Counselor Resume Guide: Answer for All Your Questions

When you are about to write your professional counselor resume, you will be looking for some guidance and tips on how to go about it. Writing a professional resume takes a lot of effort whether it is about the professional resume standards, various sections, or presenting your profile on your counselor resume.

Last update:
01/01/2024

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One of the solutions you may have is to Google everything, you will be looking at multiple guides, examples templates, and more. We have curated this guide that is comprehensive and will answer all your questions in one place. We will also talk about some tips that you can use to enhance your resume and increase your chances of getting your dream job.

So let's dive in!👇

counselor resume

Professional resume guidelines

There are certain professional guidelines that you should keep in mind when you are writing a resume to ensure that your resume meets the professional resume standards and impresses the hiring managers. In case, your resume does not meet the professional resume standards, the hiring managers will get your impression as someone who is unprofessional and will not perform well with regard to corporate culture and protocols.

A professional resume reflects professionalism through formal language, a good layout, a visually appealing presentation, an appropriate presentation of important details of your profile, and so on. Let's see how you can write a professional resume.

  • Use the third person and past tense throughout your resume (always) as it will help you reflect professionalism and formal tone on your counselor resume
  • Always use as many action verbs and numbers as you can to quantify the information and make the language effective for the reader-hiring managers
  • Your resume will be viewed on various document viewing mediums, it will pass through many applicant tracking systems. This means that your resume document should be the kind of format that is compatible with all kinds of applicant tracking systems and document viewing platforms as well as devices and mediums.The advised document format for your professional counselor resume would be a Microsoft Word document or a PDF document.
  • Your counselor resume should be proofread twice to ensure that the information is accurate and appropriately written as well as placed throughout your resume in various sections.You should pay close attention and remove any and every spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, and factual error to ensure accuracy.
  • When you are writing your professional counselor resume, you should choose the right format for the layout of the resume with various sections and information. We will discuss your options for resume format in a while.
  • You will also choose a template for your counselor resume, you should make sure that your resume looks visually appealing. The template will have sample information inserted which you will have to replace with your own profile information and details.When you replace the information, the margins and white space may change and you will need to fix it. There will be a few small edits that you will need to make to ensure that the visual appeal of your resume is maintained and your resume looks symmetrical and appropriately designed and written.

Now that you know the guidelines for writing a professional resume, let's talk about how to write a counselor resume!👇

Research

When we go to watch movies, we often check the movie reviews, the best options to watch the movie such as the movie theatres, screening times, food and snack options that are available at the venue, and so on.

Similarly, when we plan our vacation we look up various hotels to stay in, local cuisine and food options that you want to try out, various places and destinations you want to visit, various activities and events you want to participate in, and so on.

Before we engage or indulge in any activity or action or make any decision or choice, we tend to research at least a little bit. The research is done to get some basic information and in-depth insight into the background of any area, topic, or question that you are exploring.

The process of writing a professional counselor resume is not that different either. When you sit down to write a resume, you will need to explore a lot and do some basic research to get a better idea of how to write your professional counselor resume.

During the research for your counselor resume, you should look up various roles and designations, potential employers, the industry of mental health, counseling services, and related areas, the job description and job duties, salary range, benefits, usual expectations from, professional counselors, and so on.

The research helps you get better insight into what to expect when you are on the job search or job hunt, what can you hope for in terms of salary and opportunities, what are the current market trends, how is the current job market scenario, and so on.

When you have done the research, it also helps you figure out how you can stand out, and what are the ways in which you can make your counselor resume exceptional and impressive for any hiring manager. In addition, the research will not only help you write a really good counselor resume but also help you with the interview. Having learned all there is to learn about your field, role, and industry, you will feel much more confident.

During the research, you will come across many keywords that will be important and relevant for your role, industry, job description, and more. The words that will be defined in nature and key for your resume. You need to note down and list these keywords as they will come in very handy later on.

💡As of May 2022, there were 37,270 counselors in the USA!

(Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211019.htm)

counselor resume

Format

There are many resume formats that you can choose from for your professional resume. The resume format provides a layout for your resume that can help you ensure that your profile is presented in a way that is efficient and makes the desired impact on the hiring manager.

