As a counsellor, you will be up against strong competition in the job market.
To get noticed, you need a carefully framed counsellor CV that will ensure you are asked to interview.
In this guide we look at how to craft a winning CV to help you do that.
- Counsellor CV example
- Structuring and formatting your CV
- Writing your CV profile
- Detailing work experience
- Your education
- Skills required for your Counsellor CV
Counsellor CV example
Before you start writing your own CV, take a look at the example Counsellor CV above to give yourself a basic understanding of the style and format that recruiters and hiring managers prefer to see.
Also, take note of the type of content that is included to impress recruiters, and how the most relevant information is made prominent.
Counsellor CV structure & format
If they can find the information they need quickly, they’ll be happy; but if they struggle, your application could be overlooked.
A simple and logical structure will always create a better reading experience than a complex structure, and with a few simple formatting tricks, you’ll be good to go. Check them out below:
- Length: Two sides of A4 makes for the the perfect CV length, though one page is okay for less experienced applicants. This forces you to make sure that every single sentence adds value to your CV and ensures you avoid waffle.
- Readability: Columns, lists, bullet points, bold text and subtle colour can all help to aid the readability of your CV. Your overarching goal should be to make the content as easy to read and navigate as possible, whilst also aiming to make your key skills and achievements stand out.
- Design: While it’s okay to add your own spin to your CV, avoid overdoing the design. If you go for something elaborate, you might end up frustrating recruiters who, above anything, value simplicity and clarity.
- Avoid photos: If your CV has photos, images or profile pictures, hit the delete button. They’re not needed and won’t add any value to your applications.
Structuring your CV
For easy reading, write your CV to the following CV structure:
- Contact details – Make it easy for recruiters to get in touch with you by listing your contact details at the top of your CV.
- Profile – A short and snappy summary of your experience and skills, showcasing what makes you a good fit for the position.
- Work experience / career history – Note down all your work history, with your current position first, then working backwards.
- Education – A short list of your academic background and professional/vocational qualifications.
- Interest and hobbies – This is an optional section, which you can use to highlight any relevant hobbies or interests.
Now I’ll guide you through exactly what you should include in each CV section.
CV Contact Details
Make it easy for recruiters to get in touch, by heading your CV with your contact details.
There’s no need for excessive details – just list the basics:
- Mobile number
- Email address – Use a professional address with no nicknames.
- Location – Just write your your general location, such as ‘London’ or ‘Cardiff’ – there’s no need to put your full address.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – Make sure they’re looking sleek and up-to-date, though!
Counsellor CV Profile
This is a short introduction paragraph which summarises your skills, knowledge and experience.
It should paint you as the perfect match for the job description and entice recruiters to read through the rest of your CV.
Tips for creating an impactful CV profile:
- Keep it brief: When it comes to CV profile length, less is more, as recruiters are often time-strapped. Aim for around of 3-5 persuasive lines.
- Tailor it: Not tailoring your profile (and the rest of your CV) to the role you’re applying for, is the worst CV mistake you could make. Before setting pen to paper, look over the job ad and make a note of the skills and experience required. Then, incorporate your findings throughout.
- Don’t add an objective: Career goals and objectives are best suited to your cover letter, so don’t waste space with them in your CV profile.
- Avoid cliches: Clichés like “blue-sky thinker with a go-getter attitude” might sound impressive to you, but they don’t actually tell the recruiter much about you. Concentrate on highlighting hard facts and skills, as recruiters are more likely to take these on board.
What to include in your Counsellor CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Recruiters will want to know what type of companies you’ve worked for, industries you have knowledge of, and the type of work you’ve carried out in the past, so give them a summary of this in your profile.
- Relevant skills: Highlight your skills which are most relevant to Counsellor jobs, to ensure that recruiters see your most in-demand skills as soon as they open your CV.
- Essential qualifications: If the jobs you are applying to require candidates to have certain qualifications, then you must add them in your profile to ensure they are seen by hiring managers.
