5 Ways to Make Your Physical Therapy Resume Stand Out

You only have six seconds to make a good impression on your prospective employer so it's vital your resume highlights these five things.

When you’re searching for the perfect personal therapy (PT) position, it’s not uncommon to fret over every word in your resume as you work hard to give human resources all of the information they need to clearly see that you’re the right person for the job.

However, one survey conducted by the career site Ladders found that the average time a recruiter spends reviewing an applicant’s resume is just six seconds. Yes, seconds.

So, what can you do to make your PT resume stand out and entice the hiring manager to want to know more about you, your education, and experience? Here are five options to consider.

  1. Use the Right Layout

Since the person responsible for hiring is only going to be glancing over your resume (at least initially), you want to use a layout that helps them find the information that matters most as quickly as possible. What information fits this description?

The Ladders survey found that the data points resume reviewers spend the most time reviewing include:

  • Your name
  • Your current title and employer, as well as your start and end dates
  • Your previous title and employer, including start and end dates
  • Your education

Use a resume layout that makes this data stand out, so the hiring manager can locate it easily, reducing the likelihood that your application will be set aside solely because it takes too much time to find what they’re looking for.

  1. Harness the Power of Keywords

According to the Ladders survey, prospective employers also scan resumes for keywords, so you’ll want to include a few of the words and phrases that are likely to stand out in the physical therapy world on your resume too. This is true even if their human resources department uses software for this first phase of the application process as the program will also pick up on the wording that is more likely to get you to the next round.

Keywords to consider using are those that denote any specialties you have, your degrees and certifications, and whether you’re a member of any PT-related professional organizations. Monster also suggests taking any physical therapy acronyms and also spelling them out so the hiring manager’s search—whether visual or via software—identifies both types.

  1. Open with a Compelling Summary (Sometimes)

Your resume summary is essentially a 1-to-3 sentence statement about why you are the right person for the PT practice’s open position. Crafting a compelling summary requires taking a close look at the job post and sharing how your education and experience ties into their required qualifications and experiences.

If you’re struggling with what to include in your summary, Jobscan shares that this section of your resume is basically the written equivalent of your elevator pitch. In other words, if you suddenly found yourself in an elevator with someone who could potentially hire you, how would you share that you’d be the perfect fit for their practice in just a few sentences?

Jobscan also suggests if you are relatively new to the field and have less than 10 years’ experience, you may be better off not having a summary at all. Instead, use the ‘Experience’ section of your resume to highlight your skills.

  1. Highlight Your Skills

There are a few skills that tend to make PTs more successful in their field. That makes these things great additions to your resume, showing your prospective employer that you have what it takes to not only do the job, but to do it well.

A few of the skills that can help you stand out in the physical therapy profession, according to College Foundation, include:

  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Service orientation
  • Ability to persuade
  • Systems analysis and evaluation
  • Time management

Work these into your resume and show the hiring practice that you understand what it takes to become the best PT you can be.

  1. Share Your Licensing and Certification Details

Since all states require that physical therapists be licensed, it’s important to share this information on your resume. Additionally, if the position you’re applying for has more stringent requirements, such as specific certifications, the hiring manager is going to want to know up front if you have them.

One way to share this type of data is to reference them in your summary. If you do, My Perfect Resume recommends that you provide more detail about them either in a dedicated ‘Certifications’ section or, at a minimum, in the ‘Education’ section of your resume. Also, next to the license or certification name, be sure to share the year you obtained it, the location (if relevant), and the certifying board.

Remember: you only have six seconds to make a good impression on your prospective employer. Do these five things and you have a better chance of making this six seconds count…in your favor, that is.

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