our everyday life

How to Write Resumes for Addiction Counselors

by Bronwyn Timmons, studioD

If you're an addiction counselor on the hunt for a new job, a strong resume will help you stand out to potential employers by showcasing your qualifications. Whether you specialize in treating people who are addicted to gambling, drugs, alcohol or other substances, it's essential that your resume is up-to-date and easy to read. Writing a resume for an addiction counselor is similar to writing a resume for other professions, but you'll want to emphasize your experience while also highlighting your values as a counselor.


You have several formats to choose from as you begin compiling your resume. The chronological format is ideal if you have years of experience working in various treatment centers, rehabilitation clinics or private practices. This format is centered around the various jobs you've worked and the responsibilities you've held. The functional format is better for recent graduates and professionals with limited experience. Rather than focusing the bulk of your resume on an itemized list of places you've worked, you'll dedicate most of the space to showcasing specific skills you possess, things you've accomplished and other qualifications relevant to the job. Either format is acceptable for an addiction counselor to use, so select the one you feel will best demonstrate your experience in the field.


As a rule of thumb, resumes should ideally be one page, though in some instances a two-page resume is acceptable. If you have limited experience, don't try to stretch your resume to fill two pages. SImilarly, if you have a large amount of experience, don't limit yourself to a single page. Select the length that is suitable for the amount of relevant information you want to provide.

Skills, Experience and Education

Your resume should only include experience relevant to addiction counseling. Leave unrelated jobs off your resume and focus on selling yourself as a counselor. Include jobs you've held in counseling, as well as any volunteer work you've done or internships you've participated in. Focus on highlighting your skills and values as a counselor. Tell potential employers what makes you uniquely suited to work with people suffering from addiction. Include your education information, including any degrees you possess and the schools you earned them from. Additionally, it's OK to list skills that aren't directly related to counseling but are relevant to the job, such as computer skills.

Licensure and Certification

Always provide your licensure and certification information, if applicable, on your resume. Provide the name of the licensing board or certifying body, as well as your current license or certification number to make it easy for potential employers to fact check your resume. Include voluntary certifications relevant to counseling as well, as these can help show your drive, determination and dedication to the field.

Tips and Considerations

Keep your resume clean and simple. Avoid using elaborate fonts, bold colors or intricate graphics. If you've taken any non-degree or certificate courses in counseling or attended any seminars, include this information on your resume. If you run a professional blog related to addiction or counseling or are active on any professional social media sites, it can be helpful to include links to these websites on your resume. This way, potential employers can find more information about you online with ease. Proofread your resume several times to ensure it is free of spelling and grammatical errors.

About the Author

Based in Colorado, Bronwyn Timmons has been writing professionally since 2009. Her work has appeared on a variety of websites, covering topics such as career and education planning, wedding planning, home improvement, crafts and gardening. Timmons is pursuing her bachelor's degree in mortuary science.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images