Quick tip: Even the best of writers can overlook typos and spelling mistakes. Whilst writing your CV, use a free writing assistant tool, such as Grammarly, to help you avoid any silly errors.
Core skills section
Underneath your profile, create a core skills section to make your most relevant skills jump off the page at readers.
It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points of your relevant skills.
Before you do this, look over the job description and make a list of any specific skills, specialisms or knowledge required.
Then, make sure to use your findings in your list. This will paint you as the perfect match for the role.
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Work experience/Career history
Recruiters will be itching to know more about your relevant experience by now.
Kick-start this section with your most recent (or current) position, and work your way backwards through your history.
You can include voluntary and freelance work, too – as long as you’re honest about the nature of the work.
Structuring your roles
Lengthy, unbroken chunks of text is a recruiters worst nightmare, but your work experience section can easily end up looking like that if you are not careful.
To avoid this, use my tried-and-tested 3-step structure, as illustrated below:
Begin with a summary of your role, detailing what the purpose of your job was, who you reported to and what size of team you were part of (or led).
“Assist clients (staff, students and parents) to build relevant coping mechanisms for challenging situations, for the largest college in South Yorkshire.”
Next, write up a punchy list of your daily duties and responsibilities, using bullet points.
Wherever you can, point out how you put your hard skills and knowledge to use – especially skills which are applicable to your target role.
- Providing comprehensive assessments of each client’s needs including suitability for counselling and selecting the most appropriate counselling intervention for the individual
- Listening to each client, quickly analysing complex issues and challenges and assisting the client to find solutions
- Following a person-centred approach to develop suitable treatment plans for each client
Finish off by showcasing 1-3 key achievements made within the role.
This could be anything that had a positive effect on your company, clients or customers, such as saving time or money, receiving exemplary feedback or receiving an award.
- Designed a college wide workshop to assist staff, students and parents in managing bullying. two other local schools also requested the workshop, which in total allowed the workshop to benefit over 4000 staff, students and parents.
- Developed a student discipline plan which balanced both flexibility and probability. The plan was deemed a huge success with 98% of the staff reporting they found it very helpful and were able to implement the steps quickly and easily.
In your education section, make any degrees, qualifications or training which are relevant to Counsellor roles a focal point.
As well as mentioning the name of the organisation, qualification titles and dates of study, you should showcase any particularly relevant modules, assignments or projects.
Additionally, if you have room, you can provide a brief overview of your academic background, such as A-Levels and GCSEs.
Interests and hobbies
This section is entirely optional, so you’ll have to use your own judgement to figure out if it’s worth including.
If your hobbies and interests could make you appear more suitable for your dream job, then they are definitely worth adding.
Interests which are related to the industry, or hobbies like sports teams or volunteering, which display valuable transferable skills might be worth including.
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Essential skills for your Counsellor CV
Tailoring your CV to the roles you are applying for is key to success, so make sure to read through the job descriptions and tailor your skills accordingly.
However, commonly desired Counsellor skills include:
Observational skills – Through empathic active listening, attending and a non-judgmental approach, your CV must convey that you have exceptional observational skills.
Therapy skills – A counsellor CV must indicate your skill across a range of therapy frameworks within the context of your own personal resilience.
Ethical and legal – Your CV must showcase your understanding and in-tune application of ethical and legal responsibilities, both to your clients and the wider profession.
Reasoning – You need to display how you apply reasoning skills to different situations and utilise these in conjunction with your research capabilities.
Interpersonal – As a counsellor, your interpersonal skills must be second to none, and this must be clearly evident on your CV.
Writing your Counsellor CV
Once you’ve written your Counsellor CV, you should proofread it several times to ensure that there are no typos or grammatical errors.
With a tailored punchy profile that showcases your relevant experience and skills, paired with well-structured role descriptions, you’ll be able to impress employers and land interviews.
Good luck with your next job application!