Resume Content for Mental & Behavioral Health Applicants
As a mental & behavioral health (MBH) job applicant, the thought of writing a resume can be quite daunting! For many it’s difficult to know where to start and to what to include. As a MBH professional there are often additional responsibilities, certifications and skills relevant to getting hired that are not addressed on typical resume blogs. Below you will find a comprehensive list of questions to help you come up with relevant content to include on your resume.
Information to Include on all Mental & Behavioral Health Resumes
- Be sure to have current contact information including the best phone number(s) to reach you and your email address. It is important to double check that this information is correct.
- Consider adding to your cover letter or introduction email the best time and method to reach you for the best response.
- In reverse chronological order list your full work history including: company, dates of employment (month/year) and job title.
- Under each work experience include a description. The description usually is in bullet form and highlights your accomplishments in that role.
- If using bullets it is best to start with an ‘action verb’ (such as implemented, utilized, managed, supervised, etc.) rather than writing ‘responsible for’.
- Not sure what to include? See our list of questions below and remember to think about the job you are looking to land – which skills are transferable and most relevant.
- When listing an accomplishment be sure to include metrics if you can.
- Including relevant skills you have acquired is even more important today as computer software often reads resumes to look for various ‘keywords’ aka skills.
- It is important to mention your skill but do not only use abbreviations, write out the abbreviation at least once on the resume.
- In the mental health field it is important to share personal character traits and work style, this can be included at the bottom of the resume.
Getting Started for the First Time? Start by answering these questions.
Writing a resume for the first time can be overwhelming. Answering a question seems a lot easier. We have created a list of questions below to ask yourself as you begin to put pen to paper on your resume or you’re looking to add to your existing resume. By answering some of the following questions, we assure that you will come up with some new content for your work responsibilities and skills. Happy writing!
Professional Experience Questions
- What is your experience?
- Skills you have developed
- How many people did you supervise?
- How large a budget did you manage?
- To whom did you report?
- What was the highest level in the company you reported to or communicated with directly?
- Did you coordinate anything?
- Did you serve as liaison between groups or key individuals?
- Did you do, or participate in, strategic planning?
- Did you set or participate in the setting or evaluation of policy?
- Did you evaluate any individual or group performance?
- How did you relate to the product or service?
- Did you communicate with customers? How?
- Were you on any proposal teams?
- What was your function on the team?
- Did you communicate with suppliers or subcontractors? How?
- Did you purchase services or supplies for the office, unit, department?
- Ever serve as a troubleshooter? In what area?
- Did you back up someone? Who?
- Did you do any surveys or other research or studies? Explain.
- Prepare recommendations?
- Design or manage any processes, systems, or projects?
- Organize any events, conferences, meetings? How many and what type?
- Did you administer anything?
- Consult for anyone, inside or outside the organization?
- Did you gain experience in any special use software?
- What kind of writing did you do, for yourself or someone else (e-mail, correspondence, memos, reports, concept papers, plans, proposals, office newsletter, etc.)? What did you write about? Did you write anything that was delivered to a customer as a product, or part of one?
- What experience, skills, aptitudes, or traits do you have, or think you might have, that could be of some use to some employer?
- What skills have you developed, at least to some degree, that you have never used at work?
- Do you have military experience (include Coast Guard and Merchant Marine)? Branch, grade, specialty? Duties? Accomplishments? Medals, citations, commendations?.
- Have you ever published an article, report?
- Have you ever given a talk, speech, or presentation, or provided training? Give the specifics.
- Computer literacy and related skills: What platforms can you use? What operating systems are you familiar with? If you program, which languages do you know, and what is your level of ability or experience? What programs, or kinds of programs, have you designed? What Internet research tools are you familiar with? What programs are you familiar with?
- What foreign languages do you speak?
- What experience have you had as a manager?
- Do you have any special travel experience?
Achievements and Accomplishments Questions
- How much reduction in costs or increase in profits did you contribute to?
- What did you do?
- Did you noticeably improved the way things were before you assumed responsibility?
- Did you propose, suggest, or initiate any programs, changes, or improvements that were implemented at least partly because of your initiative? How did they improve the company’s bottom line?
- What did you do as a volunteer, beyond the regular duties of your position?
- What were you particularly good at that made a difference in how the office progressed from day to day?
Listing Awards and Recognition
- Were you recognized for anything? How? By whom?
- Were you promoted ahead of schedule?
- Selected for any special responsibilities or programs?
How to Provide Professional References?
