Social Services Counselor Resume Examples & Templates

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert
Last Updated: January 09, 2024
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As a social services counselor, you assess clients’ needs, develop personalized plans and help them navigate and access the necessary resources and services. Providing a safe space to help your client succeed requires upskilling, continuous education and extensive experience. 

Whether you’re seeking to work in substance abuse, grief counseling, child development or another field, a well-written counselor resume can help you reach the next step in your career. Browse our expertly crafted resume examples and actionable tips to craft your winning resume today. 

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Counselor resume example (text version)

Amy Warren

Portland, OR 97238
(555) 555-5555
example@example.com

Professional Summary

Seasoned counselor with a decade of experience in delivering high-quality mental health services. Skilled in conducting individual and group therapy sessions, addressing diverse issues such as anxiety, depression and interpersonal relationships. Demonstrated ability to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams and implement evidence-based interventions.

Work History

November 2021 – Current
Trillium Family Services – Portland, OR
Counseling Supervisor

  • Supervise and mentor a team of 10 junior counselors, contributing to a 30% improvement in team efficiency and performance.
  • Develop and implement specialized counseling programs for at-risk youth, resulting in a 25% reduction in behavioral incidents within the program.
  • Conduct regular training sessions on trauma-informed care, enhancing the team’s ability to work with clients who have experienced trauma.

September 2018 – October 2021
UnitedHealth Group – Portland, OR
Senior Counselor

  • Coordinated and facilitated 12 group therapy sessions monthly, resulting in a 20% increase in client engagement and satisfaction.
  • Conducted bi-weekly individual counseling sessions, achieving an 85% success rate in helping clients achieve their established therapeutic goals.
  • Implemented a crisis intervention protocol, leading to a 100% adherence to safety procedures and successful management of critical situations.

June 2013 – August 2018
Health Allies Counseling – Portland, OR
Counselor

  • Provided individual and family counseling services, maintaining a caseload of 25 clients and achieving a 90% client retention rate.
  • Collaborated with community organizations to expand mental health resources, leading to a 15% increase in accessible services for clients.
  • Implemented a peer support program, resulting in a 20% improvement in clients reporting increased feelings of social support.

Skills

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Program development
  • Assessment and treatment planning
  • Documentation and record-keeping
  • Supervision and mentorship
  • Active listening and empathy
  • Communication and interpersonal skills

Education

  • Portland State University
    Master of Science Counseling
  • Portland State University
    Bachelor of Arts Psychology

Certifications

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) – (Updated 2023)
National Certified Counselor (NCC) – (Updated 2023)

Important resume sections

  1. Contact details

    Your counselor resume needs to include up-to-date contact information so that employers can contact you for an interview. Include your full name, city, state and ZIP code. Also add your phone number and a professional email address. If you have a website or professional networking profile, link it here.

  2. Personal statement

    A resume summary is a three-to-five-sentence introduction at the top of your resume that presents your relevant skills and qualifications to the hiring manager. 

    Here is an example resume summary for a counselor resume:

    “Compassionate social services counselor with over five years of experience providing counseling, advocacy and support to diverse populations. Skilled in assessing client needs, developing individualized plans and connecting clients with necessary resources and services. Experienced in addressing mental health, addiction, domestic violence and poverty-related issues. Dedicated to empowering clients to achieve their goals and improve their quality of life through compassionate and culturally responsive care.”

    Include one or two measurable accomplishments in your resume summary to demonstrate your impact as a counselor in past roles.

  3. Skills

    Listing skills on your resume is essential to show the qualities and experiences you bring to the table. 

    Include a balance of hard skills and soft skills to grab the hiring manager’s attention, ensuring that you include keywords from the job description. 

    Here are a few key skills for a social services counselor resume:

    • Counseling and therapy: Provide counseling and therapeutic services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and trauma-informed care.
    • Case management: Manage a caseload of clients, including assessing needs, developing treatment plans and coordinating services.
    • Crisis intervention: Respond to crisis situations and provide support and intervention to clients in acute distress.
    • Cultural competence: Work with clients from diverse backgrounds and understand the impact of cultural factors on health and well-being.
    • Problem-solving and critical thinking: Assess complex situations and develop effective solutions to address client needs.

