Speech-Language Pathologist Resume Guide
Are you a recent graduate with a master’s in speech pathology who is entering the job market? Maybe you have worked as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for years at one company and you are looking for a new position. No matter your starting point, you will need to build a speech-language pathology resume.
There is a projected 27% job growth rate for speech-language pathologists from 2018-2028, which represents an additional 41,900 positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a significant number of new SLP positions over the next decade.
A solid resume can help you move to the top of a candidate list and get your foot in the door. In this guide, you will find tools, tips, advice and a list of resources to help create your SLP resume.
Is a Resume Important for Speech-Language Pathologists?
Yes, a resume is essential whether you are a recent speech pathology school graduate or a current practitioner. Speech-language pathology resumes and cover letters serve as an introduction to an employer. They don’t know your shining personality or dazzling skills. They just have what you submit. What’s more, because the hiring process can be tedious, complex and time-consuming, companies and organizations have increasingly come to rely on artificial intelligence (AI) technology to screen for applicants.
Human resources (HR) departments are increasingly using tools such as human resource management systems (HRIS) to assist in many tasks including the hiring process. Another AI tool used by HR professionals is an applicant tracking system, which scans virtual resumes to identify the best candidates.
How common is the use of this technology among businesses? According to a survey by Criteria Corp, a company that offers pre-employment testing, 55% of employers currently use ATS or HRIS in the hiring process, while another 19% report that while they are not currently using ATS or HRIS, they are considering using it in the future.
The time your resume spends in front of human or artificial eyes is limited. However, there are several steps you can take that will help ensure your speech-language pathology resume meets the criteria set forth in the job description and is selected as a good candidate.
10 Resume Tips for Recent Speech Pathology School Graduates
If you recently graduated with a degree in speech pathology, you may be hesitant to send out your resume for the first time. There’s no need for that concern. Your SLP resume is your first impression and your chance to stand out in the application process. Following a few tips as you craft your speech-language pathology resume may help you get closer to securing an interview.
- Keep your format simple.
- Be concise.
- Arrange sections with your most recent experiences at the top.
- Emphasize academics if your work or extracurricular experience is limited.
- Highlight SLP projects, certifications and training, including your clinical practicum or internship.
- Match your skills to the jobs for which you are applying.
- Keep all sections organized.
- Include honors, awards and activities.
- Remove redundant points.
- Proofread more than once or have someone else look over your resume to ensure it is free of errors.
10 Pieces of Resume Advice for Experienced Speech Pathology Job Seekers
Seeking a new position? If so, it’s time to get your speech-language pathology resume ready. Depending on the length of time you have been at your current position, formalities of a resume may have changed. To help make sure you optimize your resume, here are a few suggestions of advice:
- Use your resume.
- Focus on unique sections of the population you may have worked with or uncommon methods you have learned or applied.
- Include both hard and soft skills.
- Make sure the information you include is up-to-date and relevant.
- Keep your sections in chronological order with your most recent experience at the top.
- Include SLP projects, publications, certifications or training.
- Explain previous positions through the lens of your achievements, not just lists of tasks.
- Edit your resume to only include the most relevant information.
- Include relevant keywords that are in the job description.
- Send a cover letter with your speech-language pathology resume.
It is important that all speech pathology job seekers incorporate keywords and action words to highlight specific tasks and achievements. The purpose of including them will help your resume pass the tracking software or draw the employer to your resume. If you are not sure what constitutes an action verb for your resume here are few:
To use these action verbs, you want to combine them with keywords (common words used in the field of speech pathology) such as:
- Speech pathology
- Graduate student
- Intervention strategies
Always use an action word at the beginning of a sentence when describing your job duties, for example: “Researched speech pathology intervention strategies.”
You can use Boston College and Wake Forest University’s list of action verbs (PDF, 60 KB) to help select the right verbs for your resume..
Parts of an SLP Graduate Student Resume
As a recent SLP graduate, it is likely you will face competition for positions. To help distinguish yourself from other graduates, there are some core parts in a speech-language pathology resume that may allow you to distinguish yourself from the competition.
Include your full name, phone number and email address. You may include your address. Most employers are fine with just a phone number and email.
Use this section (three to five sentences) to highlight skills or any unique SLP experience. In place of the word “Summary” as your headline, consider a title that sums up your credentials. This is an opportunity to stand out and show your passion, commitment or other important feelings about speech therapy.
This is the section where you include relevant experience, especially from internships or volunteer work. Include company name, location and dates of your internship. Then list bullet points that highlight your responsibilities and achievements. Make sure to only highlight your best accomplishments.
This section is fairly straightforward. Include the school(s) you attended, degree(s) earned and any honors. If you have room on your resume, highlight your clinical practice at school. New graduates often include their graduation date on their SLP resume. As you get older, you may want to remove the date to remove the possibility of age discrimination.
For new graduates, you may have work experience that doesn’t directly translate to your SLP degree. If your resume looks empty, consider adding an “additional employment” section for other work you’ve done outside of speech therapy. Be sure to include your hire date, title and length at position. List job responsibilities using bullet points, keywords and action words. Additional work history can display soft skills like organization, critical thinking or good communication.
Speech Therapist Resume Do’s and Don’ts
Along with resume advice comes a few do’s and don’ts. While they may seem a bit much, paying attention to these details may help optimize your resume and get it past a tracking system and into human hands, where it can make an impression.
- Do use action words such as managed, developed and achieved.
- Do optimize for applicant tracking systems by using keywords and action words, but don’t go overboard.
- Do ensure your resume is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
- Do tell the truth about everything you include.
- Do keep it to one page.
- Do use digits instead of spelling out numbers.
- Do start with a template.
- Don’t include confidential information.
- Don’t use more than two fonts.
- Don’t send it as a Word document. PDF is best to preserve formatting.
- Don’t include obvious hard skills like Microsoft Word. Instead, highlight a skill that separates you from the rest.
- Don’t use overused phrases with little evidence like detail oriented or hard worker.
- Don’t use more than two lines per bullet point.
- Don’t forget to check your spelling.
- Don’t include “References Upon Request.”
What to Include in Your Cover Letter vs Resume
While both a speech therapy resume and cover letter are evidence of your skills and qualifications, there are a few distinct differences between the two formats in what to include. Your resume is an overview of your background and work experience, whereas a cover letter is an introduction. Your cover letter should explain why you personally are ideal for this specific job.
A typical resume is a list of sections that include relevant information such as dates of employment, job titles and education. A cover letter is written in a letter format complete with a salutation, body and a closing. It can be tempting to repeat your work history in your cover letter but that is not advised. Cover letters are supplemental documents that give an employer additional information they couldn’t get by just scanning a resume.
As a general rule, your resume should be written in the third person, however, you should write your cover letter in the first person, but avoid the excessive use of “I” statements.
Speech-Language Pathologist Resume Resources
Here are a few online resources to help you start your resume.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA): This SLP organization offers resume tips and strategies, a career portal and a career fair that provides resume reviews.
Microsoft: Free resume and cover letter templates for Microsoft Word.
Advanced Travel Therapy: Overview of an SLP resume, plus a layout example.
The Balance Careers: Speech pathologist resume and cover letter examples and templates.
Live Career: SLP graduate clinician resume examples, template and a resume builder.
The Resume Builder: Resume templates, a resume builder and professional resume writing services.
Job Hero: This site offers a variety of resumes you can create with its resume builder.
Boston College and Wake Forest University’s list of action verbs (PDF, 60 KB).
Last Updated July 2020