Resume formats are designed in a manner so that the right sections of your resume are highlighted

📌Type of resume format:

  • Functional resume format: Functional resume format focuses particularly on skills and education. Professionals who do not have any experience or extensive work history prefer this resume format because it allows them to showcase their skills with a description of backing evidence and more information along with their education information that may include in-depth details of relevant coursework and more. This resume format is suitable for freshers and recent graduates who have no experience at all or perhaps very little experience.
  • Reverse chronological resume format: Reverse chronological format is suitable for those who have an extensive work history, who are seasoned professionals, or even professionals who have significant years of professional work experience. This format focuses solely on the work history or professional experience section primarily. This format also allows you to highlight your skills in a brief yet efficient manner.
  • Combination resume format: Combination resume format is also known as hybrid resume format. This resume format focuses both on the skills as well as the experience history and experience aspects. Usually, the skills and experience that are explained in the combination resume format are transferable skills and work experience aspects. This is helpful for professionals who are looking for a career change. If you have had a well-established career and you are thinking of changing the career field or area or even the designation and role where the job responsibilities and required skills may be similar but not the same, you can use the combination resume format.

Template

There are many templates that you can choose from for your professional counselor resume. Templates are useful when you are looking for a layout that is visually appealing so that the hiring managers will have a positive first impression which will lead them to read your counselor's resume more carefully. There are many resume templates that you can explore on the internet, however, the resume template that you choose should be aligned with your industry's standards.

A few particular industries may expect your resume to have an entirely professional-looking template or format. There are few creative industries where you can take the liberty of choosing a slightly less formal and professional resume template. This means that you can choose a resume template that is slightly creative and has more than 1 color (black & white).

For your counselor resume, you should go for a professional resume template that will provide you with visually appealing aspects as well as the appropriate outline to present your professional profile with experience, skills, education, and other important details.

Once you have decided on your template, you should collect all your profile information in one place so it is easier to put it in the template. Using a template may seem like an easy option and it is however you do need to pay attention to a few important aspects of using a resume template for your professional counselor resume.

When you replace the sample information on the template with your profile information, there are chances that the margins will not be symmetrical anymore and there might be some asymmetry and lack of organized look of your resume. You will need to fix those margins.

When you edit the resume template and enter your profile information, chances are that a lot like the margins the white space will also be asymmetrical. You will have to edit the margins, white space, and font size to ensure that your resume is visually appealing.

Now let's talk about the various sections on your professional counselor resume.

Resume header

On the top of your professional counselor resume you will have to mention your contact details. You need to make sure that all of the information that you mention is accurate and written in a formal and professional manner.

Below mentioned are the details that you need to include in the resume header, in the contact information section of your professional counselor resume:

  • Your full name: Your first and last name with accurate spelling
  • Your contact number: Your contact number should be mentioned along with the country code as well as the area code. Make sure that the number is accurate and one where you are easily reachable in case the hiring manager attempts to reach out to you to schedule an interview call
  • Your email address: Your email address should be professional and formal, perhaps with your first and last name and maybe one or two digits. Try not to use your personal ID which may be informal and have unnecessary digits or irrelevant incomprehensible words. The ID that you mention should be the one that you check every day regularly
  • Your home address: Even though it is not mandatory, if you choose to mention your home address make sure it is brief and not detailed. In case you are applying for a job in another country or state, you might want to mention your home address
  • Your LinkedIn profile link: You can mention the link to your LinkedIn profile, however, only do so if your profile is carefully curated and updated, you use the platform only in your professional capacity and the content posted is relevant in a professional context
  • Your photograph: You can include your professional headshot if you want however, that is not mandatory case you do include your professional photograph make sure the attire you are wearing is formal
counselor resume

Resume summary statement

The resume summary statement on your professional counselor resume should include 3 to 5 bullet points not more or less than that. The information provided in the resume summary statement should be concise, crisp, and short. the resume summary statement is your opportunity to provide the most impressive and relevant information about your professional work profile or your resume at the beginning of your resume so that the hiring manager will be intrigued and compelled to go through the rest of the resume with careful attention and interest.

The first point on your resume summary statement should talk about your total years of experience and a little bit of your background such as private practice or a position in a government facility or hospital or any other defining field that you have worked in for the majority of your career.

The next points should talk about the most relevant and impressive aspects of your work history and experience such as any complicated cases that you have handled, any recognition or acknowledgment you received or any awards you received, or any particular client that you helped in your own unique or newly invented counseling toolkit or technique.