Before applying to a job, be sure to have 3 to 5 professional references available and willing to speak on your behalf with the way they prefer to be contacted.
INTERVIEWING Dos & Don’ts
- Arrive 15 minutes early. Tardiness is never excusable.
- Clarify questions. Answer the interviewer’s questions as specifically as possible. Relate your skills and background to the position requirements throughout the interview.
- Give your qualifications. Focus on accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.
- Be professional. Smile, make eye contact, and maintain good posture.
- Anticipate tough questions. Prepare to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths.
- Dress appropriately. Make your first impression a professional one.
- Ask questions. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation.
- Listen. Concentrate not only on the interviewer’s words, but also on the tone of voice and body language. Once you understand how the interviewer thinks, pattern your answers accordingly and you will be able to establish a better rapport.
- Don’t bring up salary, benefits, time off.
- Don’t answer vague questions. Ask the interviewer to clarify fuzzy questions.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer. If you don’t listen, the interviewer won’t either.
- Don’t be disrespectful. Don’t smoke, chew gum or place anything on the interviewer’s desk.
- Don’t be overly familiar, even if the interviewer is.
- Don’t wear heavy perfume or cologne. The interviewer may not share your tastes.
- Don’t ramble. Overlong answers may make you sound apologetic or indecisive.
- Don’t lie. Answer questions truthfully.
- Don’t express bitterness. Avoid derogatory remarks about present or former employers.
Closing the Interview
Job candidates often second-guess themselves after interviews. By asking good questions and closing strongly, you can reduce post-interview doubts. If you feel that the interview went well and you want to take the next step, express your interest to the interviewer.
Try an approach like the following: “After learning more about your company, the position and responsibilities, I believe that I have the qualities you are looking for. Are there any issues or concerns that would lead you to believe otherwise?”
This is an effective closing question because it opens the door for the hiring authority to be honest with you about his or her feelings. If concerns do exist, you may be able to create an opportunity to overcome them, and have one final chance to dispel the concerns, sell your strengths and end the interview on a positive note.
A few things to remember during the closing process:
- Don’t be discouraged if an offer is not made or a specific salary is not discussed. The interviewer may want to communicate with colleagues or conduct other scheduled interviews before making a decision.
- Make sure that you have thoroughly answered these questions during the interview: “Why are you interested in our company?” and “What can you offer?” Express appreciation for the interviewer’s time and consideration.
- Ask for the interviewer’s business card so you can write a thank you letter as soon as possible.
After your interview, follow-up is critical. When you get in your car, immediately write down key issues uncovered in the interview. Think of the qualifications the employer is looking for and match your strengths to them. A “thank you” letter or email should be written no later than 24 hours after the interview. Be sure to call your recruiter to discuss your interview and your next steps, as well.
Before you interview for a mental health position, learn as much about it and the employer as possible. If you found the position through a recruiter, he or she should be able to provide that information for you. If not, conduct research on the internet, visit the library, and tap into industry contacts.
Questions To Ask About the Mental Health Position
After you have studied the company, make a list of questions to ask the employer:
- Why is this position available?
- What training programs are available to the person in this position?
- What are your goals for this position?
- What obstacles must be overcome for the person in this position to succeed?
- How will my performance be evaluated?
- What opportunities are there for growth in the next 12 months?
Two years? Five years?
- What growth do you anticipate for your firm in the next 12 months?
Questions You May Be Asked
Your recruiter should be able to give you a good idea of the hiring authority’s personality, his or her typical interview demeanor, and a few important questions that the employer is likely to ask:
- Tell me about yourself.
Keep your answer in the professional realm only. Review your past positions, education and other strengths.
- Why are you interested in this position?
Relate how you feel your qualifications match the job requirements. Also, express your desire to work for the employer.
- What are the most significant accomplishments in your career?
Identify recent accomplishments that relate to the position and its requirements.
- Describe a situation in which your work was criticized.
Focus on how you resolved the situation and became a better person because of the experience.
- What do you know about our organization?
- How would you describe your personality?
- How do you perform under pressure?
- What have you done to improve yourself over the past year?
- What did you like least about your last position?
- Are you leaving (did you leave) your present (last) company?
- What is your ideal working environment?
- How would your co-workers describe you?
- What do you think of your boss?
- Have you ever fired anyone?
- What was the situation and how did you handle it?
- Are you creative?
- What are your goals in your career?
- Where do you see yourself in two years?
- Why should we hire you?
- What kind of salary are you looking for?
- What other types of jobs/companies are you considering?