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Looking for a Job? Top 10 Resume Tips for Occupati

A résumé is so much more than a list of former positions and job duties. Employers today want to see what each applicant has accomplished over the course of their career. Whether the OT’s career has been exclusively in the therapy world or the applicant has worked in a few different career fields, the résumé can be tailored to the specifically targeted job by following these 10 tips:

1.    Proofread:

Although hiring managers only spend a short time scanning each résumé they receive, it's important to make sure the résumé is perfect. A misspelling in the summary section is most likely to be detected in the initial visual scan and cause a person who is more than qualified for the job to be ignored simply because the hiring manager questions their attention to detail.

2.    Include Experience Relevant to the Job:

Occupational therapists work directly with people. Therefore, interpersonal skills are essential. Many jobs in this field also require creativity and the ability to think outside-the-box. Written communication skills are also important. Occupational Therapists who possess these skills are more likely to get the attention of hiring managers, so it's important to highlight them on your résumé.

3.    Optimize for Application Tracking Systems.

Most employers today use software to scan résumés. In order to make the most of a job search, an applicant must prepare their résumés so the application tracking systems are able to find the relevant skills and experience. Keep formatting basic and use relevant keywords to describe education, work experience, and skills, such as “school occupational therapists” and “certified physical therapist”. This helps the résumé get past the first step and into the hands of a recruiter who has the authority to call an applicant in for an interview.

4.    Be Concise: 

Don't waste space on unnecessary information. Instead of starting with an objective, write a summary of skills and qualifications so the Human Resources Representative knows immediately whether they should continue reading. Work experience more than 10 years old should be left off résumé for OT Jobs unless it is imposing compared to your current experience. Employers receive a lot of résumés for each job opening and don't have time to read lengthy documents. Statements such as “References Available by Request”, which are understood, are unnecessary and a waste valuable space.

5.    Review the Job Description Before Writing Your Résumé:

The job description tells a potential employee what their duties will be at the new job as well as which skills the employer thinks are relevant. Job seekers with those skills should be sure to highlight them in their résumés.

6.    Choose the Appropriate Résumé Style:

Recent graduates and applicants who gained most of their skills and experience in another field might be more likely to get notice if they use a functional résumé. This type of résumé focuses on skills instead of employers. When writing a functional résumé, employer names and dates of employment are typically listed at the end. Occupational therapists that have had a linear job progression will be able to impress their potential employer with a chronological résumé. This kind of résumé shows employers the applicant is focused on their career goals and has been making progress toward meeting them.

7.    Duties Are Less Important Than Accomplishments:

All Occupational Therapy Jobs have similar duties. Hiring managers are less interested in what an applicant did at their previous job than they are in how the employee solved problems. Submitting a résumé full of lists of job duties might make the hiring manager think the applicant merely went to work every day and did the minimum amount required of them. On the other hand, painting a picture of how they helped their clients and employer meet their goals is more interesting and also gives the hiring manager a sense of how the applicant could be a benefit to their organization.

8.    Ensure Continuity Between Social Media and Your Résumé:

Many employers check applicant's LinkedIn accounts to get additional information about their work history. Since LinkedIn résumé data can be much more detailed than a traditional resume, it's important to provide as much relevant information as possible. Be sure the dates and details don't conflict with the résumé. Inconsistent background information could cause an employer to eliminate a candidate as a potential employee. Some hiring managers also check Facebook accounts. Smart applicants adjust their privacy settings to ensure their personal photos and status updates are unavailable to companies where they are considering employment.

9.    Don't Forget the Cover Letter:

All résumés should be accompanied by a personalized cover letter. In addition to drawing attention to the highlights in the résumé and adding some pertinent facts that didn't fit in, a cover letter should show the applicant researched the employer to learn about their organization. It should always be addressed to the correct person and not a generic title. Be sure the spelling of the hiring manager's name is correct. A phone call to the company receptionist should help an applicant gather the necessary information so they will appear professional.

10. Pay Attention to Length:

Résumés should be a concise representation of employment history and work accomplishments. Recent graduates without much relevant work experience should limit their résumé to one page. Professionals who have been working in the field for years should limit their résumé to two pages. A cover letter supplements a resume and provides additional information on your qualifications for the job for which you’re applying.

Following these 10 Occupational Therapy tips can help a recent graduate or experience professional market themselves effectively so they'll get called for an interview and, ultimately, land a job that will help them advance their career.

Do you have a great résumé tip that we missed on our list? Add it below in the comments or let us know on social media at

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