How To Write an Occupational Therapist Resume
To write a good occupational therapist (OT) resume, you must show your ability to help people return to everyday life after an illness, injury, or surgery and work well with other health professionals. The tips below will help you capture this core strength in each section of your resume, while the examples can help you brainstorm and present your far-ranging OT skill set.
1. Craft an outstanding profile with a summary of your occupational therapist qualifications
In a brief paragraph at the top of your resume, you can catch hiring managers’ interest by giving the key reasons you excel as an OT. Brainstorm your work strengths, then choose three to five that speak strongest to your target OT job. For instance, maybe you’re a natural collaborator who builds strong relationships with other OTs and health care team members. Or maybe you’re diligent in working with each patient to understand their mobility level or home environment.
Also, consider what sets you apart from other OT applicants, and express that in your profile. For instance, if you have foreign language fluency or extensive experience in the type of health care setting you’re now targeting.
Entry-Level Profile Example
Occupational therapist committed to helping patients regain and develop daily living skills and activities. Recently demonstrated success at a major regional hospital, engaging with diverse patients and collaborating with other OTs and OT assistants. Highly efficient and attentive to detail, drawing on prior work experience in the service industry.
Mid-Career Profile Example
Occupational therapist with nearly seven years of experience in a hospital setting. Committed to helping patients regain independence and navigate a smooth return to daily life following an illness, injury, or major surgery. Build productive relationships with nurses, providers, case managers, physical therapists, and respiratory therapists. Expertly balance various duties and priorities in a fast-paced health care environment.
2. Create a powerful list of your occupational therapist experiences
View your professional experience section as a chance to give examples of your OT background and success. Detailed examples help hiring managers envision you as a valued member of their health care team.
Review your recent work history, brainstorm experiences or achievements you’re proud of, and then choose the most OT-relevant ones to highlight on your resume. Most likely, these will relate to supporting patients’ recovery and helping them make a smooth return to daily life. Given the collaborative nature of your role, you may want to highlight your work with physical therapists, case managers, and patients’ family members and employers. Also, think about how you’ve improved health care facilities and services – maybe you found new ways to support OT assistants, or introduced home-based solutions for people with disabilities.
For any non-OT jobs you’ve held, keep your description short and focused on any transferable skills you gained, such as teamwork or complex problem-solving.
Professional Experience Example
Occupational Therapist, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA | April 2018 to present
- Create personalized OT treatment plans for diverse patients at this major regional hospital facility
- Assist patients with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and food preparation to support recovery and gauge readiness for discharge from hospital
- Coordinate with physical therapist to help determine and recommend next phase of each patient’s recovery, drawing on broad knowledge of available rehab, home health, and other services
- Contribute ideas and strategies to streamline operations, standardize policies, and advance team success
- Co-developed training modules that helped enhance onboarding and performance of newly hired OT assistants
3. List any education and certifications relevant to occupational therapists
Assure hiring managers of your OT credentials by giving basic details on your bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, active certificate from National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc (NBCOT), and state license. If your work experience is limited, you may also want to list college coursework on topics like treatment planning or assistive technology – this helps you capture the full range of knowledge you bring to your target OT role.
Below are templates and examples to help you format these details on your resume. Note: optional template areas appear in [brackets].
- Degree Name — [Major], School Name, City, ST | [Year] | [GPA]
- [Select Coursework]
- Certification Name or Title, [Awarding Organization] | [Year]
4. Make a list of your occupational therapist-related skills and proficiencies
Include a key skills section to show the various ways you can contribute as an OT. This resume section is significant for your field, since OTs draw on many different medical, technical, therapeutic, and communication skills. Below are some of the skills and keywords you might feature.
|Key Skills and Proficiencies
|Client care management
|Coaching and mentoring
|Durable medical equipment (DME)
|Family relations and education
|Home and workplace evaluation
|Hospital discharge planning
|Patient relations and education
|Reporting and documentation
|Team leadership and collaboration
How To Pick the Best Occupational Therapist Resume Template
As with most vocations, OTs should use a resume template that’s clear and straightforward. Opt for a visual layout that lets the hiring manager quickly review your best career details. Select a traditional resume font, and avoid any template with colorful or elaborate design. Also, ensure the template complies with applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by employers to screen resumes.
