Most experienced care workers and nurses know that their chosen industry is quite unlike any other – and yet when it comes to compiling a CV or resume, many of the same rules apply. Whether you’ll be seeking your first role as a carer or support worker, or you’re an experienced veteran looking to make a fresh start, a polished and effective CV is the right place to begin. Let’s explore a few key principles to keep in mind when putting your best foot forward.
Summarise your work experience and achievements
Make things easier for your recruiter, agency or prospective care home by leading with what they’re most interested in – your experience. Regulations stipulate that you should outline all your previous employment, even if some roles weren’t care work related. Be very clear about what type of care you provided in previous jobs, for example overnight care, Alzheimer’s support, mental health care or work in a residential home.
It’s a good idea to pick a concrete achievement to showcase for each previous role, using plenty of verbs or action words and showing the positive results or outcomes of the work you did. Be careful about downplaying your contributions by saying you “helped with” or were “involved in” something, as this can comes across as passive. Don’t be afraid to show yourself in a flattering light! Carers and nurses work hard – your CV is not the place for modesty or using “we” when it’s more accurate to say “I.”
Be passionate and show your personality
Of course, you might not have any experience yet, in which case it’s important to draw attention to any relevant voluntary work, hobbies or instances where you cared for a family member. Especially for those who are just starting out, a personal statement can add colour and shine a light on what inspires you to seek work as a carer.
Whether you’re experienced or not, a strong but concise opening statement at the top of your CV quickly shows who you are, what you can offer and the kind of position you’re seeking. Be sincere about your motivations. Use your discretion to list a few personal hobbies or interests – especially if it’s something that could transfer to the role you’re applying for. Support workers of all kinds absolutely need to be professional, trained and preferably experienced, but showing some heart also goes a long way.
Make your training section easy to understand
Following your personal details, an opening statement and work experience, list your relevant qualifications starting with the most recent. Include when the course was completed, as well as the dates the qualifications are relevant until. You want the Care Home to be able to determine at a glance exactly what training you’ve had and when, so keep things brief and focused. Consider putting the qualifications that are most relevant to your desired role front and centre – for example, a care certificate. It’s OK to list a qualification that’s underway as long as you make it clear when you expect to complete it.
Have impeccable style and grammar
It’s not that flawless spelling and punctuation are necessary for care work, but rather that compiling a well-written CV shows a commitment to quality and attention to detail. Be aware that many spellcheckers can miss crucial mistakes, so make an effort to go through it carefully several times yourself. Make sure you’re using UK spelling, and give some thought to choosing a format and layout that looks clean, professional and easy to read.
Opt for an appropriate font (for example Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri in 11pt.), and keep your CV under 2 pages with plenty of white space and ample paragraphs. Coloured paper, over-the-top fonts or photographs usually make a poor impression. Finally, when you’re done, ask a few people to take a look – you might be surprised at the typos that slip through or the crucial details you’ve forgotten to include.
Some people find it rather difficult to put together a CV, but it’s an unavoidable part of making sure that you find the care role that’s right for you. With just a little forethought and effort, you can strike that balance and share not just your credentials, but all those things that make you the unique care worker you are. Once you’re happy with your draft, you can save it and add to it as you go, updating your training and details, and fine-tuning so that whenever you next need your CV, it’s ready to go.