    For your first counseling job, you can include transferable skills such as communication, multitasking and problem-solving. 

  4. Work history

    Include a detailed work history section on your social services counselor resume. List your past roles in reverse-chronological order with the company names, locations and dates of employment. 

    For each role, include a bulleted list of three measurable accomplishments, for example:

    • Increased client retention rates by 20% by implementing a new program that provided additional support and resources to clients.
    • Conducted 50+ individual counseling sessions per month, resulting in a 90% satisfaction rate among clients.
    • Developed and facilitated a successful group therapy program that served 15+ clients per session and received positive feedback from participants.
    • Reduced the number of no-show appointments by 30% by implementing reminder calls and text messages to clients.
    • Coordinated and facilitated a community outreach program that reached 100+ individuals and provided mental health and wellness education and resources.

    If this is your first job, you can include other relevant work experience, like volunteer experiences, community services, professional projects and more.

  5. Education

    A resume for a counselor position needs to include an education section detailing your credentials. Start with your highest degree and work your way backward. On each point, include the educational institution’s name, the degree conferred and graduation year. For example:

    EDUCATION

    Master of Social Work (MSW) 

    XYZ University, City, State, Graduation Date

    Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

    DEF College, City, State, Graduation Date

    See how to list education on your resume for additional guidance from career experts. You do not need to include your graduation date if it was 10 years ago or more. If you did not attend college, list your high school and any other post-high school courses you’ve completed. 

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Best practices

  • Use measurable achievements to describe your experience with crisis intervention, case management and referral coordination.
  • Use action words to make an impact on your counselor resume.
  • Tailor your resume to your target counselor job.
  • Use keywords from the job description throughout your counselor resume.
  • Format your counselor resume so that it is easy to read by ATS software and human eyes.
  • Lie about your counselor experience and skills.
  • Boast about your “incomparable” counselor abilities. Instead, provide concrete examples of your ability to build rapport with clients, families and community partners.
  • Include irrelevant personal information such as your ethnicity and age.
  • Add skills and experience that do not pertain to a counselor. Focus instead on your excellent communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills.
  • Forget to proofread. A counselor resume with errors is unprofessional and will be discarded.

Interview tips

  1. Research the company or institution before your interview.

    As you write your resume, research the employer for your job interview. Learn more through their website, recent news and any previous employees you may know. This will help you prepare for the interview and show the employer your interest and commitment. Plus, having a glimpse of the company culture before you arrive will give you an idea of what to expect.

  2. Practice at home.

    Prepare by practicing mock interview questions with the help of a friend or relative. Start by reviewing the most common interview questions, such as: 

    Research online for other possible behavioral interview questions and practice with your interview partner. Once you’re done, ask them for feedback and work with them to improve. Also, prepare for job-specific questions, such as:

    • Describe your experience working with diverse populations, including individuals from different cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
    • How do you approach building rapport with clients, and what strategies do you use to establish a trusting and supportive relationship with them?
    • How do you prioritize and manage your caseload, and what strategies do you use to balance competing demands and deadlines?

    Being prepared will boost your confidence and chances of getting a callback for a second counselor interview.  

  3. Be proactive and ask questions.

    Determining if the company is the right fit for you and your career goals is important. Come up with questions that will get you the answers. For example:

    • How does the agency collaborate with other community organizations or agencies to provide comprehensive services to clients?
    • Can you describe the agency’s approach to crisis intervention and how social services counselors are involved in these situations?
    • How does the agency measure client success or outcomes, and what role do social services counselors play in this process?
    • What is the agency’s commitment to advocacy and social justice, and how are social services counselors encouraged to be involved in these efforts?

    Remember, you can bring a small notebook or piece of paper to remember everything you want to ask. We also recommend practicing the STAR method before your interview, which is an effective framework for answering a variety of common questions. 

  4. Gather your references.

    Round up your references before the interview. Contact former managers and colleagues who can vouch for your work ethic and skills. If this is your first full-time job as a counselor, you can request a reference from a mentor, former professor, community leader, volunteer coordinator or classmate.

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