The resume summary statement should also highlight your skills that are relevant and important for the role of the professional counselor in various settings. At last, you need to mention what kind of opportunity you are looking for as your next role or job and how you will leverage your skills, experience, and knowledge to ensure the success of the organization as well as exceptional performance as an ideal employee.

Counselor Resume

Experience or Work History

The professional experience section or the work history section on your resume will talk about all your professional experience as a counselor or any other relevant position and role. When mentioning your work history you need to mention the details such as your role or designation the employer name, and the employment period.

Your work experience and the work history should be described in reverse chronological order meaning your latest experience should be mentioned first and then you can walk back to your first experience.

Your work experience details should be thorough including every single job duty that you handled, every task that you managed, anything that you handled apart from your job description in addition to any exceptional performance and unique cases that you came across, every relevant skill and any counseling techniques, toolkits, theories that you used on your regular basis.

You should also mention any recognition, acknowledgments, awards, or rewards that you received in your position. You need to reflect not only on your skills, experience, and knowledge but also on your capabilities to do the job no matter how complex any client, patient, or the person in front of you may be.

You need to reflect on your ability to work with the case manager. You can also include your volunteer work experience, any training you may have received, and your own practice or freelance experiences.

Education section

Your education section should mention your education details whether it is practical or theoretical, meaning you need to mention your high school diploma, your graduate and post-graduate diploma and/or your degrees, and so on.

When mentioning these details, you need to include the full name of your degree, the name of the educational institute name any specializations or majors that you had during your courses. You can also include any practical training or internship experience you acquired during the education period.

Avoid mentioning the years of degree and courses, in case it is recent (less than 3 to 5 years) because that may lead to bias in the hiring manager.

In your education section, you can also mention any online courses or programs that you have completed and any training or seminars that you have been exposed to as part of your educational exposure.

counselor resume

Skills section

The skills section on your professional counselor resume should mention your top most relevant skills and strengths that you want to highlight. Your relevant skills would've been mentioned in previous sections as well such as the experience section, resume summary section, and education section; the reason for this separate section is to ensure that important skills are highlighted in an efficient manner.

You need to choose the skills that are most relevant and important, you need to make sure that you pick the relevant skills from the job description as well because those are the particular skills that the hiring manager will be looking for in your professional counselor resume.

📌List of skills for a counselor resume:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • School counseling
  • Counseling for substance abuse
  • Counseling services
  • Counseling sessions
  • Counseling for academic success/ academic performance
  • Active listening empathy
  • Counseling students
  • Counseling skills
  • Treatment plans
  • Crisis intervention
  • Transferable skills
  • Hard and soft skills
  • Counseling for academic development
  • Support students
  • Career planning
  • Counseling for domestic violence
  • Community services
  • Working with community agencies
  • Implemented treatment plans
  • Intervention planning
  • help students overcome challenges
  • Team meetings
  • Conflict resolution
  • Bullying prevention
  • Helping with behavioral issues
  • Anger management
  • Creating anti-bullying campaign
  • Social skills
  • Skills of co-counselor
  • Helping students with career goals

Extra sections

If you have any more relevant information that you haven't included in the previous sections, you may want to create separate sections for such information. Most of your fellow job applicants will have similar skills and experience that you have and you will need something to stand out and impress the hiring manager.

You can include any more relevant information that can be a good addition to your counselor resume. For example, as a counselor, you will likely come across people who may not speak English but any other language of the region, in that case, you will need to know that language too, for effective and efficient counseling. In an extra section, you can mention your language proficiencies to get brownie points.

Another relevant information you can include is your personal interest. If you have any relevant personal interests such as various therapy types, mental health issues, any mental health-related areas such as ethics, laws, and more relevant subjects, you can mention them on your professional counselor resume.

If you have any exposure to workshops related to counseling services such as workshops conducted in schools or workshops conducted for professionals in organizational settings and or any other such workshops, you can mention them on your counselor resume to showcase your impressive exposure.

Similarly, you may have also been to various seminars, online or in-person, or any relevant events that discussed and focused on the counseling services and related areas of mental health, counseling sessions, school counseling, psychology, and human mental well-being in a social context and more. You can mention such exposure on your counselor resume as well.

Keywords

You may have heard about hiring managers using various Artificial intelligence software to scan, filter and shortlist resumes that they receive through their job applications portal. Hiring managers receive thousands of job applications when they post an open position in a job ad, sorting through all of them can be time-consuming as well as tiring task if it is done in manual mode.

