health practice or give prospective patients a firm grasp on whether you are a good fit for them. You’re in the right place to get the advice you need for a successful job search. With 300+ occupation-specific resume examples and writing guides, Resume.io is an expert resource for job seekers in all levels of their careers.
This resume guide along with the corresponding psychotherapist resume example will cover the following topics:
- What does a psychotherapist do?
- How to write a psychotherapist resume (tips and tricks)
- The best format for a psychotherapist resume
- Advice on each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional resume layout and design hints.
What does a psychotherapist do?
Psychotherapists, also called psychologists, are in the business of helping patients with their emotional and behavioral difficulties. They provide non-medical treatment plans to patients suffering from a variety of emotional and behavioral disorders.
Some psychotherapists open individual practice while others work in group practices. Those practices may be within universities, broader medical practices, hospitals or social service agencies. Practices may focus on one type of mental health issue or age group while others may be more general.
Psychotherapists work with patients to outline therapeutic goals and keep track of progress through thorough documentation. Part of their job is to perform clinical assessments, and treat patients suffering from stress, anxiety, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and many other problems. These work with patients to establish and implement individualized treatment plans to address disorders and behavioral patterns.
There are five main therapeutic approaches, according to the American Psychological Association:
- Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic
Practices may focus on one or more of these approaches.
How much do psychotherapists earn?
The median income for psychotherapists, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies as psychologists, is $82,180 a year.
The BLS expects an 8% uptick in the number of therapist jobs by 2030.
How to write a psychotherapist resume
Before you begin to put your psychotherapist resume together, you need to know what elements it contains. Create the following components for your CV:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
You have a methodical and individualized approach to helping your patients. Those skills will come in handy when developing your resume. Research the practice you want to join and adopt a tone that matches.
Using the following guidelines will help you write a resume that opens doors to new opportunities:
- Your resume is a living document. It needs to be adjusted for each job application.
- Create a design that portrays the same professional image you convey in person.
- Take the ATS into account when you apply for positions online.
Evade the Applicant Tracking System filter
Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS, are software programs that scan, sort and assess resumes for human resources departments. These systems are looking for keywords and phrases the employer has pegged to the job.
The best way to ensure that your resume won’t get filtered out is to understand what your prospective employer wants. Analyze the job listing, carefully highlighting keywords and phrases within it that you can then use in your resume.
Choosing the best resume format for a psychotherapist
In most cases, we recommend the reverse chronological order resume format. In this format, you begin listing your jobs in your employment history section from your most recent on back. Unless you have a compelling reason, you should organize your resume this way because both recruiters and the ATS prefer it.
If you have changed careers, are just starting out or are a seasoned professional, you may consider the other resume formats we suggest as chronological alternatives or hybrids. The functional resume style is typically reserved for niche technologists or scientists because it highlights skills over work experience.
Resume summary example: personal approach
Your personality and style make you the psychotherapist you are and your resume summary is your best chance to show them off. This section, also known as a profile, allows you three to four lines of freeform text to describe your philosophy and approach to your patients’ treatment.
This section also serves as an introduction to your career, so highlight your proudest achievement. Don’t be afraid to use strong, position adjectives. Exhibit confidence in your abilities and establish a professional tone and style.
Add a sentence or two about why you want to join the practice or how you help your patients. If you focus on a certain type of mental health or demographics, make sure you mention that here.
If you’re having trouble finding inspiration for your summary, you can find additional writing material in our related medical resume examples. The psychologist resume sample is a good parallel guide. If you have a singular therapeutic approach, try our behavioral therapist resume example. For a specific demographic, we have a marriage and family therapist resume example and a child psychologist resume example.
You can find a psychotherapist resume example summary below.
Experienced and dedicated psychotherapist with over nine years of clinical experience, providing patients with advanced and effective treatment programs. Adept in assessing the condition of patients, keeping record of progress, and suggesting powerful solutions.Committed to reinforcing positive feelings and behaviors and developing mental, emotional, and behavioral goals in collaboration with the client.
Employment history CV sample: success stories
The employment history section of your psychotherapy CV details the highlights of your therapeutic career. Within it, in reverse chronological order, you should create 3-4 bulleted items that tell of your career wins.
Instead of listing what you have done, create a story of how you have helped your patients through their difficulties, techniques you have used that have worked and offer a global picture of your practice. Start each item with a strong verb followed by your accomplishment and tailor the examples you use to the environment and demographic of the practice or organization you are applying to join.
In addition to your empathy and knowledge of psychology, make sure you detail the practical skills that are part of mental health practice such as understanding insurance and billing requirements, maintaining patient confidentiality and privacy and keeping careful notes of progress.
You need only list about 10 years of history here, but if you are a recently licensed therapist, you may use your internship and externship in this section.
You can find a psychotherapist employment history resume sample below.
- Provided powerful psychotherapy services to hundreds of patients with a variety of concerns and issues.
- Provided in-depth clinical assessments.
- Created and implemented effective treatment plans and established therapeutic goals with the help of the client.
- Provided ongoing client education and recommended various materials to assist the client in their rehabilitation goals.
Psychotherapist resume education example
Your education is an important aspect of your job qualifications, so consider placing it above your skills section. You may simply list your degrees, but if you have completed training in specific psychological methods or attended seminars and workshops that enhance your skills, add those as well.
Unless you have just graduated and had at least a 3.0, there is no need to list your GPA.
Optional sections may apply
You may want to add optional sections to your CV if you have other career achievements to highlight. Here are a few examples:
- Professional affiliations
- Seminar leadership
See resume example for an education section below.
- 2012-2014 Boston College, Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology Boston, MA
- 2008-2012 University of Maryland, Bachelor of Psychology College, MD
Psychotherapist skills section example: an overview
The skill section of your psychotherapist resume serves two main purposes:
- It highlights your highest level skills (and the ones your prospective employer or patients seek)
- It tells the hiring manager what you think are the most important skills for the job.
Just as you need to diversify the achievements you discuss in your employment history section, you need to balance your skills section. Of course you must be empathetic and communicate well, but you also need expertise in therapeutic techniques and up-to-date knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the field.
Consider the ATS when you develop this section. Swapping out one skill for another is a simple way to individualize each application.
You can find a skills resume sample below.
- Effective Counseling Skills
- Addiction Counseling
- Marital and Family Counseling
- ABA Techniques
- Process Psychology
Resume layout and design: professional look
When you meet a patient for the first time, you project a certain professional image, one that provokes trust and understanding. You need to aim for that image when you design your psychotherapy resume.
You can achieve that by remembering a few guidelines and sticking to the idea that your main goal is legibility.
- Stick to a black and white document. There’s no need for you to add color unless you are applying to a pediatric practice. If so, keep it to a minimum.
- Create contrast by using a different font for your contact information and headings. Speaking of your contact information, make sure it stands out so it’s easy for a hiring manager to schedule your interview.
- Big blocks of type are off-putting, so vary your line lengths and use bullets to start each item.
- A professionally-designed resume template can be an easy way to avoid formatting errors.
Key takeaways for a psychotherapist resume
- Psychotherapists need empathy and communication skills, but don’t neglect your other talents in your CV.
- Target your resume message to the practice or organization you are applying to join.
- Clearly define your therapeutic philosophy and mental health expertise.
- Our psychotherapist resume sample will give you pointers on creating an eye catching layout and design.