What to include in a resume?
Creating a resume ready to send to an employer is not always an easy task. It can take time to write up and format in a way that is clean and concise, while still including the information you need. You never want an employer to look at your resume and feel overwhelmed! The only question is what information should I include? What information do I keep out? How do I make myself stand out from the rest?
The number one thing when prepping your resume is to customize it to the employer or organization you are applying to! You should not be sending out one generic resume to everyone. An employer should be able to look at your resume and see that you are a great fit for them from the start. So, you want to make sure that you read through the job description carefully, as well as look at the organizations’ website to get to know them better! There are four major components to a resume:
You should be including all of your Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees and graduation dates (year alone is fine) or an expected graduation date (month and year) if you are still in school. Make sure to include any concentrations or specialties you received with your degree! For example, an MSW with a concentration in policy or a concentration in child welfare!
Other information that are sometimes included under education are your licenses and certifications. If you have an MSW, LLMSW, CPR Certification; anything that is required or would be relevant to the position. You can also create a separate section specifically for our licenses and certification.
While many of us had a lot of jobs growing up and through college, you never want to just list them all on your resume. Your work experience included should be tailored to the job you are applying for. Take a look at the skills you listed and include jobs where you showcased those skills and are relevant to the field! And remember, INTERNSHIPS COUNT AS WORK EXPERIENCE! Any internship that you might have done over the summer or during your MSW/BSW should be included!
When applying to a job, you want to take a look at the job description and identify the skills that they are looking for in a potential candidate. Any of those skills that match your own should be listed on your resume! And do not just focus on the big, technical skills like ‘treatment plan development’ or ‘research and evaluation’. You also want to include skills like tolerance, patience, and empathy. These are skills that are essential in any position in the field of social work.
Cover Letter & References
While not all jobs will require a cover letter for your application, it is a good idea to write one up and include it with your resume. A cover letter is a one-page document where you explain why you would be a great fit for the position. You would talk about the position specific tasks and experience and how they match with your own. Let them know what you would bring to the organization! This is also a great place to talk about some experiences or skills that you may not have listed on your resume. You should try not to be too repetitive with what is in your resume!
It is really important to do your own research about the organization and talk about how you fit within its mission/values. This is a good thing to do before applying! Make sure you get to know the organization and that you agree with its mission and what they stand for.
When it comes to references, you want to make sure that you have a few people on hand that are willing to vouch for your skills if needed. These should NEVER be someone you have a personal relationship with (i.e. family, friends, spouses, etc.). Preferably, it would be a supervisor from a previous internship or job, or someone you have volunteered for. Please make sure to ask them if they are okay with you including them as a reference! You do not want them receiving a call from an employer and catching them off guard! While most places will ask for references, some may ask for recommendation letters. You can ask anyone of your references for a recommendation; just make sure to be considerate and give them notice if you need one!
There are several other components to writing a resume, but these are definitely the top 4! And it is good practice to share your resume with a previous supervisor or a friend to get some feedback! And if youre still in school, create it now and get feedback from a professor or guidance counsJust make sure to be confident as well as honest! Your resume should be a representation of you and your work.