Get your CV and interview technique in shape

People matter to us. The people we care for and the people who work with us. As the fastest growing care provider in the South East recruiting the right staff is everything. It’s why we’re always looking for people with that special something who can help us deliver exceptional care, day in, day out.

So how do you show that you’ve got what it takes to land that all important interview?

We asked one of our senior recruitment managers, Kelly Gaffney, for some top tips to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Kelly has been making teams click for two decades, the past eleven of which have been in the care industry. With so many applications landing in her inbox she knows exactly what she’s looking for.

Kelly Gaffney – Senior Recruitment Manager

1. Tailor your CV for the job you’re applying for

You’ve no idea the amount of CVs I see that are clearly generic – intended for any employer that’s hiring. Those go straight on the ‘no pile’. You need to show that you really want the job and that starts with putting the time in to present yourself at your very best. Show us why you specifically want this job.

If you’re applying for a job with us as a carer you need to show how you have the qualities we’d be interested in. That doesn’t mean that you have to have worked in this sector – we welcome those looking for a career change. But you need to demonstrate why this work appeals. Perhaps you’ve looked after an early relative and discovered how rewarding caring can be. Or maybe bringing up a child has made you discover qualities you never knew you had. When we recruit somebody who has no care experience the question we ask ourselves is:  “Would I want you delivering care to my family member”. Make us believe why that should be a yes.

2. Make it unique to you

I often see CVs where people simply list their past employers and the tasks they were required to do. Of course it’s great to see that you have this experience, but if that’s all you tell us your CV is going to read the same as everyone else’s who has been in a similar role. To make yours stand out, go one step further. Build on your key responsibilities and achievements and the skills you brought to the job through examples

Tell us a little bit about yourself. We’re not looking for your life history, just a flavour of what you’re like as a person in a short paragraph. What are your interests outside of work? Do you have any volunteer experience? Play team sports? Sing in a choir? It might not seem relevant to the job, but showing that you are committed to an activity or a team player – literally – can help shift your application up the pile.

3. Know your work history

As a CQC registered supplier of care staff, we need to see a full work history as part of your application. It’s fine to have had a career break. You may have paused your career while you were raising your family or looking after an elderly relative. In fact, we often find that this prompts many people to consider a career in care. It could simply be that you’ve had to invest significant time looking for work. That’s absolutely fine. We know how tough the job market can be. You just need to make sure all gaps are covered.

4. Show you’re on it

This is a fast-paced environment and doing all the necessary checks takes time. Show that you’re efficient from the get-go. One of the ways you can do this is by making your DBS certificate ‘portable’ by registering it on the update service. That way, we can check that everything is in order and get an instant result. 

It also helps to expediate the process if you let your previous – or current – employer know that we’ll be contacting them for a reference. We’ll need their business email address so we can get in touch, so make sure you have their contact details prior to your interview.

5. Think about how you present your CV

How you present your CV says a lot about you. If it looks professional you’ll be seen as professional. Keep it simple, ideally, no more than two pages. Use a font that’s easy to read, like Arial or Calibri – 11 or 12 point type with good spacing so that it doesn’t look too text heavy. Show your work history in chronological order, starting with the most recent. Write the name of the company and the period you worked there; putting these details in bold type makes it easier to read.

6. Prepare for your interview

This is your chance to shine, so do your homework. We need to see that not only do you really want the job, but what you can bring to our team with your experience, skills and work ethic. People often say the kind of thing that they think we want to hear – like they work well in a team. But this only means something if you can demonstrate how you do this. What do you do that makes around you bring their very best? How do you go about asking for help if you’re not sure about something. Being specific is what’s going to make you stand out from other candidates.

There are few obvious interview don’ts. Don’t be late and don’t talk unprofessionally about a previous employer. It sounds obvious, but we do see it. Ask us questions. You need to be sure that the job’s the right fit for you. You’ll have a dedicated recruiter to help you through the process – they’re there to give you all the information you need to be your best self on the day.

We’re genuinely interested in your career goals and professional development. This is a company with a commitment to building careers, so please do tell us about your long term plans. You might be applying for a job as a domiciliary carer, but be looking to specialise in the future. Maybe you eventually want to go into management. Never be afraid to share your ambition. We’re in a position to help realise those aspirations, and if you’re right for us we look forward to doing just that.

Good luck!