If you ever got sent to the principal’s office, you probably wished you’d been sent to the school counselor’s office instead. School counselors provide advice and guidance to students, generally in high school, and especially to those who want to go on to college. If laying a path for young scholars is your gift, then welcome to school – but first you’re going to need a stellar school counselor resume.
This writing guide and the resume examples it provides will cover all the bases on how to prepare this job-application document:
- What does a school counselor do?
- How to write a school counselor resume
- The five elements of a successful resume
- Choosing the best resume format for a school counselor
This is just one of 350+ occupation-specific resume examples provided by Resume.io, a top resource for job seekers in any field.
What does a school counselor do?
School counselors, often called guidance counselors, serve as mentors to teenage students, helping them with a wide variety of issues that may come up. On an academic level, they help students plan their coursework, prepare for college, improve their grades and learn about careers.
On a personal level, they may counsel students struggling with problems at home, bullying at school, social anxiety, depression or sexuality issues. Whatever the issues are, school counselors are trained to be empathetic listeners and helpful advisers.
How to write a school counselor resume
A school counselor resume should reflect the sensitivity, empathy and professionalism that makes this person a trusted resource for students. Even if a student feels the whole world is against them, they should know that the guidance counselor is on their side. Your school counselor resume should showcase both the big heart and the informed intellect that equips you to help young people with their problems.
A school counselor resume should be one page only, consisting of five critical pieces:
- Employment history
Choosing the best resume format for a school counselor
The reverse chronological format is the most common (and usually the best) way to present your work history – last job first, first job last. This allows you to present your latest and most impressive job first. The reverse chronological format is ideal for those who have followed a somewhat traditional career path, moving from entry-level to higher-level jobs over time.
Another option is the functional format, which groups past employment by job type or by project. This can be a good option for freelancers or contractors who do not have a steady history of holding full-time jobs working for other people.
If you have little or no experience as a school counselor, perhaps because you’re still in college or are changing careers, mention any internships or related work you’ve done. If your work history is still too thin, consider putting your education section before your employment history.
Header: Your contact info
The header is an attractively designed space at the top of the resume that contains some or all of the following:
- Name: Your name will usually be the largest text on the page and goes at the very top.
- Occupation: Below your name, state your occupation: “School Counselor” or “Guidance Counselor.”
- Address: The applicant’s mailing address is generally included, though this is sometimes omitted for privacy or other reasons.
- Phone number: Always include your phone number, with area code and, in international applications, country code.
- Email address: Be sure to use an email that sounds professional.
- Links: You may choose to include your LinkedIn profile or some other website that highlights your professional achievements.
- Photo: Including a photo of yourself is sometimes frowned on, especially in the U.S., though is more common in other countries.
The header should be thoughtfully designed, creating a visually pleasing start to the page.
Resume summary example
The resume summary, also known as a profile, is a section under the header in which you paint a professional “self-portrait,” describing your most impressive qualifications for the job you’re seeking. Typically, this will focus on job experience, education, skills and personal passions.
Even though work, school and skills will all be mentioned elsewhere, the summary is your opportunity to portray yourself as a job candidate in the best light possible in your own words. Use compelling language, avoiding cliches and “fluff,” which is language that sounds highfalutin but says nothing. Make an opening statement that compels the hiring manager to keep reading.
For more inspiration, see some of the summaries in our related education resume examples, including our academic resume sample, teacher resume example, high school teacher resume example and teacher assistant resume sample.
Be aware of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which are software programs used by larger employers to screen resumes according to the keywords they contain. Employers input the main qualifications they are looking for into these systems, which then “grade” resumes by how many of these qualifications they mention.
Resumes with few or none of the desired keywords may be rejected outright before a human being ever sees them. This is why you must review job postings closely to learn exactly what employers are looking for, and then make your resume match as closely as possible.
Dedicated school counselor with a proven record of nurturing and guiding students on their paths to success. Committed to performing all duties to foster the whole child as outlined by the American School Counselor Association. Adept in delivering school counseling programs that support student achievement, attendance and discipline.
Employment history sample: Your experience
List up to 10 years of employment history here – the schools where you’ve worked, their locations, your job title and the years you worked there.
Below each job, add bullet points saying what you did at each one – not just what you were responsible to do, but what you actually did. Be specific, using facts and figures if possible. The employment history section of our school counselor resume sample below provides more insight.
School Counselor at The Buckley School, New York
July 2018 - Present
- Created a school culture of positivity by implementing an effective school counseling program centered around bullying.
- Supported the social and emotional needs of approximately 400 students in grades K through 9.
- Helped students to develop and apply academic achievement strategies.
- Modeled appropriate ways to manage emotions and apply interpersonal skills.
- Provided individual student academic planning and goal setting services.
- Collaborated with families, teachers and administrators to foster student success.
- Performed data analysis to identify student issues, needs and challenges.
School Counselor at Regis High School, New York
August 2014 - June 2018
- Provided outstanding leadership for the implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program.
- Collaborated with parents and faculty in support of student well being and growth.
- Served as a liaison with outside mental health providers to ensure coordination of support efforts for students.
- Created special programming to support healthy lifestyles in conjunction with students and administration.
- Coordinated and developed departmental activities that supported college and career readiness.
CV skills example: What you’re good at
Every CV (which is what a resume is called outside the U.S. and Canada) needs a list of the candidate’s job-related skills. These should be a mix of hard skills (technical capabilities essential in your field) and soft skills (innate personal talents like communication, listening and empathy). The ability to speak a second or third language should also be included here.
Take a look at the school counselor resume sample below for some ideas.
- Knowledge of ASCA Model
- Data-informed Decision Making
- Empathy and Compassion
- Knowledge of Child Development
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Active Listening
School counselor education example: Your schooling
You may need a master’s degree to be a school counselor, and you’ll definitely need a bachelor’s degree. Degrees in this field typically include counseling, psychology and education.
In the education section of your resume, name the colleges you attended, where they’re located, the years you attended and the degree you obtained.
Use reverse chronological order, listing your highest degree first. If you have a postgraduate degree, it’s not necessary to mention your high school, though it does no harm if you have room. List any certifications or licensing you hold. The school counselor education section below provides an example.
Master of Science in School Counseling, Manhattan College, New York
September 2012 - May 2014
- magna cum laude
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
September 2008 - May 2012
Resume layout and design
Once you’ve written the perfect resume, don’t blow it by presenting it in a badly formatted, visually unappealing design. Appearances matter, and your CV should look as good as it reads.
Fonts, font sizes, margins, spacing, balance and use of white space are all essential to good resume design. Use the resume templates, examples and other tools at Resume.io to do the design for you so that you can focus on the writing.
Key takeaways for a school counselor resume
- As a school counselor, you are an empathetic, educated professional skilled at helping students with any problems they might have, and your resume needs to reflect this focus from beginning to end.
- Hold your resume to one page, include the five essential components, and make every word count.
- Customize your CV for ATS software that could determine whether it sinks or swims.
- Choose a format and design that makes your resume look both professional and pleasing to the eye. Our adaptable resume sample can help.
See you at school!