Résumé writing is hard! How do you stand out without being over the top? Drafting an effective résumé takes quite a bit of time. To complicate matters, a résumé to a social service agency can look much different than one you submit to a corporation. Below are several reoccurring themes I have encountered when working with applicants/potential applicants.
One Page or Two?
Two is fine! When you think about it, social service agencies want to see that you have volunteer experience, internships, along with additional skills, etc. In order to effectively communicate all of those wonderful experiences, a two page résumés is acceptable. However, if you are just adding additional items (hobbies, non-relevant skills) to stretch that résumé to two pages, then don’t. One concise and meaningful page communicates a more positive message than two pages communicating one page of information.
Do I need an objective?
Isn’t everyone’s objective to get a job, internship, etc.? As an applicant, if you are able to customize an objective to make it meaningful and specific to the position you are applying for, it gives you an opportunity to shine. If not, no need for it.
Licensure exam dates, please!
If you have scheduled/passed your licensure exam, you stand out among your peers. Make sure to note it somewhere on your résumé (I prefer to see it listed right under education so there is no way to miss it). If you are eligible for your CDCA, or have submitted the paperwork and waiting for approval, make sure that information is listed. If your license is active, make sure those letters are right after your name. You spent all that time and hard work earning them, make sure we know you have them!
Volunteer/Intern/Related Work Experience
Related work experience is key! If you want to work for a social service agency, volunteer to gain experience. Visiting sites like United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Volunteer Connection, VolunteerMatch and Idealist will help you identify opportunities. If you are looking for a job versus volunteer work, Talbert House offers entry-level positions. For example, Activity and Security Monitors are our eyes and ears at our residential sites. These positions are great for students because you can put what you are studying into practice. Schedule options are very flexible (first, second, third, part-time, full-time, and on-call). Why not earn experience while earning a little money?
This list isn’t all inclusive but a few simple steps can make your résumé stand out among others.