As Canada’s population continues to age, the demand for occupational therapy assistants is expected to remain strong. While there are many opportunities for OTAs, landing the best positions depends largely on having your resume noticed by employers.
Creating a great resume for an OTA position is a bit different from creating a resume for other types of jobs. Employers of OTAs are looking for unique skills and experiences, and your resume is your first chance to prove that you have what they’re after. Here are a few tips for crafting a resume to help you get noticed.
1. Put Yourself in an Employer’s Head When Writing Your Resume
If you want your resume to stand out, you need to think like an employer. That means crafting your resume so that it shows employers what you can do for them. When you adopt the mindset of an OTA employer, you will write certain parts of your resume differently than you otherwise would. For example, when talking about your OTA program, don’t just mention that you successfully completed it, as this tells the employer very little about what skills you will bring to the job.
Instead, go into detail about what you learned in your program and how this can benefit the employer. For example, one occupational therapist assistant course you will study is Introduction to Gerontology. If the job you are applying for consists of working with the elderly, highlight what you learned in this course and how it is relevant to the position.
2. Use Keywords to Get Your OTA Resume in Front of Human Eyes
Unfortunately, the first person to review your resume may not be a person at all, but rather an applicant tracking systems (ATS). An ATS typically scans your resume for certain keywords that are important to the employer in order to automatically reject weak candidates. While you won’t have any way of knowing for sure what these keywords are, you can make educated guesses.
For example, if you know the position requires you to mainly work with clients with neurological disorders, be sure to mention that you studied neurological disorders in your program. Specifically, make sure the phrase “neurological disorders” is included in the resume. While you don’t want to stuff your resume with keywords, you should at least make sure you have the ones you think are important sprinkled throughout.
3. Highlight Your Occupational Therapy Assistant Placement Experience
Employers highly value candidates who have experience in the field. While coursework is important, on-the-job experience will help you understand the practical challenges that OTAs face every day. After you complete the theory component of your occupational therapy assistant program, you will complete a 12-week placement. This can occur in private clinics, hospitals, or long-term care facilities.
Even if you’re applying for a position at a different type of facility or working with different types of clients, your placement experience is one of the strongest features of your resume. Employers especially like to see what your achievements were at your placement. So, rather than just listing your job duties, talk about your accomplishments. For example, maybe a client or the occupational therapist you worked under singled you out for praise. You can include this as an accomplishment by mentioning the positive feedback you received during your placement. This shows employers that you’ll make a valuable addition to their team.
Do you want to become an occupational therapy assistant?
Contact KLC College to learn more about our programs.