2 Counselor Resume Examples & Writing Guide

Craft a counselor resume that gets more interviews, with 2 downloadable examples and expert writing tips. Learn what to include and how to structure your resume to stand out to employers. This step-by-step guide covers summary statements, work history, skills, and more. Emulate these proven examples to create a top-notch counselor resume and open more professional doors.

Having a strong resume is important when applying for counselor positions. It's the first thing employers see and it needs to highlight your skills, experience and qualifications in a clear, impactful way.

But creating a resume that stands out isn't always easy, especially if writing isn't your strong suit or you're not sure what to include. That's where resume examples and guidance from career experts can really help.

In this article, we'll break down what makes a great counselor resume and share two examples you can use as inspiration. We'll also provide step-by-step instructions for writing each key resume section: the summary, skills, work history and education.

By the end, you'll know exactly how to craft a resume that impresses hiring managers and increases your chances of landing interviews. Let's dive in and learn how to make your counselor resume shine.

Common Responsibilities Listed on Counselor Resumes

  • Providing individual and group counseling sessions
  • Assessing clients' needs and developing treatment plans
  • Maintaining accurate and confidential client records
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals and social services
  • Offering crisis intervention and emotional support
  • Conducting intake interviews and evaluations
  • Facilitating support groups and educational workshops
  • Advocating for clients' rights and access to resources
  • Adhering to ethical and legal guidelines in counseling practice
  • Developing and implementing counseling programs and interventions
  • Providing referrals to appropriate community resources
  • Engaging in continuing education and professional development
  • Participating in case management and treatment team meetings
  • Maintaining a safe and supportive counseling environment

How to write a Resume Summary

The importance of a summary or objective section in a resume cannot be overstated. This section is the foundation upon which all other information in your resume rests. Just as a guard post is pivotal in setting the significance of a fortress, the summary/objective section does the same for your resume. It's a strategic element that streamlines your prospective employer's understanding of your professional background and goals. So, how can a Counselor ensure their summary or objective is thoroughly effective?

Relevant Experience and Skills

The first step is to capture your experience and essential skills succinctly. Make a list of the positions you've held, the types of counseling you've done, and consider the skills you've developed over time. The key here is to draw a clear line between what you've done so far and what you'd like to do in the future position.

Convey your Aspiration

Your future ambitions are integral to your summary or objective. It's not just about where you've been but also about where you're going. Your goal should match the potential employer's needs. A well-etched aspiration can serve as a roadmap not just for you but also for the recruiter to visualize your fitment for the role.

Precise and Concise

In writing your summary or objective, strive for clarity and conciseness. You have a limited space to communicate your professional essence. So, use it wisely. Avoid unnecessary jargon and keep the language simple and readable. A straightforward, easy-to-understand description often makes a stronger impact than complicated language.

Tailored to the Job Description

Remember to keep your summary or objective relevant to the job you're applying for. This doesn't mean you need an entirely different resume for each application, but tweaking your summary or objective to match each job description shows that you understand what the role requires and are well-equipped for it.


Lastly but importantly, let your summary/objective reflect the real you. While it's important to align with your potential job's needs, it's also essential to let your true persona shine. Authenticity resonates with people, and employers can distinguish between the real deal and a facsimile. So, be straightforward about who you are and what you bring to the role.

Following these guidelines can greatly improve the summary or objective section of your resume. Making it sharp, focused, and relevant will help you catch the attention of recruiters and land those job interviews. Remember, a well-written summary or objective section works as a strong pitch to your potential employer, paving the way for presenting the more detailed accomplishments and experiences in your resume.

Strong Summaries

  • Experienced Certified School Counselor with a demonstrated history of working with children, adolescents and adults. Skilled in individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, and program development. Known for my empathetic nature, superb communication skills, and ability to develop and maintain strong relationships with students, colleagues, and parents.
  • Solution-oriented Therapist with 10+ years of hands-on experience providing supportive counseling, crisis management and innovative problem-solving techniques. Outstanding abilities in managing diverse mental health issues and known for formulating effective personalized care plans.
  • Dedicated and motivated professional possessing a strong desire to help others and a proven track-record in behavioral health counseling. Utilize effective approaches in dealing with patients' individual issues, fostering their positive mental health and personal growth.
  • Compassionate Mental Health Counselor with 7+ years of experience providing preliminary and intensive counseling services. Excellent capacity for empathy and rapport building with a profound commitment to championing patients towards a healthier and enriched life.

