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Juvenile Counselor Resume Example & Writing Guide

The demand for qualified juvenile counselors to work with at-risk youth is growing nearly three times faster than the occupational average. You need an exceptional juvenile counselor resume to demonstrate you have the ideal blend of specialized expertise and personal qualities. The tips and tools to help you get started are right here in this writing guide and adaptable juvenile counselor resume example.
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Juvenile Counselor Resume Example & Writing Guide
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Patience, empathy, and compassion are hallmarks of your career as a juvenile counselor. Now you just have to show them off in an amazing juvenile counselor resume. Get started on landing your dream job now!

Using this guide to develop a youth counselor resume, backed by an adaptable juvenile counselor resume example, you will learn how to:

  • Take into consideration the job role of juvenile counselors and the market outlook
  • Apply the correct structure and determine the best format for your juvenile counsellor resume
  • Impress recruiters in each resume section: header, summary, employment history, education, and skills
  • Describe your work experience in the most impressive manner
  • Choose a layout that will catch the eye of hiring personnel

A great juvenile counselor resume will help you begin to help at-risk youth and teens sooner, so let’s get started!

What does a juvenile counselor do?

As a juvenile counselor, you may work with troubled youth in a variety of settings including the juvenile system, schools, and various social service organizations. Your goal is to provide them with beneficial supervision and guidance. You may work with troubled youth who have committed crimes or are being identified as troubled or at-risk for contact with the criminal justice system. 

Sometimes, juvenile counselors live in the group home or other facility where they work. If they do live in the facility, they may be responsible for around-the-clock supervision of residents.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment prospects for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 23 percent from 2020 to 2030.

How to write a juvenile counselor resume

Getting started writing your juvenile counselor resume doesn’t have to be the hard part. It should help to know you’ll be using the same framework that all resumes have in common. That allows you to break the writing task into steps. These are the essential elements:

  • Header
  • Profile (sometimes called summary or personal statement)
  • Employment history
  • Education
  • Skills

Before we look at each section on its own, here are a few ground rules.

  1. Your resume should fit on a single page.
  2. No two versions of your resume should be the same. Every time you pursue a different job, your approach should be customized to the specific employer’s needs and expectations. Check the posted job description closely.
  3. Also analyze the job ad for keywords that stand out. Match these keywords precisely in your resume to improve its chances of passing through any applicant tracking systems (ATS), which employers commonly use to screen online submissions.

Choosing the best resume format for a juvenile counsellor

Generally speaking, the most commonly used chronological resume format is recommended for the majority of job applicants. Typically, your work history will follow a sequence of employee positions, to the best way to organize your achievements is in bullet-point highlights below dated employer headings. In fact, the correct approach is to list them in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent position and working backwards.

There are other options for resume formats emphasizing specialized skills — what you did, as opposed to where you worked. The so-called functional resume format may be well-suited to workforce newcomers or those with a self-employed background. Some apply a hybrid (combined) format to present their most relevant skills and experience. 

Best resume format 2022 (+free examples)
Related article
Best resume format 2022 (+free examples)

There are 3 common resume formats: chronological, functional, and a combination. Here's how to choose the right one for you.

Resume profile example

This is the one spot on your counselor resume where you can demonstrate your ability to connect to others. The resume profile is sometimes called the summary or personal statement . You can list your interpersonal strengths, or soft skills in other sections, but here you have three to five sentences (100 to 150 words ... 200 in exceptional cases) to display your professional personality and ability to help youths with mental health, substance abuse, or emotional and behavioral challenges.

Your juvenile counselor resume should clearly demonstrate your commitment to working with troubled and at-risk youth. In your profile, you should focus on one or two of your proudest accomplishments and demonstrate patience, trustworthiness, and ability to remain calm in stressful situations. Think about a situation that illustrates your sincerity and the ability to establish and foster positive relationships with young people.

Highlight your biggest accomplishments and attributes here. Use powerful action verbs , and as much job specific information as you can. For example: “Mentored at-risk teens” is better than “worked with at-risk teens.” 

If you have work experience in mental health counseling, but have worked with other populations, be sure that you explain your desire to work with juveniles at this time. You can also include this information in your cover letter, but be aware that your resume is likely to be read first.

See the juvenile counselor resume sample below.

Example

Dedicated Juvenile Counselor with 10 years of experience helping juvenile offenders grow and transform into productive, happy, and law-abiding citizens. Proven success counseling offenders in private and group rehabilitation settings, and supporting their return to a purposeful, crime-free life in the community. Effectively developed and fostered positive and influential relationships with at-risk and troubled youth, providing them with helpful mentoring and guidance. Committed to integrity, safety, and the mental and physical health of clients.

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Employment history sample

The employment history section should reflect your growth as a juvenile counselor. Think back to all your experience working with children and teens. Were you a camp counselor? Did you coach a team? Have you worked in a different social work capacity? These jobs show your dedication to working with young people. Any internships and externships you completed to earn your counseling license also count as work experience.

