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How to Write the Perfect Occupational Therapy Resume

Now that you have graduated, it is time to write your resume to get your first occupational therapy job.

Occupational therapy school has provided you with all of the clinical skills and acumen to succeed; however, it has not provided you with the tools to obtain that first job, which includes the all important RESUME!

Let’s begin by talking about an occupational therapy resume and its format.

As a newly graduated occupational therapist, your resume should only be a single page. To keep things simple there should be 5 sections:

  • Heading
  • Summary
  • Education
  • Fieldwork Experience
  • Certifications

We’ll break down each part of the resume, and see how it can be constructed.

Heading:

This section is pretty straight forward, and should include your name and title.

  • O. Therpist, OTR/L
  • Contact information directly below your name and a page break

Below the page break, use some keywords that will be picked up by computer systems that sift through resumes for potential applicants. Some of the more common terms utilized can be found within the AOTA’s Practice Framework 3rd Ed, such as: professionalism, safety, patience, organization, communication.

Summary:

Most resumes are submitted through an online portal; therefore, it is important to indicate you are an occupational therapist.

You should utilize specific language to reinforce your dedication to maximizing function and improving quality of life, a core value within the American Occupational Therapy Association’s mission statement.

In addition, you should highlight yourself as an individual who will be dedicated to the clinic, hospital, or school you are applying to.

“Newly graduated Occupational Therapist dedicated to maximizing clients’ functional potential and quality of life, while advancing the clinic’s core missions and values.”

Education:

Your education as an occupational therapy student is the most relevant and recent.

The information that should be included are schools attended and degrees awarded.

Additionally, you can also include any accomplishments you have like a GPA over 3.75, student council, awards won, etc.

STATE UNIVERSITY, Capital City, Washington Aug, 2012 – Sept, 2015

Bachelor’s of Health Science / Master’s of Occupational Therapy

  • Cumulative GPA 3.85
  • Vice President of Student Council

Fieldwork Experience:

This is where your clinical experience as an occupational therapy student comes into play. When listing your clinical placements, you should include the following:

  • name
  • location
  • length of time there
  • and what type of placement it was

Below each fieldwork location, you want to identify 2-3 bullets defining your clinical experience. This can include evaluations used, populations treated, modalities used, etc.

Your level II fieldwork section is where you list facilities, including name, location, and type of facility.

Example:

Local General Hospital, Sandy, OR June 2014 – August 2014

Fieldwork II, Physical Dysfunction

  • Use of the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) to evaluate individuals with neurological, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular conditions in an inpatient rehabilitation setting.
  • Evaluated, designed, and implemented functional interventions to maximize occupational performance of the client.
  • Collaborated with various members of the healthcare team to advance client goals.

The final section(s) should include any certifications that have been achieved including:

  • NBCOT Occupational Therapist registration certificate number
  • State Licensure ID number
  • CPR/AED BLS
  • Misc. certifications

If there is space remaining at the bottom of the page,  you want to fill in any volunteer experience you have completed prior to or during your time as an occupational therapy student.

References:

References are a matter of preference.

Typically, when applying for a position you may have already entered your information into a computer system including personal or professional references.

Other times, the interviewer might ask you during the interview for your references.

In the footer include “ ~References Available Upon Request~  ”…. Typically an application will be filled out in addition to applying for an occupational therapy position which is where your reference will be indicated.

We have a sample resume for you below! 🙂 Enjoy 

Are you an OT that has been practicing for a few years? Here is a resource for your not-so-new OT resume.

About Matthew Alpert, OTR/L

Matthew Alpert, OTR/L
Graduate of Touro College currently practicing as an Occupational therapist at C.J. Allen Upper Extremity & Hand Therapy and educating young minds as Adjunct faculty at Nassau Community College.

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36 comments

  1. Sian Hughes

    Great advice. Can I please have a PDF version?

  2. Rachel Mendoza

    Hello-
    Thank you for your detailed suggestions! How can we obtain a copy of a sample OT resume?

  3. Kimberly Reinhart

    Hello,

    Thank you for all of your great suggestions! I would be very grateful if you could send a PDF version of a sample resume. How do I go about obtaining a copy?

    Thank you

  4. Emily Bradley

    Hi Matthew,

    At what point in my OT career should I no longer include my Fieldwork experience on my resume? Should it only be included on a newly graduated OT’s resume?

    Thank you!

    • Matthew Alpert, OTR/L

      Emily,

      Great question! It depends on how long you’ve been working in the clinic. For 0-2 years of full-time employment as a practitioner fieldwork experience can be included on your resume. The fieldwork experience will fall secondary to your clinical employment history because that is more relevant and most important for a potential employer to look at.

      If you’ve been a clinician for 2-5 years, having level I fieldwork experience might not be the most beneficial. On the other hand, level II fieldwork sure is benefical because you might exposure to certain population (IE: hand therapy, acute inpatient rehab, burn care, neo-natal etc…) might will build up your resume.

      Make sure you check back for other articles on this topic.

  5. Breanne Crisp

    Hi,

    Thanks for the resume help! Can I please have a PDF copy of the resume?

  6. Sarah Paul

    Thanks so much for the article! How can I obtain a copy of the sample resume?

  7. Cindy Johnston

    This is wonderful. I would appreciate a PDF copy of the resume. Thank you!

  8. Great article! Have you finalized the sample resume? Thanks!

  9. Kendle Laycock

    Dominic, would I be able to have a copy of that sample resume? I am compiling resume info to finish my resume soon. Thanks again!

  10. Danny Johns

    Hey Dominic, I just passed the NBCOT and am putting together my resume. A couple of questions. I live in Milwaukee, but am planning on finding a job in the Twin Cities area. What should I list as my address, as I have not yet moved there, or how do I put that in my resume? Was wondering if I could also see a copy of the sample resume, which would help a ton! Thanks.

  11. Jessica Vivona

    Thank you for the info! May I see the PDF version of your resume for reference?

  12. Rebecca Buza

    May I have a copy of the sample resume?

  13. Allison Patin

    This is wonderful! Do you mind sending me a copy of the sample resume please?

  14. Gary Khaimov

    Hey Matthew, may I have a sample PDF resume please.

  15. Hello! Great page! This really helped me a lot. Can I please get a copy of the sample resume? Thank you so much for your help!

  16. can you send me a sample of the resume

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