Finding A Job In Youth Mental Heath Services Part 1: How To Write A Resume

Writing a resume is the foundation and first step in acquiring the job of your dreams. It is important to consider everything you’ve achieved leading up to this point, from your education and certification in behavioral health, to your experience working with children, since these can be factors that may impress your potential employer. The best resumes are well organized, and highlight strengths, passions, and related experiences. They also give a glimpse of what you might contribute if hired, and what sets you apart as the best candidate for the position. Here, we’ll talk about how to move your resume to the top of the pile when looking for a job in youth mental health services.

Professional Summary
Start with a strong yet short paragraph that will grab the attention of the hiring manager. The goal is to make a statement with lasting impact, in order to set the tone and emphasize your unique skillset. Target three main points that are pertinent to the youth behavioral health field, and the specific position you are applying for. Include a brief overview of your qualifications, and the steps you took to accomplish your goals.

List any and all degrees, such as an Associate, Bachelors, or Masters degree, and specify your major and minor areas of study. Omit high school, unless instructed in the job application. Be sure to include industry-specific training courses that were earned outside of college.

Skills And Accomplishments
Show off your specific accomplishments — those that qualify you for the position, and those that highlight special skills that may come in handy when working with children. Include any special recognition or achievement, related volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, and personality traits that would make you an ideal candidate.

List your current and past work history in the youth behavioral health field. Since you should limit yourself to one page when crafting a resume, highlight the positions that are most recent and relevant to the job application, rather than every position you’ve ever held. Include bullet points that briefly detail the duties and requirements of each position. Use dynamic verbs like “provide” and “facilitate” to grab the reader’s attention, and show your abilities as a working professional.

Here are some more tips to help your resume stand out from the crowd.

1. Don’t be afraid to include your milestones and accomplishments. This is not the time to be humble— instead, be proud of what you have achieved in your career. Pick and choose the most relevant items that are specific to the job application, and will give you a competitive and personal edge.

2. List important items in reverse chronological order. For each section in your resume, start with the most recent entry first, or the most important and influential.

3. Be Specific. Include the issuing agency or company name, location, and date for each achievement or experience, when appropriate or when listed in the job application.

4. Choose a universal format. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to save your resume in PDF format. This prevents the document from being encrypted, changed, or unreadable to prospective employers, when seen from their computer.

When in doubt, find a sample resume online that is specific for a career in mental health services or working with children, and use that as a template. Having an organized resume that best reflects your personal and professional excellence will help move your resume to the top of the stack, and get you to the next step in the hiring process. Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we discuss how to nail that coveted interview.

Pathways of Pennsylvania has been serving communities in Pennsylvania since 1981. Every individual has a right to lead a meaningful and positive life, and we are changing lives, one day at a time. Pathways of Pennsylvania is comprised of four companies: Children’s Behavioral Health, Inc., Pathways Community Services, LLC, Raystown Developmental Services, Inc., and The ReDCo Group, Inc.