Occupational Therapist Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples
New York, NY 12345 | (123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | www.linkedin.com/example
Occupational therapist with nearly seven years of experience in a hospital setting. Committed to helping patients regain independence and navigate a smooth return to daily life following recovery from illness, injury, or major surgery. Build productive relationships with nurses, providers, case managers, physical therapists, and respiratory therapists. Expertly balance various duties and priorities in a fast-paced health care environment.
- Cross-functional collaboration
- Home and workplace evaluation
- Hospital discharge planning
- Patient and family relations
- Patient consult and assessment
- Reporting and documentation
- Task prioritization
- Treatment planning
Occupational Therapist, NY-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY | April 2019 to present
- Guide patients through ADLs such as bathing, dressing, and food preparation to support recovery and gauge readiness for discharge from hospital
- Collaborate with physical therapist to help determine and recommend the next phase of each patient’s recovery, drawing on broad knowledge of available rehab, home health, and other services
- Recommend appropriate DME such as wheelchairs, walkers, and leg braces
- Praised by colleagues and managers for outstanding efficiency, collaboration, and dedication to patient outcomes
Occupational Therapist, Tisch Hospital, New York, NY | July 2015 to April 2019
- Assisted patients with ADLs to facilitate recovery and discharge planning
- Consulted with patients to discuss and clarify their goals for regaining mobility and resuming daily work and life activities
- Maintained open communication with nurse staff, offering a detailed update after each patient consult
- Developed and honed strong skills in patient relations and team collaboration
Master of Science (MS) – Occupational Therapy, Columbia University, New York, NY | 2015
Bachelor of Science (BS) – Psychology, University of Syracuse, New York, NY | 2011
Certification & License
Certified, National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) | 2015
Occupational Therapy License, New York | 2015
Frequently Asked Questions: Occupational Therapist Resume Examples and Advice
What are common action verbs for occupational therapist resumes? -
One of the best ways to enhance your resume is by starting each bullet point with a strong action verb. Dynamic verbs help you keep the hiring manager’s attention and show the varied nature of your experience. The following list can help you find a good mix of action verbs for your OT resume:
How do you align your occupational therapist resume with a job posting?-
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that jobs for OTs will increase by about 14% between 2021 and 2031. This growth rate is much faster than the average for all U.S. vocations.
If you already have a specific job posting you’d like to apply for, try tailoring your resume to that opportunity. Revising your profile and key skills sections is a great (and pretty quick) way to do this. Read through your information in these sections closely, and delete any sentences or keywords that don’t seem to overlap with the job posting. Then look at the list of job requirements on the posting, and add any you possess but haven’t included already. For example, say the posting calls for an OT with strong knowledge of DME. If that’s something you can claim, include that term in your list of skills, and you’ll make the document more relevant to the job opening at hand.
What is the best occupational therapist resume format? -
In nearly all cases, you should use a combination (or hybrid) resume because it’s easiest for hiring managers to learn about your pertinent skills and experience – it’s also easiest for you to align with your job goals.
With the combination format, you highlight your most relevant skills and highlights in your professional experience section, and an intro section. (This combination of work history and intro content is where the format gets its name.) Your resume intro should include a profile summary and key skills section, but you may also add a career highlights or awards section. By carefully choosing intro details, you can position yourself for your target job, and give hiring managers a clear, quick view of what you offer.
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To increase your chances of an interview, write and submit a strong cover letter. The key to a good cover letter is tailoring it to each job opening. Read our Occupational Therapist (OT) Cover Letter Guide to learn how. For other related examples, see our Physical Therapist Assistant and Medical Assistant cover letter guides.