In order to get yourself noticed by potential employers, you’ll need to master the art of selling yourself via your CV. When it comes to applying for jobs, we really struggle to talk about ourselves and our professional experiences in a positive light, so planning your ‘sales pitch’ can go a long way to landing you your ideal role.
Your CV is your first opportunity to convince the employer that they should buy into you over another candidate, so it’s important to make sure it presents you in the best possible way.
It’s been reported that recruiters will spend less than 30 seconds looking at a CV – so it’s important to make a big impact at the very start in order to keep them reading on. A good CV might get you noticed, but a great one will get you hired – or at least get you an interview.
First things first – make sure you get the basic format right. Recruiters will scan the top third of your CV before they decide whether to look at the rest, so you need to make sure this is interesting enough to persuade them to keep reading. Font style and size, number of pages and level of detail included for past positions are all elements to consider. Choose a font that’s clean and modern (something like Times New Roman could be considered old-fashioned or unimaginative). Too much text is off-putting, so use bullet points rather than long paragraphs and don’t feel like you need to fill all the white space on the page!
Next, add a concise personal statement at the beginning. The care industry is one where personal qualities can often be more important than professional experience, so inject some character with a short sentence or two about what drives you and what you can bring to a role. This is especially important if you haven’t worked in care before, as it can explain why you want to get into the sector.
Make sure you give a full employment history, even if this was unrelated to the industry. It’s important to account for all of your work experience for regulatory reasons. Remember to explain any gaps where you were unemployed, abroad or in another type of employment (whether this was part-time, volunteer or not directly applicable to the care sector).
Make sure your CV is targeted to the job requirements. Start by picking out the specifics of the role, which you’ll find in the full job description (so always ask for a copy of this.) Think about the essential qualities the employer wants to see and how you can demonstrate those things. If you’re worried you don’t have the exact experience required, remember that skills are transferable, so think about other areas of your work or personal life that you can use as examples. If you haven’t worked in a specific type of setting before for example, but have worked with other groups of people with closely associated needs, point this out on your CV.
Employers want to see evidence of your achievements, so use precise examples and active words. For instance, rather than “Assisting with creation of support plans,” you could say “I developed a support plan that resulted in the individual achieving a better quality of independent living.” In one sentence, this would show the employer your skill (capable of handling responsibility) and the improvement this created (a direct impact on the client’s well being).
Finally, once you are happy with your CV layout and content, make sure you proof read this once, twice and even three times! Typos and grammar errors are one of the biggest bugbears for recruiters, so don’t allow your amazing CV to be disregarded because of a few avoidable errors. If writing is not your strong point, ask a friend or family member to cast their eyes over it before sending it out.
If you’re looking for advice on how to further, or get started in your care career, speak to our recruitment specialists who can help in finding the right role for you.