Child Life Specialist Resume Example & Writing Guide

Use this Child Life Specialist resume example and guide to improve your career and write a powerful resume that will separate you from the competition.

Child life specialists are highly trained professionals who help children and their families cope with the stresses of hospitalization or other health-related events. They provide age-appropriate, developmentally appropriate support through direct services such as play therapy, story time, and art therapy. They also provide indirect support by educating families on how to best navigate the healthcare system, helping them understand what to expect during different procedures or tests, and supporting them through difficult procedures.

Child life specialists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, and pediatric offices. They may work directly with patients or indirectly through education or advocacy. Child life specialists may be employed full-time or part-time depending on their role.

If you want to break into this field or advance your career as a child life specialist, you’ll need a resume that will help you stand out amongst your peers. Here are some tips and an example to help you write a great child life specialist resume.

James Smith
Houston, TX | (123) 456-7891 | [email protected]

Passionate child life specialist with experience in providing support to children and families in a hospital setting. Skilled in providing developmentally appropriate play, education, and emotional support to help children cope with illness, injury, and hospitalization.

University of Texas at Austin Jun '10
B.A. in Psychology
Company A, Child Life Specialist Jan '17 – Current
  • Provided therapeutic play therapy to children and families in the hospital setting, including bereavement support for patients and families.
  • Facilitated child life groups with a focus on promoting healthy coping skills, increasing socialization opportunities, and decreasing stress levels of hospitalized pediatric patients.
  • Assisted with planning and implementing special events such as holiday celebrations, birthday parties, etc., for hospitalized pediatric patients.
  • Participated in weekly staff meetings to discuss patient care needs/goals and participated in monthly interdisciplinary rounds to review progress of all patients seen by the Child Life Program during that month.
  • Maintained current knowledge regarding best practices within the field through participation in professional development activities related to child life specialty practice (e.g., workshops).
Company B, Child Life Specialist Jan '12 – Dec '16
  • Created a variety of activities and games to promote physical, emotional, social and cognitive development in children with special needs
  • Collaborated with medical staff on the implementation of non-medical interventions for patients undergoing painful procedures
  • Provided support to families during difficult times by offering counseling services and resources
  • Maintained an environment that was fun, safe and comfortable for all children at the hospital
  • Supervised play therapy sessions for hospitalized children suffering from cancer or other life-threatening illnesses
Company C, Child Life Assistant Jan '09 – Dec '11
  • Led groups and individual play sessions with children to provide developmentally appropriate activities that promoted coping and distraction from the hospital experience.
  • Assisted with the planning and implementation of special events such as holiday parties and visits from community organizations designed to bring normalcy and fun to the hospital environment.
  • Provided one-on-one support to children and families as needed to facilitate positive adjustment to the hospital setting.
  • Child Life Specialist Certification
  • Certified Play Therapist
  • Registered Play Therapist Supervisor

Industry Knowledge: Infection Control, Pain Management, Hospice, Intensive Care
Technical Skills: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Access
Soft Skills: Communication, Teamwork, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Leadership, Empathy, Negotiation, Conflict Resolution

How to Write a Child Life Specialist Resume

Here’s how to write a child life specialist resume of your own.

Write Compelling Bullet Points

When you’re writing bullet points, it can be tempting to focus on the responsibilities of your job. But that’s not always the most effective approach.

Instead, you can use your bullet points to showcase your skills and qualifications. So rather than saying you “provided emotional support for children,” you could say you “provided emotional support for children by using therapeutic play to address their needs and concerns.”

The second bullet point paints a clearer picture of what you did and how you did it. And it also provides some specific examples of how you helped children.

Identify and Include Relevant Keywords

When you apply for a job as a child life specialist, your resume is likely to be scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS) for certain keywords. This system looks for keywords related to the work of a child life specialist, like

  • Child Life
  • Play Therapy
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Hospitals
  • Child Development
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Psychology
  • Group Therapy
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Healthcare
  • Community Outreach
  • Play Therapy Training
  • Psychotherapy
  • Working with Adolescents
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Special Education
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Social Services
  • Public Speaking
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Program Development
  • Curriculum Development
  • Inpatient Care
  • Working with Children
  • Discharge Planning
  • Staff Development
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Behavioral Health

Showcase Your Technical Skills

As a child life specialist, you work with children and their families to help them cope with hospitalization and other medical procedures. In order to do your job effectively, you need to be proficient in the use of technology. This might include experience with electronic health records (EHR) systems, patient monitoring systems, and medical devices. You should also list any other technical skills that are relevant to your field, such as experience with child development theory and practices.


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