Why these are strong?

These examples are good because they succinctly capture the key strengths of the individual, along with their experience and their unique approach or skill-set. A good professional summary should provide a glimpse of the candidate's career trajectory, highlight their key competencies, and demonstrate how these can contribute to the prospective employer. Where these examples shine is that they not only list areas of expertise (like group counseling, behavioral health counseling), but they also mention soft skills (like communication, empathy), and most importantly, they give a brief insight into the candidates’ approach and values towards their work, thus providing the employer with a holistic and clear view of the candidate. This practice makes the candidate stand out from others and helps recruiters make informed decisions.

Weak Summaries

  • Passionate counselor with years of experience.
  • I have worked in many counseling environments.
  • Reliable counselor seeking a new role.
  • Exceptional counselor with a proven track record.

Why these are weak?

The examples provided do not offer sufficient detail about the candidate's experience and skills. Good professional summaries should provide quantifiable achievements, specific skills, and clear career objectives. For instance, the candidate could mention their number of years of experience, the types of counseling environments they've worked in, or the specific populations they've catered to. The examples lack specificity and are rather generic, thus failing to differentiate the candidate from others. Also, using descriptions like 'reliable' or 'passionate' without providing evidence to back such statements could be seen as insincere or deceptive. Always try to support all claims with tangible examples or detailed explanations to make a convincing argument for your suitability for a role.

Showcase your Work Experience

Understanding the Importance of the Work Experience Section

The Work Experience section of the resume is perhaps one of the most integral parts of this all important document. It is essentially a detailed account of your professional journey, capturing the true essence of your career progression, and serving as a direct testament to your competency, skill set and potential.

For a role as specialized and interpersonal as that of a Counselor, the Work Experience section holds even greater weightage. Here lies your opportunity to bring forth meaningful and impactful experiences that clearly demonstrate empathy and effective communication, problem solving skills, emotional intelligence and the ability to guide and support individuals through challenging times.

The value of this section speaks volumes about an individual's professional life. It answers questions that the hiring manager might have about the candidate's achievements, professional growth, and their ability to handle the responsibilities of the role they apply to. It even hints at the aspirant's professional ethos and work style, which can impact team dynamics and company culture.

In essence, this section of your resume holds the power to open doors to opportunities, making it essential to perfect your narrative when summarizing past work experiences.

Optimizing Your Work Experience Section as a Counselor

Let's understand how to articulate your professional journey as a Counselor in the Work Experience section of your resume:

Position and Organization

Begin by plainly stating your employment history: job titles, the organizations where you've worked, and the time span of your tenure.

Expert Tip

Quantify your achievements and impact using concrete numbers, metrics, and percentages to demonstrate the value you brought to your previous roles.

Describing Roles

Instead of listing down the job description, focus on your responsibilities and achievements in each role. The aim here is to showcase how you added value to the organization and its members which makes for a very persuasive testimony.

Emphasize on Skills

As Counselors, it's key that certain skills must shine through. Stress on achievements or responsibilities that project these skills- empathy, excellent communication and listening skills, problem-solving and emotional intelligence. This helps your prospective employer grasp your aptitude for the job.

Numbers and Specifics

When speaking of achievements, try and quantify wherever possible, without overdoing it. This isn't about making big claims of numbers and percentages but about underlining the fact that you understand evaluation, are oriented towards setting and achieving targets.

Remember that brevity is key in writing the Work Experience section. While you are trying to encapsulate years of hard work, growth and accomplishments in this part of your resume, it is crucial that the information stays relevant, succinct and easy-to-read. The goal of sharing this information is not to sell anything, but rather to open a window into who you are as a professional and what you'll bring to an organization. As an aspiring Counselor, it should show your ability to positively impact people's lives and navigate complex emotional landscapes with tact and sensitivity.

Final Thoughts

There's no one formulaic approach when it comes to the Work Experience section. Each journey comes with its unique experiences and each hiring manager looks with a distinct lens. Within this web of individual requirements, there's the innate power of a well-developed Work Experience narrative - one that's wrapped around you and this unique role of a Counselor, holding untold potential for you to explore.

