5 Things Psychology Students Should Include on Their Resumes

By: Jenna Savage

When you’re trying to get a job, in most cases, you’re not going make a first impression by walking into an employer’s office and having a chat. Though there are some exceptions, most of the time, your resume is going to make that first impression for you. These days, most companies prefer job candidates to submit their resumes over the Internet, thereby cutting off the potential for a job candidate to walk into an office, resume in hand. Even if a company decides to allow hard copies of resumes to be delivered to the office, dropping off your resume won’t necessarily give you access to the bosses you are trying to impress. Resumes are therefore very important — they represent you and your skills in paper form, and are responsible for making you stand out among the pool of qualified candidates. That’s why it’s important to have a resume that represents you in a positive light. To help your resume shine, consider adding the five points below.

  1. Lab and Research Experience. If you plan on working in a field directly related to your psychology major, then it’s important for you to gain laboratory and research experience — and to showcase that experience on your resume. Ideal candidates for mental health technician and research technician positions have experience with formal laboratory and research procedures. Including this information on your resume can help you secure a job or even make you stand out as a candidate for graduate school.
  2. Professional Affiliations. Establishing outside connections within your field is a great way to make your resume stand out. There are professional associations that you can join, which offer networking opportunities as well as multiple resources for further study in your field. The American Psychological Association (APA) is an example of a group with which you can become affiliated. Most states have professional associations as well, which you can find by searching or by using the list that the APA provides. Be sure to include the professional associations to which you belong on your resume.
  3. Internship Experience. If you want to make a career out of your major field, then acquiring internship experience is an important step in embarking on your career path. Internships give students a way to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-life, practical situations. Hands-on learning is extremely beneficial, and can help your resume showcase your experiences within the field, which in turn can make you a strong candidate for a position as a mental health technician, a research assistant, or other psychology position.
  4. Relevant Activities and Honor Rolls. Most colleges and universities have major-specific clubs and honor rolls. Participating in these gives you the opportunity to add more valuable experience to your resume. By showing that you not only took psychology classes, but also dedicated some of your free time to participate in club activities or hold office for your school’s honor society, you give the impression that you go above and beyond just trying to get through the school day. Rather, it makes you seem though you have a genuine interest in psychology. In addition, participating in club activities are a good way to gain access to special psychology-related lectures, and to network with both professionals and your fellow psychology students.
  5. A Clear Objective. Objectives are tricky pieces of writing. Some employers like them, and some do not care for them. However, if your write an objective that is concise, but specific, and does a good job of relating your experience to your goals, then it can really make your resume stand out. The most important guideline is to avoid sounding too general. Tailor it for the specific position for which you are applying, and don’t ramble. It should be short and to the point, and should make a link between your goals and what the hiring company wants in an employee.