As an aspiring child life specialist, it is always important that the items on your resume be resume builders not resume destroyers. Here are several land mines to try and avoid as you put together your all-star, first place, resume.
When In Doubt, Leave It Out
Unrelated job or volunteer experiences may make your resume appear fuller, but they aren’t doing anything extra for you in regards to landing the practicum, internship or job. Hospitals want to see what you’ve done relating to well children, children in healthcare settings or stressful situations. While this may make your resume appear shorter/smaller, be sure to include month/years you’ve been doing each of your jobs or volunteer experiences as this shows consistency. Consistency beats unrelated experiences every time.
Babysitting and Nannying
These are two categories that almost every child life specialist has done sometime throughout their high school and college years or summers off. Unless you babysat for 40 hours a week or nannied for one family longer than a couple months, these don’t need to make it on your resume.
Descriptions and Summaries
When you explain your jobs and volunteer experiences on your resume, keep your descriptions and summaries brief.
- Use bullet points and avoid using punctuation if it is not a complete sentence
- Avoid using personal pronouns such as “I” “me” and “my”
- Avoid acronyms – while you may know what it means, many people reviewing your application, especially if it’s an out-of-state hospital, may not know what you’re referring to
- more words on your resume leaves more room for errors – make sure to spell-check but also make sure you spell-check the computer’s spell-check as it often misses words that are spelled correctly but may not be the word you meant to use
Objectives and References
If a hospital does not require a cover letter, then it’s appropriate and beneficial to include an objective at the top of your resume that includes the specific name of the hospital you’re applying to; however, that shouldn’t be the extent of your objective. Use the next few sentences to elaborate on all of the things you can offer the hospital (i.e., fluent in Spanish, willingness to learn). Talk about ways that set you apart.
Don’t include references on your resume. If the hospital asks for references, have a separate page of references to send them or include this in your portfolio to give them following an interview. Where they don’t belong is on your resume. You may include in your cover letter a sentence that says that you can provide references upon request, however it’s not necessary.
Honestly, how appealing your resume looks will come down to how you format it. Use bolds, capital letters, italics, and bullet points. Color is even appropriate when used correctly. I’m not saying you should use hot pink throughout, but a navy blue or olive green will make your resume stand out/pop and can be used for your different categories as your headers such as “Volunteer Experience.” Trust your gut. This is YOUR resume. Make it your own!
I hope these tips were helpful and you feel a little bit more prepared as you begin to edit your resume for the next round of practicum and internship applications. Remember, it’s always smart to have someone look over your application for you. If you’d like to book a session with me, The Child Life Mentor, feel free to click the link below, “resume help,” for more information.