That is why hiring managers use applicant tracking systems or the ATS or AI software to scan, filter, and shortlist the job applications they receive. The ATS operates on the basis of parameters that are set by the recruiter or the employer. These parameters are simply the relevant keywords of your role, industry, job description, potential employers, and relevant areas. All you need to do is to use these keywords throughout your resume in a meaningful and sensible manner.

Make sure that the keywords are used in meaningful sentences and not placed randomly in a way that compromises the readability of the information and the meaning of the sentences. Do not use the keywords in unnecessary amounts because that will make it obvious that you have used the keywords strategically.

📌List of keywords for a counselor resume:

  • National certified counselor ncc
  • Lesson plans
  • Provided crisis intervention
  • Provided guidance
  • Additional training
  • Social skills
  • Co counselor
  • Food banks
  • Active listening empathy
  • Anti-bullying campaign
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Behavioral issues
  • Bullying prevention
  • Behavioral issues
  • Hard skills
  • Professional counselor
  • Conflict resolution
  • Team meeting
  • Overcome challenges
  • Intervention planning
  • Implemented treatment plans
  • Community agencies
  • Key skills
  • Learning disabilities
  • Community services
  • Provided crisis intervention planning
  • Domestic violence
  • Support students
  • Soft skills
  • Academic success
  • Academic development
  • Students struggling
  • Classroom lessons
  • Crisis intervention
  • School counseling
  • School psychologists
  • Treatment plans
  • Counseling skills
  • Academic performance
  • Mental health
  • School counselors
  • Active listening empathy
  • Counseling sessions
  • Counseling services
  • Licensed professional counselor
  • Substance abuse
  • Group counseling sessions
  • National certified counselor
counselor resume

Cover letter

Cover letters are usually not mandatory and you may not be asked to upload or enclose one in every job application. However, a cover letter can go a long way for you and make a big difference by increasing your chances of getting an interview call with a positive and efficient impact on the recruiter.

When you write a cover letter, you may want to look up the recruiters and use their names to address them in the cover letter in order to personalize the cover letter. A cover letter is your opportunity to include more keywords and use a bit of an informal tone.

You can talk about your inspiration for becoming a counselor, your journey so far, and your passion for the field and your job, this will help you reflect your dedication and genuine interest. You can also talk about your skills and experience along with your knowledge to reiterate your competency and capability for the role of counselor and the job as a counselor.

Conclusion

In conclusion, you might think of writing a professional resume as a difficult task but once you learn about the important aspects of writing a professional counselor resume, you will realize it is relatively a simple task. We have laid out every necessary information for writing your counselor resume and you should have no difficulties with the same anymore.

You should also check out counselor resume examples and templates to get better insight. We have extensive resume writing guides, resume examples, and a resume templates collection that you can check out. We also provide the resume builder resource where you can make your resume in the easiest manner possible. Our resume builder resource also provides AI prompts similar to ChatGPT, that you can use for sentence formation and more.

When you are done writing your counselor resume, be sure to proofread the resume before saving the document so that you can remove any errors. Good luck with the job hunt!

Counselor Resume

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which skills should I highlight on my counselor resume?

As a counselor, you will need many soft skills as well as hard skills and you will mention those skills throughout your counselor resume in various sections such as your resume summary statement section, work history, professional experience section, skill section, and education section.

Some of the skills that you should not miss out on are:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • School counseling/ school counselor
  • Counseling for substance abuse
  • Counseling for high school students
  • Treatment plans for mental health issues
  • Crisis intervention
  • Counseling students struggling
  • Conflict resolution
  • Active listening
  • Counseling services/ Counseling sessions

Should I mention my internship on my counselor resume?

Absolutely. Your internship would have taught you many skills and provided you with a lot of experience and practice at the beginning of your career. In case, you do not have extensive work experience or work history, adding internships to your counselor resume can make a big difference for your job prospects.

However, if you have an extensive work history, you can skip including internships on your resume. In yet another scenario where you have a significant work history that is not really extensive, you can mention the internship however keep the description limited to fewer points rather than an in-depth lengthy, and thorough description.

Do I need a cover letter with my counselor resume?

A cover letter can help you make an impact on the hiring managers, that your counselor resume alone may fail to. You can use a bit of informal tone and personalization in your cover letter which you cannot in your professional counselor resume.

This means that a cover letter can help you out where your resume cannot. A personalized cover letter can have a truly positive effect on the hiring manager and your chances of getting an interview call will be much higher.

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