How to write a psychology CV: a step-by-step guide
A well-constructed CV is essential to be hired in all industries. It shows the areas of expertise and your relevant skills so that a potential client or employer can decide if you would be the right choice for the job. Introducing skills, volunteering and certifications can differentiate you from others. In this article, we explain what a psychology CV is, learn the key elements to include and review a standard CV example that you can use.
How to write a psychology CV
If you are looking to write your psychology CV from scratch or you are looking for a new job and want to improve your current CV, here are a few tips to follow:
1. Include your details
It is essential to include your personal information in your CV so that a prospective employer may contact you to arrange an interview. Make sure you include the area you live in, your phone number and your business e-mail address. If you have a professional website that lists information about your experience, your activities in this domain and an online portfolio of clients, you can include this too.
2. Write a brief summary or professional statement at the top
Begin your CV with a professional summary, so that a potential employer can read a short and accurate description of your strongest skills and qualities. Keep this to a maximum of two or three sentences. This could include an update on your professional objectives and skill set that makes you a suitable candidate for the position.
3. Highlight your skills
Your CV is a chance to showcase your valuable skills as a psychologist. These can include practical skills, such as your ability to work well within a team. You can also list any relevant soft skills you feel may apply to the role, such as empathy, ethics, patience and communication. You can also include specific communication skills or detail the ability to use specific therapy tools and styles, such as client management software or cognitive behaviour therapy.
4. List any relevant experience
Highlight any work experience that may be of relevance to the position. It may also include any similar job experience in other industries besides psychology. Include two or three of your most relevant jobs that demonstrate specific skills and qualifications.
Include the following with each previous work experience listing:
the name of the company or previous employer
your job title
a brief list of key responsibilities, outlining how you used your psychology training in the role
a list of outcomes or achievements
If you are a student who has just graduated, you can enumerate any relevant courses or work experience that you undertook while you were studying.
5. Include your education
It is essential to detail your education and training to demonstrate that you are qualified to practice the profession of a psychologist. This may include your degrees, where you attended them and what programme you attended.
Include the following with each education listing:
all completed degrees
the university or college where you completed your degree
your start date and the date you graduated (this can a future date if you're creating a CV as a psychology student)
How does a psychology CV differ from a standard CV?
A CV for psychology jobs is not very different from a CV in any other industry. The major difference is outlining your applicable skills in psychology. These may include certifications and licenses, volunteer work, awards and accomplishments. A CV for psychology jobs also lists your education details, clinical experience and any relevant certifications that you have gained throughout your career. Like other industries, it details your work experience, such as internships, educational coursework and any relevant fieldwork.
Types of CVs
There are three types of styles you can use to create your CV. These include:
Reverse chronological CV
A reverse chronological CV is a format most often used by psychologists. It's easy for recruiters, potential employers and software programs to scan your CV. This CV format usually starts with a professional summary that summarises your relevant skills, qualifications and goals. A list of your most recent jobs and work experience follows this.
While a reverse-chronological CV focuses on work history, a functional CV highlights the skills and experience you have as a psychologist. This includes any specific clinical and therapeutic skills. A functional CV is great if you were a psychologist at the beginning of your career or if you happen to have any gaps in your employment history. A functional CV showcases your applicable skills first and how they can add value to the position.
A combination CV lists the skills and qualifications first, followed by a work history listed in chronological order. Similar to the functional CV format, a combination CV does not highlight your work history. Instead, it allows you to showcase your key skills and experience that are specific and relevant to the role. This style is useful if you have long periods when you have not worked and you cannot account for it on your CV.
12 Kalarney Avenue
Earlsfield, SW18 3AD
An empathetic licensed clinical psychologist with 10 years of experience working in mental health institutions. Conducted work in both private practice and government settings. Volunteer work at the local police station to offer psychotherapy for trauma victims. Extensive knowledge of diagnosis and treatment methods, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Clinical Psychologist: March 2015 - present
Stonewood Medical Centre, Brighton
Managed a private practice of 20 clients per week
Performed client assessments and developed treatment plans
Improved client recovery rate by 12%
Conducted training for newly hired psychologists
Junior Psychologist: August 2010 - March 2015
Arum Mental Health Clinic
Researched the effects of trauma
Interpreted observation results through the application of psychotherapy
Worked alongside other practitioners to improve patient care
Client assessment and analysis
Sensitive and effective communication skills
Trauma therapy experience
Knowledge of child psychology
Experience in both public and private settings
Tips for creating a strong CV
Keep the following tips in mind when you are writing your CV:
Decide on the style of your CV
Most psychologists typically create their CVs in chronological order that lists education and work experience according to what's the most recent. You could also create a functional style CV that highlights the most relevant skills and experience first as opposed to specific past jobs. Alternatively, you can create a combination of both.
Highlight your professional experience
As the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) require psychologists to have studied several degrees to practice, this is often important. For this reason, a psychologist's CV often focuses on past work experience and skills before education, unless you have a specific degree that's relevant, such as a Master's degree in a related field. These are the parts of your CV that make you a favourable candidate.
Use psychology-related language
When writing about your skills and work history, be sure to include industry language. This can help showcase your knowledge and expertise in this domain. You can bring up some difficult cases and how you helped the person work towards improvement. Use action verbs, such as achieved, amplified or pioneered.
Include anything else that's relevant
Not everything in your CV has to be about past roles or experience. If you've had any other training or volunteered in the past in a relevant domain, make sure to list this too. You can include the applicable skills you have gained from this.
Create an online portfolio
Similar to other industries, you can create an online CV. Employers can click on this online portfolio to view more specific information and experiences you have had. This helps keep your CV brief for employers, allowing for them to delve deeper if they want to. This can include any contribution to professional media, such as podcasts and blogs.
Review your CV regularly
Once you have completed your CV for a specific position, ensure that it is always up-to-date. You can save every version of your CV separately so that you have the revisions if required. Be sure to include all newly gained skills, work history, certifications and awards or recognitions that you may have received. This helps you stand out from other candidates applying for the same role.
Please note that none of the organisations mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.
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