How to get your first job as a care assistant or domiciliary carer
Whether you’ve just finished full time education, or you’re looking for a career change, this article will help you get your first job in social care as a care assistant or domiciliary carer. Words by Sarah Gill.
14th October 2011
In this tough job market you could find that you’re current career isn’t offering you the chance for progression as it once would have, or you could have just left full time education and be looking for jobs in your local area. Whichever point you’re at in life, a career as a care assistant or domiciliary carer could be just the thing for you. The number of job vacancies in the social care sector is remaining consistent and in some areas is on the increase. In many cases you don’t need any previous experience for either of these two roles to be considered for a job, it’s about the person you are and whether you would be suited to a career in care.
Key personal qualities
Being a care assistant or a domiciliary carer, either in a residential facility or in the community, or a domiciliary carer is a demanding and often challenging career. Finding job satisfaction in this type of role is dependent on the kind of person you are and the qualities you value. In order to be successful in this type of job you will need:
- a patient attitude
- ability to manage your own workload
- a genuine empathy with the people you care for
- an underlying desire to help vulnerable people
- a positive approach
- willingness to train and develop your skills
Your previous work experience isn’t as important to an employer to as your personal qualities and approach to others. Without these qualities you will find any kind of care work very challenging and you could feel discouraged.
Writing your CV and job application
When you’re in the position of applying for a job in a sector that you have no experience of, it’s important that you emphasise all your transferable skills on your CV rather than the details of your previous jobs and education. Below is the ideal way to structure your first social care CV:
1. Name, address, phone and email address, all first thing at the top of the CV
2. Current employer / education: the skills you have obtained and responsibilities held. Skills such as team work, communication, attention to detail, good timekeeping are all essential in either a care assistant or domiciliary care role so you list skills such as these and any others.
3. Previous employment: give details of your previous employments and make sure you account for any gaps. If you’re open and honest from the beginning that will reflect your personality as a responsible and trustworthy person, which is key to working with vulnerable people. Again, as well as giving details of what each job involved, make sure you list the skills you learnt.
4. Education and Professional Qualifications: Employer’s aren’t always looking for you to have previous training in health and social care, and in the cases when it is essential the job description will give details of the level of qualification required. Most employers will expect a GCSE or equivalent level qualification in English and Maths, and if English isn’t your first language then you will probably need to undertake an IELTS test.
5. References: it’s up to you whether you give the names and contact details of your referees on your CV, but if you’re not comfortable with that just simply state that referees are available. It won’t damage your chances of getting the job in the end, as long as you do genuinely have professional and personal references to give.
As with any CV it should never be longer than 2 sides of A4, a recruiter will very easily loose interest if you send in a lengthy document detailing every last aspect of your career.
The key to success lies with you
Being successful in your application for a care assistant or domiciliary carer job is about making your CV, personal statement and covering letter as relevant as possible to the vacancy you’re applying for. Simply sending a generic set of application documents each time won’t be as successful as tailoring them each time you apply. While there may be plenty of similarities between various care assistant and domiciliary career jobs, each employer will always have certain differing requirements. For example, it may be absolutely necessary that you’re available to work night shifts on a rota basis, and by stating that you’re able to do this in your covering will automatically make you more eligible for the role.
If you can, try to proof read your application in the mindset of a recruiter. When you read through your CV, personal statement and covering letter you must think to yourself ‘does this answer all my questions?’. When a recruiter receives your application they automatically compare it against the list of essential and desirable criteria for the job, so rather than make them work to find out this information by keeping it buried in your CV, if you’re drawing attention to all the vital criteria in your covering letter you’re much more likely to get an interview offer.