As you invest your time and energy to reflect, articulate and frame this section, remember that you're drawing a picture of your professional self. Let it be sincere, let it be meaningful and most importantly, let it be true to you.


Strong Experiences

  • Provided individual and group counseling for clients suffering from a range of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
  • Lead weekly group therapy sessions, focusing on stress management, anger management, and coping mechanisms.
  • Improved patient care by implementing a personalized treatment approach based on each client's specific needs and diagnosis.
  • Developed and implemented effective treatment plans, resulting in 30% of clients achieving their treatment goals.
  • Served as a liaison with family members, doctors, and insurance companies to ensure continuity of care for clients.
  • Organized and facilitated support groups focused on topics such as grief, substance abuse recovery, and managing life transitions.
  • Participated in continuous education and training sessions to stay updated with the latest therapeutic models and techniques.

Why these are strong?

These examples are good because they clearly demonstrate the responsibilities and achievements typical for a Counselor role. They showcase a variety of skills, such as mental illness expertise, therapy session facilitation, individualized care, patient advocacy, and continuous learning. Each bullet point is action-oriented, beginning with a strong verb. They also quantify accomplishments, which helps provide concrete proof of competency and effectiveness in the role.

Weak Experiences

  • Just showing up and being there for the client.
  • Talked to people and helped with their problems.
  • Simply listened and provided advice when needed.
  • Gave therapy sessions but not much else.
  • Always on call to assist.

Why these are weak?

The above examples demonstrate what can go wrong when writing bullet points in the work experience section for a Counselor resume. They are bad practices because they are overly vague and provide no clear indication of the candidate's skills or accomplishments. For instance, 'Just showing up and being there for the client' fails to convey the applicant's specific therapeutic techniques or influence within the counseling setting. In addition, 'Talked to people and helped with their problems' is a generic statement that could apply to many professions, not just counseling. This lack of specificity fails to highlight the candidate’s unique qualifications and experiences. 'Simply listened and provided advice when needed' and 'Always on call to assist' are problematic as they understate important counseling skills, reducing them to mundane tasks. The last example, 'Gave therapy sessions but not much else' implies a lack of initiative or additional value beyond basic duties. It is always important to present responsibilities in a way that shows the scope, impact, and complexity of the role. Properly detailing accomplishments and showing evidence of success or initiative should be the objective of every bullet point in a resume.

Skills, Keywords & ATS Tips

Understanding what to include in your skills section as a counselor on your resume can significantly increase your chances of catching an employer's eye. If you've wondered about the roles of soft & hard skills, or how ATS and relevant keywords connect to your skill set, then this information is for you.

Hard and Soft Skills: The Bulwark of Your Resume

Hard skills are technical abilities that you've acquired via training or through experience. For counselors, these can include abilities like case management, psychological assessment, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Your hard skills are directly related to your professional experiences.

On the other hand, soft skills refer to your interpersonal capabilities like empathy, patience, and communication. In counseling, they are considered of equal if not more importance than hard skills. Soft skills make the foundation of any effective counselor and demonstrate your ability to connect with clients and facilitate change.

Role of Keywords: Fusing Relevant Skills With Your Resume

Your resume, especially the skills section, must contain certain keywords to align with the position you're aiming for. Keywords are industry-specific terms, responsibilities, or skills. They can be hard or soft skills, tools, or techniques. Looking at the job description of the position you are interested in, you'll spot these keywords. To make your resume appealing, these keywords should appear in your skills section. They help present a sync between your skill set and what's needed for the job.

ATS: The Invisible Gatekeeper

ATS, or Applicant Tracking Systems, are used by recruiters to filter through a large number of resumes. These systems identify keywords relevant to the job and rank resumes based on their frequency and placement. Having the right keywords increases your chances of being noticed by these systems, whereas lacking them could lead to your resume being overlooked.

Linking ATS, Keywords, and Matching Skills

Consider ATS, keywords, and matching skills as gears in a machine. If one gear fails, the whole system can come to a stop. Keywords link your skills to the job. ATS use these keywords to rank resumes. By aligning your hard and soft skills with relevant keywords from the job description, you refine your resume to get past the ATS and land in front of the recruiter.

