Oh, the education section of your resume. How on earth will you distill months of study and sleeplessness and tears into a series of uninspired bullet points? What could you possibly say about the experience? Well, here’s what.

Items you absolutely must include:

  • The name of your massage school.
  • The date you graduated (or intend to graduate)
  • If you have a college degree, when you received it, and from where (and in what, if it’s remotely pertinent)
  • If you don’t have a degree, your high school and graduation date.

Things you might want to include:

  • Techniques you’re well-versed in and use extensively. Don’t be ashamed if that’s just Swedish massage and deep tissue; that’s enough for a lot of businesses!
  • If you are a new grad, and you don’t have a separate awards or accomplishments section, you can include your GPA or class rank, but only if it’s really impressive.
  • If you don’t have a separate section for additional training, you could include the names, dates, and number of contact hours for continuing education courses you’ve taken.
  • Pertinent certifications like CPR, and the dates you last renewed them.
  • The approximate number of hours of your school program, especially if you attended school in another state.

Things not to include:

  • The fact that your school program was precisely 756.5 hours, and included massage techniques, massage theory, anatomy, physiology, pathology, business and ethics. Everybody else studied the same stuff, and it makes you look very inexperienced when this is the information you think makes you outstanding.
  • Your commercial driver’s license, social studies teaching certificate, or other completely unrelated credential. But if you’re an aesthetician, personal trainer, or accountant, that could work in your favor. Think about what the business does, and use your common sense.
  • Training in techniques that you’re not willing to provide. You may feel like you need to say that you’ve had training in TMJ massage just to fill that empty space on the paper, but if you hate doing it, you’re better off pretending it never happened.
  • Self-study from books you’ve read or videos you’ve watched.
  • How “prestigious” your massage school is. If your school is really that good, people will have heard of it.

Related sections you might want to add:

  • Awards or Accomplishments: 97% on your licensing exams? Won a case report contest? Most return clients of any therapist in your student clinic? If you’ve got two or more things to brag about, show them off with their own heading.
  • Additional Training or Continuing Education: This is especially good if you’ve taken CE courses in specific techniques or in dealing with certain populations, but other courses might make sense too, depending on the job you’re applying to. For example, I took a class on massage in integrated healthcare settings, and included it when I sent my resume to a physical therapy clinic. A course on the anatomy of the spinal cord might look great to a chiropractor.
  • Skills: Generally speaking, I don’t think you need a special skills section for a massage resume, as your training and experience should speak for itself. If you’re going to do this anyway, at least keep it objective. “Experience with XYZ SOAP note software” is a skill. “Sensitive touch” and “great communication skills” are not. (If your communication skills are really great, your cover letter will already have blown them away, right?)

In general, less embellishment is probably better when it comes to the education section of your resume. Remember that being new is nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody started essentially where you are now, and it’s not the sort of thing you forget. Keep it simple and accurate and be confident in your ability to keep learning as you go; that’s the kind of person businesses are looking to hire.

Next time: Experience? But I have no experience!

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