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OTs, PTs, and SLPs, Great Resumes get Great Jobs

The job prospects for Allied Health Professionals are among the best for individuals in the U.S. in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2014 to 2024, the number of occupational therapy jobs in the U.S. will grow by a 27%. Employment of physical therapists is predicted to grow 36% between 2012 and 2022, and speech and language pathologists will grow by 21% over the same period . Since the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 7% growth for all professions over this same time period, it is clear that the expanded health care coverage through Obamacare plus rapid growth in rehabilitation services needed for the aging U.S. population has created the demand for OTs, PTs, and SLPs. This means attractive pay, scheduling flexibility, and professional security down the road-all leading to professional gratification.

One might think that the importance of a well-crafted resume is less important now that hiring is so strong. Actually the opposite is the case. The best hospitals, schools, and other facilities have been attentive to the need to prove measurable results from allied health treatments, and client satisfaction is now essential to an organization’s reputation. A resume that stands out can make the all the difference between landing a job that you just tolerate and a job that you’ll love! Richard Poulin has done a very nice job articulating the differences between an ordinary and an exceptional OT resume (Poulin blog). In this blog, I will expand upon his ideas to make them applicable to PTs and SLPs as well. I promise you that working on these ideas yourself and perhaps getting the right kind of coaching will be more than worth your while.

A “typical” resume lists the special treatments you have learned, skills you have acquired, clinical populations that you have treated, and assessment tools that you have used. This kind of resume is fine in terms of conveying key professional facts about you, but it does show how you stand out from your peers. An exceptional resume, on the other hand, is about showing what makes you special—it shows what you have done which go above and beyond professional norms. A great resume tells a story of what special value you will bring to your employer and your patients or clients. This is what Richard Poulin calls resume accomplishments–an accomplishment is something for which you deserve a bonus. Whether you actually got a bonus or not is not relevant. Your most important accomplishments demonstrate highly valuable skills: leadership, initiative, problem-solving, process improvement, etc. as well as your clinical and technical skills. In our company’s experience, few resumes articulate such accomplishments. Before we submit a therapist’s resume, we coach them line by line on how to transform a solid but undistinguished resume into one that packs a punch. By going over professional experiences in detail, we find time and time again that someone has wonderful vignettes that they thought were either not appropriate or relevant to add to a resume. After we work with them, they come to realize that these examples are actually the most interesting and informative for the employer.

Richard Poulin gives solid examples of the kind of accomplishments you need to make a resume special (Poulin blog). It would absolutely serve you well to study his examples carefully, but in our experience at Allied, we have found that coaching (regardless of whether the therapist is a new grad or highly experienced) gets a creative dialogue going that fleshes out more ideas of great things to go into the resume than that person came up with on their own. We offer job candidates for contract placements resume coaching, Even those that don’t take us up on our job offers often find our resume reviews helped them land the perfect job and they let us know their appreciation.

The other half of going from an average to an outstanding job candidate is strong interviewing skills. That will be the topic of a future blog.

Robert Hoyt, Ph.D.
Allied Health Professionals LLC

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