So, the skills section plays a pivotal role in showcasing your competence as a counselor. Both your hard and soft skills underline your talent, and when overlapped with relevant keywords, they help you leap over the ATS hurdle. All of this put together can amplify your chance of securing an interview call.

Top Hard & Soft Skills for Full Stack Developers

Hard Skills

  • Counseling Techniques
  • Assessment Skills
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Psychological Testing
  • Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Solution-Focused Therapy
  • Mental Health Diagnosis
  • Behavioral Interventions
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Case Management
  • Ethical Decision Making
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Soft Skills

  • Empathy
  • Active Listening
  • Communication Skills
  • Patience
  • Cultural Competence
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Nonjudgmental Attitude
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Compassion
  • Adaptability
  • Stress Management
  • Boundaries Setting
  • Empowerment
  • Self-awareness
  • Resilience
  • Top Action Verbs

    Use action verbs to highlight achievements and responsibilities on your resume.

  • Assessed
  • Listened
  • Supported
  • Guided
  • Empowered
  • Encouraged
  • Validated
  • Collaborated
  • Facilitated
  • Advocated
  • Educated
  • Empathized
  • Analyzed
  • Developed
  • Implemented
  • Evaluated
  • Referred
  • Documented
  • Established
  • Resolved
  • Promoted
  • Engaged
  • Assisted
  • Counseled
  • Empathized
  • Inspired
  • Motivated
  • Supported
  • Negotiated
  • Mediated
  • Reinforced
  • Validated
  • Challenged
  • Empowered
  • Collaborated
  • Advocated
  • Education & Certifications

    Adding educational accomplishments to your resume is an effective way to highlight your qualifications as a counselor. Start by including a dedicated "Education" section in your resume where you list your degrees in reverse-chronological order. Similarly, create a "Certifications" section to list any professional credentials you have acquired. Be sure to include the name of the institutions, the dates of completion, and any relevant coursework. This straightforward approach will help showcase your academic and professional achievements, validating your suitability for counseling roles.

    Some of the most important certifications for Counselors

    The NCC certification is a widely recognized credential for professional counselors.

    LPC certification allows counselors to practice independently in a specific state.

    CCMHC certification demonstrates expertise in clinical mental health counseling.

    CRC certification focuses on helping individuals with disabilities achieve their personal and career goals.

    CSC certification is designed for counselors working in educational settings.

    Resume FAQs for Counselors


    What is the ideal length for a counselor resume?


    The ideal length for a counselor resume is typically one page. However, if you have extensive experience or additional relevant qualifications, it can be extended to two pages.


    What is the best resume format for a counselor?


    The reverse-chronological format is generally recommended for counselor resumes. This format highlights your work experience by listing your most recent job first, followed by previous positions in reverse chronological order.


    How should I organize the sections on my counselor resume?


    A typical counselor resume should include sections for contact information, a professional summary or objective, work experience, education, certifications or licenses, and relevant skills. You may also include additional sections like volunteer work, publications, or professional affiliations if applicable.


    Should I include references on my counselor resume?


    It is not necessary to include references on your resume. Instead, you can simply state 'References available upon request' at the bottom of your resume. Be prepared to provide a list of professional references when requested during the interview process.

    Counselor Resume Example

    A Counselor provides guidance and support to individuals facing challenges. Key skills: empathy, active listening, and problem-solving. For a Counselor resume, highlight counseling education/certifications and experience providing counseling services. Emphasize your approach to building client trust. Use specific examples demonstrating expertise.

    Bobbie Martinez
    (518) 725-4362

    Compassionate and dedicated counselor with a strong background in providing emotional support, guidance, and resources to diverse populations. Skilled in creating a safe and non-judgmental environment that fosters personal growth and empowers individuals to overcome challenges. Adept at developing personalized treatment plans and collaborating with multidisciplinary teams to ensure comprehensive care.

