Resume and finding work

Resume and finding work

Possible Model Community Psychologist Resume - Second Draft















Profession: Community Psychologist

Objective: To apply my skills in psychology, system development, and evaluation in the design, implementation, evaluation, and improvement of community resources and service systems.

Introduction:  When most people hear "psychologist," they think immediately of clinical psychologists.  A community psychologist may work with people in distress or need, but focuses primarily upon collaboration to strengthen systems, services, access, and outcomes available to individuals and groups in the community.  I seek a position that requires collaboration with professionals of other disciplines, citizen advocacy groups, and governance striving for community development and improvement.

Professional Competencies: I offer my training and experience in the following competencies:

Evaluation and Assessment

Cultural Diversity

Advocacy and Public Policy

Group Processes

Community Capacity Building

Intervention Skills


Management and Supervision


Relationship Building

Computer Literacy/Report Writing


Grant Writing

Community Consultation


Professional Licensing, Registration, and Certification: (If required by state law, or if you have them)

Education and Training:

B.A. in ****

_____ University, Anywhere, AK

M.A. in ****

_____ University, Los Angeles, CA

Ph.D. in Psychology with specialization in

_____ University, Los Angeles, CA

     Community Psychology


Postdoctoral Training in *****

(If applicable)

Specialized workshops:





Work Experience:

Accomplishments in Community Systems Improvement: (Succinct description of role and outcome: Maybe 4 sentences maximum.  Phrase them so that key competence(ies) are clear.  Be very specific about role and outcome; leave description of process for face-to-face discussion with potential employer.)

Memberships and Community Service:

Papers Presented and Publications:

Professional References: (Consider listing as references people of diverse professional backgrounds in addition to psychologists.  Show that you have diverse connections/experiences.)


The SCRA practice task force asked me to write a job description for a community psychologist.  I have struggled with that task for weeks, because it seemed that there are too many possible permutations to include in one position description.  Therefore, I have decided to approach the task from a different direction: What to look for in position descriptions and settings when you are searching for work as a community psychologist, and how you might proceed:

My first suggestion is that you define clearly what all you know how to do.  Then look for settings and positions that use your particular skills.  I want to encourage you to look for positions that use the skills you have acquired and practiced, not just for positions that explicitly require a community psychologist label.  If you are seeking an academic position in a psychology department, the position description probably will use the label.  However, I suspect that explicit use of that label will be rare out in communities.  The profession isn't that widely known to potential employers.

Obviously, what you know how to do will depend on what you studied and on your actual experience in learning community psychology.  Ray Scott has published a very useful paper entitled ON BEING ACCOUNTABLE: Toward the development of criterion-based competencies in community psychology graduate training.  I encourage you to contact him to request a copy.

Dr. Scott has listed twelve community psychology competencies.  I have listed them below, some with minor changes in wording.  Look at your own training and experience to determine which ones fit you:


  • Advocacy: Knowing political skills needed to communicate with mayors, council members, and legislators (also their key staff people) to lobby effectively for change.
  • Assessment and Evaluation: Able to work within strength-based models, collect data, and provide feedback.  Able to conduct resource and program evaluation.  Able to analyze community and/or organization problems in areas such as poverty, health, housing, economic development, etc.
  • Capacity Building: Knowledge of organizational development.  Able to promote sustainability, self-sufficiency, and empowerment.  Able to secure grants, engage in financial management and planning.  Able to teach organizational development skills.
  • Collaboration/Consultation: Able to engage in consultation and inter-professional collaboration with communities, to develop and maintain community and organizational partnerships.  Able to demonstrate leadership/management skills such as conflict resolution, problem solving, etc. 
  • Communication: Able to use public relations, teaching and presentation skills to communicate effectively with community groups, organizations, and the media.  Able to teach those skills to others.
  • Computer Literacy/Report Writing: At professional levels of competence.
  • Cultural Diversity: Knowledge of the culture(s) of the individuals with whom you will be working, and willingness to learn from them.  Able to help develop interventions grounded in those cultures.
  • Group Process: Knowledge of group facilitation skills.  Able to understand and use large and small group processes.
  • Intervention Skills: Able to identify and address ethical and legal issues as they arise.  Able to apply scientific knowledge to practice.  Able to develop and implement community and organizational interventions and prevention initiatives as appropriate.  Able to engage in program and resource development, to work with displaced persons.  Able to formulate outcomes, and to translate policy into community and organizational plans and programs.
  • Management and Supervision: Able to organize, direct and control the services rendered to the client, community, or organization.  Able to direct, teach, and hold accountable those persons whom the community psychologist supervises.
  • Relationship Skills: Able to develop and maintain a constructive working alliance with clients, communities, and/or organizations.
  • Research: Pursue curiosity.  Able to design, construct and evaluate community, applied, action, and participatory research.  Able to translate research results into useful recommendations.


Look at your own training and experiences (paid and volunteer) to identify any other competencies that increase your own effectiveness as a community psychologist.  Add them to this list. 

Write a set of brief examples describing how you have applied these competencies.  Write these examples for yourself, to help you describe successful experiences if asked during an interview.

My second suggestion is that you collaborate with other new community psychologists seeking employment.  Job search is a lonely occupation and mutual support is a big help.

Third, engage in information interviewing of locate governmental, for-profit, non-profit, and indigenous neighborhood organizations that might need your skills.  Learn how your skills can be adapted to meet their needs. 

Educate them about community psychology in the process.  Teach them the differences between community psychology and clinical psychology, because often they will think of "clinical" when they hear "psychology." 

After they understand what you know how to do, ask for leads to other organizations that might need your skill set.  Also, ask about internship possibilities, if you are still in graduate school.

Talk with places such as:


  • Community service provider organizations
  • Advocacy organizations
  • Governmental agencies at local, state or national levels
  • Grass-roots organizations
  • Legislator, Mayor, and/or city- or county-manager staffs
  • Public Health departments
  • Community Development organizations, public and private
  • Charitable Foundations
  • United Way
  • Craig's List and other job-posting sites, looking for skill sets you possess.
  • Community or neighborhood councils
  • Law-enforcement organizations
  • Public Housing agencies
  • City Planning and Zoning Departments
  • Architectural and Planning firms


Third, look for trends in what you and fellow searchers learn from information interviews, and write proposals to deliver needed results. 

Fourth, share leads with, and provide mutual support to, your fellow searchers until all have found employment.

[All of these job search processes, and others, are found in What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles.  You might also look at, where Kelly Hazel has a section called careers in community psychology.]

I hope these suggestions are helpful, and I would really appreciate hearing any reactions you care to share. 

Al Ratcliffe, Ph.D.

Community Psychologist, Tacoma, WA




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Post Date:
June 29, 2010
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SCRA Web Admin

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