7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Physical Therapist Resume

7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Physical Therapist Resume

Are you ready to revamp your Physical Therapist resume? With the seemingly endless need for qualified Physical Therapists, you may think a simple old resume will do.

Supply vs. demand, right?


Because the demand is so high, hiring managers end up reviewing stacks of resumes at a time. This means yours needs to be in tip-top shape to catch the interest of the decision makers.

A strong PT resume is the first step on your path towards career success. In order to stand out above the rest and showcase your skills effectively, you’ll want to follow a “recipe” for resume success.

In this article, we break down seven ways you can improve your Physical Therapist resume.

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1.Toss Out Your Physical Therapist Resume Objective

In the past, a physical therapy resume objective was used to showcase how you are the perfect candidate for the particular job.

However, current resume trends indicate that objectives may do more harm than good. Because they are more general in nature, they often miss the mark. If your objective does not match what a hiring manager is looking for, they will quickly put you in the rejection pile.

Nowadays, the recommendation is to replace your objective with a summary (see more on this in tip 2) and to target it specifically.

When it comes to targeting your resume for a specific job, understanding the job description is crucial. There is no such thing as boilerplate when it comes to resume writing!

It’s true: you can easily customize your resume for the position to which you are applying. Before submitting a general resume, take a microscope to the detailed job description.

  • Is the job description asking for skills that you possess, but that are not on your resume?
  • Does the job description use any keywords you can mirror for added impact?
  • In what tone is the job description written? Can you emulate it in your summary section?

If you take the time to customize your resume before sending it, you will significantly increase your chances of getting a call.

2. Open With an Insightful Summary

In many instances, the professional summary is the most “skimmable” section of a resume. That means the hiring manager is most likely to read this brief summary of your professional abilities and decide right then if they want to read any further.

Your strongest skills and accomplishments must be featured here. Provide insight into why you can bring value to the particular organization seeking a PT candidate.

This is a crucial area of your Physical Therapist resume, so determining the angle of this particular resume’s summary as it relates to the job description is key.

Use this space to grab the hiring manager’s attention. Include relevant details that you believe can make you stand out. Consider featuring things like:

  • Formal degrees
  • Special or rare certifications
  • Years of experience
  • Areas of specialty
  • Personal traits that make you perfect for the job that you don’t include in your work experience, like being an effective leader for example.

An enticing summary is the foundation of a strong resume. Make an impact here to ensure you don’t get lost in the crowd.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The professional summary is the most ‘skimmable’ section of a resume. #alliedhealth ” quote=”The professional summary is the most ‘skimmable’ section of a resume. “]

Relevant Work Experience | 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Physical Therapist Resume

3. Showcase the Most Relevant Work Experience

All resumes include work experience. That is the whole point of sending one! However, you must make sure your work experience section includes details relevant to the job for which you are applying.

Simply listing the company, its location, and your time spent there is not enough. Beneath each relevant job, include 2-5 bullets that directly answer questions or showcase skills listed on the job description.

Note that you can include things like:

  • the types of patients with whom you worked,
  • the size of the practices,
  • any other details that further solidify your ability to fit their needs.

Remember: employers want to see demonstrated success. Include your notable contributions. Quantify whenever possible!

If you have been in the field for a long time, you may be wondering how to fit all of your experience on one page. Rule of thumb states that you showcase your last 10 years of experience. If you feel positions you held before this time are relevant to the new role, we recommend listing them.

Overall, it’s most important to detail the previous experience that aligns with the role you want. If you aren’t sure what to include and what to exclude, consider asking a colleague or close friend to help you determine what prior experience best fits the job description.

4. Include Special Skills and Affiliations

You may already have a “special skills” section on your Physical Therapist resume, but don’t forget to use this area for showcasing anything that will speak to your abilities as they relate to the job.

For example, volunteer work you do outside of the office, or associations with which you are affiliated may play perfectly into the role you desire.

Membership in national professional organizations such as the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), or a local organization like the American Physical Therapy Association of Massachusetts (APTA of MA) sends signals to employers that you are dedicated to continuing to develop your knowledge and skills in your chosen field.

In addition to this, consider including your transferable skills, if applicable. Transferable skills are skills that don’t directly stem from your professional training but that can be applied in your work.

Volunteer work often falls into this category, and is certainly something employers will see as a positive attribute.

SEE ALSO: Physical Therapist Skills: What You Need to Succeed Now

Educational Details | 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Physical Therapist Resume

5. Highlight Your Educational Details

Your Physical Therapist resume will always include an education section since this is such an important piece of the puzzle for many employers.

Within this section, consider showcasing your education and extracurricular activities in a way that most benefits the hiring manager. Once again we’re touching on the important need for customizing your resume to the job.

In addition to your formal education, you should certainly include licenses, certifications and any other education-based information if relevant.

Be conscious of including educational details that will make a hiring manager stop skimming and think, “Wow, this person is perfect for the job.”

If you aren’t sure how to best showcase your formal education and certifications, consider reviewing the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)’s Physical Therapist (PT) Education Overview. This is a great resource for verbiage you might like the emulate.

6. Format for Success with Keywords

Nearly all hiring managers are using some kind of software to sift through the thousands and thousands of resumes they must review.

When searching for candidates through resume databases, employers use keywords and phrases to drill down the results. With this in mind, you’ll want to include those specific words within your Physical Therapist resume.

Increase your chances of being found by hitting keywords that fall into categories like degrees, certifications, job titles, specialties, and much more. For words that have an acronym, include both in case the employer uses only one in his/her search. For example, use both ‘physical therapy’ and ‘Physical Therapist’ written out, as well as ‘PT’.

The informative “Get your resume past the robots: How to beat HR’s mechanical gatekeepers,” article is a great reference if you’re struggling to format a resume.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Employers use keywords and phrases to drill down the results for a resume. #ptjobs” quote=”Employers use keywords and phrases to drill down the results for a resume.”]

7. Proofread and Spell Check

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Of course I proofread my resume!”.

But you’d be surprised to know just how many typos and grammatical errors end up on the desks of hiring managers.

While your profession isn’t judged by your writing skills, your resume always will be. You could be the most highly skilled Physical Therapist in the state, but a resume with errors can shut down your chances of getting hired very quickly.

When it comes to proofreading, do the following:

  • Use the spellcheck tool in your word processing program.
  • Then, print your resume and read it slowly. Consider using another sheet of paper to block the upcoming text so that you can only see and focus on one line at a time.
  • Once you think it’s perfect, ask a colleague or loved one to check for any hidden errors.

It may seem unnecessary, but this step is crucial!

Sample Physical Therapy Resume Examples

Now that you know the seven ways to improve, let’s review a Physical Therapist resume example.

Resume Example | 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Physical Therapist Resume

This Physical Therapist sample resume is an A+, thanks to it’s smart use of space and technique for showcasing skills and prior experience.

Armed with this knowledge, your resume is sure to garner call backs. When that happens, be prepared to answer that common question, “Why should we hire you?” by reading up on interview tips here!

Conclusion | 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Physical Therapist Resume


Not all Physical Therapist resume examples will be alike, but the best ones will make use of the seven tips listed above. To make the most of your physical therapy resume, be sure to:

  1. Toss out your physical therapy resume objective
  2. Open with an insightful summary
  3. Showcase the most relevant work experience
  4. Include special skills and affiliations
  5. Highlight your educational details
  6. Format for success with keywords
  7. Proofread and spell check

Do you have any additional tips or tricks for making your PT resume stand out?

Share with us in the comments below!

Physical Therapist ResumeBONUS TEMPLATE: Showcase your experience in the best way.
Download Our Physical Therapist Resume Template!


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