Well, it's about that time of year. Graduation. In Wisconsin, there are six physical therapy programs that graduate a new group of students each year. Literally hundreds of new graduates are now looking for jobs, along with experienced physical therapists also looking for career opportunities. Having a professional resume is the best way to stand out from the other applicants, and I've made a small list for those new graduates who are now polishing their resumes. (For the record, I by no means consider myself an expert. These are just some tips I've found useful over the past few years).
1. Use regular font size and regular margins
● Anything bigger than 12-point font is difficult to read.
● Make sure the margins and spaces between paragraphs are equal.
● Your contact information should be at the top of the page and very easy for a potential employer to find your email address or phone number.
2. Start each bullet point with an action word
● Words like "organized," "completed" and "collaborated" can highlight your strengths.
● Similarly, edit out any information that does not emphasize your skills as a physical therapist (phrases like "filed paperwork," for example).
● Focus on experiences that include teamwork, decision making and any other personal strengths.
3. Be concise and clear, short and simple
● For new graduates, most applications should not exceed one page.
● Edit out unnecessary verbiage.
4. Review it
● Spell check and grammar check your resume.
● Double check that your resume "flows" well - with education information separated from clinical experience, as well as other awards.
5. Get on the Web
● Your resume should be found on LinkedIn and other local job sites.
● Great way for recruiters to find your information.
● Easy to have clinical instructors or professors write recommendations.
Furthermore, prepare yourself beyond your resume. Make sure your voicemail has a professional message in case you miss a call back following an interview. Follow up after the interview and keep in touch with potential employers.
Choosing your very first physical therapy job is difficult. Narrowing down which setting, size of facility, proximity to home and types of patients can all be very overwhelming. But, presenting yourself professionally and standing out from other job-seekers is the first step to receiving offers.