What type of physical therapy jobs are you interested in? If you have a degree in and are interested in a typical rehabilitative physical therapy position such as you would find at a hospital or rehabilitation center, your physical therapy resume and physical therapy job experience is going to look somewhat different than it will if you are interested in working with the geriatric population, for example.
One thing to note is that traditional physical therapy has also begun to use acupressure and acupuncture, as well as other holistic techniques, to help patients rehabilitate after an accident or injury, so this type of experience should go into your resume if you've done this type of training.
What Should Go on Your Physical Therapy Resume?
One of the major things you want to put on your physical therapy resume is your educational background, including your accredited physical therapy program. In addition, if you have taken additional coursework in homeopathic or holistic methods such as acupuncture or acupuncture, this, too, should go into your physical therapy resume.
Some physical therapists specialize in terms of the populations they want to work with, and in this case you may have taken additional coursework or what have even gotten a graduate degree in serving that particular population. For example, those who do physical therapy for exclusively elder populations participate in one area of specialty. In addition, sports injuries, too, are another area that requires specialized physical therapy training.
Especially in hospital or hospital outpatient settings, most physical therapy jobs are likely to be for acutely injured patients. That means that as a physical therapist, you'll be dealing with sports injuries, Workers' Compensation injuries, car accident injuries, and so on. With outpatient therapy in particular, these patients may be quite injured but can still live on their own. Therefore, your task is to return them as much as possible to full functioning as quickly as possible, so that they can get back to living.
In a rehabilitation center, however, a physical therapist job may be different. In this case, you may be teaching patients how to gain the strength so as to live daily life once again. Therefore, you may be teaching patients to build muscle so that they can transfer in and out of chairs or a car, maneuver wheelchairs, get in and out of bed, and so on. In some cases, you may be teaching patients to walk again, too, either on their own or with physical assistance such as crutches or a cane. This is very different from the typical rehabilitative therapy one does after a relatively minor Workers' Compensation injury, for example.
Whatever the type of physical therapy job you want, you must have the education that qualifies you to do so. Most physical therapy jobs require you to have an undergraduate degree in a related field such as one of the physical sciences or exercise sciences. In some cases, you will be allowed to matriculate to a physical therapy program, which is a master's program to start, after three years' completion of the undergraduate program. Therefore, your education is an especially important part of a physical therapy resume.
Your Physical Therapy Resume Format
The first page of your physical therapy resume should contain your contact information at the top of the page. This should include your name, physical address, phone number and/or cell phone number, and e-mail address.
It's helpful to write a job objective on your physical therapy resume so that your prospective employer knows exactly what you're looking for in terms of the job you want. When you search online for physical therapy job, you may find several positions that seem to fit your needs. It's perfectly fine to slightly rewrite your job objective with each individual job submission so that your job objective exactly matches the physical therapy job you are applying for. What's helpful to do in this case is to have a sort of "master resume" with your contact information, relevant educational experience, and relevant job experience;then, simply either have a basic job objective already on your template that you can rewrite to specifications or leave that area blank so that you can rewrite from scratch with every job submission.
This is very, very important. Include your undergraduate work, graduate masters, Ph.D., etc., work, related to physical therapy, and any other accreditations you've received, such as special training in acupuncture, acupressure and so on. It's also advisable in this section to include any specialized training you've received for specific populations, such as the geriatric population. (Of course, your job objective can specify that you want to work with a particular population, too.)
Finally, if your prospective employer wants such information, you can include your grade point averages in your undergraduate and/or postgraduate programs in your resume. However, if it's not asked for, it's generally not necessary to include this information. Those who have been accepted to and graduated from prestigious and accredited physical therapy degree programs will already be understood to have had high grade point averages in school.
Any work experience you've already had in the physical therapy field is also important to include in your physical therapy resume. This includes any internships or volunteering you might have done in preparation for entering a physical therapy program after you received your undergraduate education. In this section, be sure to summarize what success stories you had, settings you worked in, your caseload, what types of treatments you undertook with patients to make them well, and so on.
A final note: you shouldn't be afraid of bragging! Prospective employers are looking for people who connect with patients and who truly work with them to help make patients well. It's a known fact that positive mental status helps patients get better, so if you've had a significant impact on patients improving, that's something that your prospective employer should definitely know about. This will make you stand out from the crowd.
This goes directly under "work experience," and is just a brief summarization of the skills you can bring to the table if you get this physical therapy job. This should be in "list" or "bullet" format, so that the employer can see at a glance what your skills are.
To save space, it's generally a good idea to put the phrase, "Available upon request," or something similar in your references space so that you can use the rest of your resume space for work experience and other relevant information. However, when asked, you should submit references; in addition, those references should be related to your educational and work histories, such as from previous physical therapy employers.
A physical therapy resume is an opportunity to let your skills shine (on paper) so that an employer will sit up and take notice of them, and will give you that all-important interview. Don't be afraid of bragging a little, as long as you're being truthful. Your prospective employer needs to know the skills and talents you bring to the table, so that they know you are the best candidate for the job.