As you craft each description of your jobs, steer clear of simply listing job responsibilities. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my biggest accomplishments?
  • What problems did I solve? How did I solve them? What were the results?
  • Did I develop any youth treatment programs? What were my goals? Do I have evidence that I achieved them?
  • Did I specialize in one area, such as substance abuse or crisis intervention?

Answering these questions should be the basis for each job description. The more data or hard evidence you can provide to enhance your claims, the better. Remember that prospective employers want to know what you will add to the team and see evidence of your growth as a counselor.

Below is a juvenile counselor employment history resume example you can modify.

Example

Juvenile Counselor at Fort Wayne Rehabilitation Center, Dallas
August 2017 - August 2022

  • Worked with up to six juveniles at a time in a private housing unit, creating personalized plans and goals for each, achieving 14% higher compliance rates and 12% fewer relapses.
  • Assisted with teaching a variety of vocational and social skills, credited with 18% boost to post-rehab employment rates.
  • Provided counseling to residents in one-on-one and group settings, often resulting in communication breakthroughs when they overcame trust issues.
  • Provided crisis intervention methods and safe physical restraint practices when necessary, helping mitigate four suicide attempts, a hostage-taking incident and many threats of harm to self or others.
  • Worked collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team to plan and implement an encouraging and safe environment for all residents.
  • Reported and documented concerns and made changes to individual and group plans as needed.

 

Juvenile Counselor at Levine County Correctional Facility, Austin
September 2012 - July 2017

  • Served as a mentor and educator to troubled youth seeking lifestyle changes, with 86% positive outcomes recorded in one-month follow-up visits and 69% after three years.
  • Trained residents in positive emotional and mental practices to avoid relapses in behavior.
  • Assisted in the constant preservation of safety by performing daily searches of residents and their facilities, with the incident rate of discovering contraband drugs or prohibited items declining by 23%.
  • Presented individuals and groups with challenging situations to discuss and modeled effective and appropriate responses.
  • Worked with families of residents to update them on the progress and or concerns related to their family member resident.
  • Implemented a behavior management reward system with an 82% success rate,, encouraging and supporting residents working towards their personal goals.
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Resume education example

Most employers will require you to have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a field related to psychology, counseling or social work.  It should appear in your resume’s education section, along with any other postsecondary education and training. Again, list this information in reverse chronological order, from highest to lowest level.

You may also be mandated by the state or your organization to complete professional development credits. If you have participated in seminars or courses that add to your desirability as a candidate — such as first aid or Crisis Prevention Institute Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training — list those here.

If you have many years of experience, leave this section lower down on your resume. However, if you have just earned your degree, you may want to move this section up above your employment history. 

Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. If you hold a degree higher than a bachelor's degree, you may leave out your high school information.

Below is the juvenile counselor education section from our resume sample.

Example

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, University of Texas, Austin
August 2010 - August 2014

  • Graduated with Distinction.
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CV skills example

This section consists of five to 10 skills or attributes necessary to be an outstanding youth counselor. Pay attention to the specific requirements for the job to which you are applying. Try to match the skills you list here with the top skills your potential employer seeks. Use the exact wording you found in the job listing because many employers use ATS that will scan for specific words in your youth counselor resume.

Juvenile counselors must be able to positively influence the lives of troubled and at-risk youth by providing them with excellent supervision, services, programs, and resources. Youth counselor jobs place an emphasis on interpersonal skills, but you also need to be organized to track data and the behavior management and treatment plans of your charges. 

You are expected to act as positive role models for the youths in your care, helping them to cope with hardships, while working toward a more positive future. Juvenile counselors should possess excellent communication and leadership skills, allowing them to oversee the growth and progress of the youth they work with. 

Don't neglect to list the hard skills that are a requirement of your job, including counseling methods, first aid, crisis intervention, data collection and research techniques, and an understanding of how socioeconomic factors affect the youth you work with. 

Check out the juvenile counselor CV sample for the skills section below. 

Example
  • Receptive & Responsive Listener
  • Coping Skills
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Group Counseling
  • Mediation Skills
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Resume layout and design

The layout is a key component of your resume. Busy human resources people want to be able to scan your resume now! You can make it easy for them by using clearly defined section headings and obvious titles. Here are the items hiring managers scan for first:

  • Contact information
  • Current job and title
  • Previous job and title

Our resume templates take the guesswork out of this process. Check out our simple (timeless classic) designs, or those in our modern collection, to give a sleek first-impression. Then, use our resume builder tool to avoid formatting errors and create consistency of style.

Key takeaways for a juvenile counselor resume

  1. Besides showcasing your qualifications and work experience, your juvenile counselor resume should demonstrate your commitment to working with troubled and at-risk youth. 
  2. Each version of your resume should be specifically tailored to the employer you wish to work for, emphasizing your most relevant qualifications and how they could directly benefit the hiring organization.
  3. Make sure your resume looks as good as it reads at first glance, bearing in mind that may be all busy recruiters have time for if you don’t capture their interest instantly.

You’re on your way to your dream job! 

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