    Work Experience
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    01/2019 - Present
    Serenity Counseling Center
    • Conduct individual and group therapy sessions for clients struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship issues
    • Develop and implement evidence-based treatment plans tailored to each client's unique needs and goals
    • Collaborate with psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive and coordinated care
    • Facilitate workshops and support groups on topics such as stress management, self-esteem, and emotional regulation
    • Maintain accurate and confidential client records in compliance with ethical and legal guidelines
    School Counselor
    08/2016 - 12/2018
    Oakwood Elementary School
    • Provided individual and group counseling to students in grades K-5 to address academic, social, and emotional concerns
    • Collaborated with teachers, administrators, and parents to develop and implement intervention strategies for at-risk students
    • Conducted classroom lessons on topics such as bullying prevention, conflict resolution, and social-emotional learning
    • Coordinated and facilitated the school's peer mediation program, training students to resolve conflicts peacefully
    • Assisted in the development and implementation of the school's crisis response plan
    Substance Abuse Counselor
    06/2014 - 07/2016
    New Horizons Recovery Center
    • Provided individual and group counseling to clients struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders
    • Developed and implemented personalized treatment plans incorporating evidence-based practices such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing
    • Facilitated psychoeducational groups on topics such as relapse prevention, coping skills, and life skills development
    • Collaborated with a multidisciplinary team to ensure comprehensive and coordinated care for clients
    • Maintained accurate and confidential client records in compliance with ethical and legal guidelines
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Treatment planning
  • Crisis intervention
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • School counseling
  • Psychoeducation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Case management
  • Cultural competence
  • Active listening
  • Empathy
  • Record-keeping
  • Education
    Master of Science in Counseling Psychology
    08/2012 - 05/2014
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
    Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
    08/2008 - 05/2012
    University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
    Mental Health Counselor Resume Example

    Mental Health Counselors help individuals facing mental illnesses, addiction, and life stressors through counseling and psychotherapy. They assess client needs, create treatment plans, facilitate group and individual therapy sessions, and apply therapeutic techniques. For a strong resume, clearly state your degree, license, and certifications relevant to mental health counseling. Detail experience providing specific counseling methods like CBT, trauma-informed care, or substance abuse treatment. Highlight skills in areas like crisis intervention, active listening, and multicultural competence.

    Raymond Stanley
    (990) 552-4850
    Mental Health Counselor

    Compassionate and highly skilled Mental Health Counselor with a proven track record of providing exceptional support to clients facing a wide range of mental health challenges. Adept at creating personalized treatment plans and fostering a safe, non-judgmental environment that promotes healing and personal growth.

    Work Experience
    Licensed Mental Health Counselor
    01/2019 - Present
    Serenity Counseling Center
    • Conducted individual and group therapy sessions for clients with diverse mental health needs, including anxiety, depression, and trauma
    • Developed and implemented evidence-based treatment plans, resulting in measurable improvements in client well-being
    • Collaborated with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive care for clients
    • Facilitated workshops and support groups on topics such as stress management, mindfulness, and emotional regulation
    • Maintained accurate and up-to-date client records, ensuring compliance with legal and ethical guidelines
    School-Based Mental Health Counselor
    08/2017 - 12/2018
    Cambridge Public Schools
    • Provided individual and group counseling services to students in grades K-12, addressing a range of mental health concerns
    • Collaborated with teachers, parents, and school administrators to create supportive learning environments for students
    • Developed and delivered mental health education programs for students, staff, and parents
    • Conducted risk assessments and crisis interventions as needed, ensuring the safety and well-being of students
    • Participated in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and contributed to the development of behavioral intervention plans
    Intern Mental Health Counselor
    05/2016 - 05/2017
    Community Wellness Center
    • Provided individual counseling services to a diverse client population under the supervision of licensed mental health professionals
    • Co-facilitated group therapy sessions focused on substance abuse recovery, anger management, and interpersonal skills development
    • Conducted intake assessments and developed individualized treatment plans in collaboration with clients
    • Participated in case conferences and clinical supervision to enhance skills and ensure high-quality care
    • Assisted in the development and implementation of community outreach programs to promote mental health awareness and reduce stigma
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Evidence-based treatments (CBT, DBT, ACT)
  • Crisis intervention
  • Treatment planning
  • Case management
  • Clinical documentation
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Family systems therapy
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Psychoeducation
  • Mindfulness-based interventions
  • Group facilitation
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Education
    Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling
    09/2014 - 05/2016
    Boston University, Boston, MA
    Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
    09/2010 - 05/2014
    University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA