How to write a CV to get your first job in social care
Social care is a career that’s open to anyone committed to helping others get the most out of their lives. In this article we explain how you can go about writing your social care CV with ease and skill!
8th December 2010
Your first social care job is likely to be as a carer in some form, and you will help a person to live their life with dignity and as much independence as possible. Social care is about providing the practical support, whether at a person’s home or in a residential setting, to facilitate this.
There aren’t any formal qualifications necessary to get a social care job, and it’s often the case that who you are as a person is more important than the qualifications you’ve achieved. Your life experience and compassion are part of what makes you an individual, and this can be your best asset in social care. It’s sometimes a first hand life experience that can be the motivation behind starting a career in social care.
What kind of jobs are there in social care
Social care is a career that has many different paths you can take, and offers a degree of flexibility because you could work part time, full time and out of the usual 9-5 routine. There are such a wide variety of social care jobs out there for all levels of experience and qualifications, and you can choose what sort of client base you want to work with. Support workers jobs, home care jobs and carer jobs are available in every sector of social care working with all kinds of people. An individual approach is key to working in social care, but it’s largely up to you to decide if you want to work with elderly people, children, families or people with a physical disability to give just a few examples.
Residential care worker jobs are also available, and rather than working in the community, these jobs are focused on people that for whatever reason can’t cope in their own homes any more. That could be due to age or disability, but they are looked after in a residential or nursing home. You could be named carer for one to two people in a residential home, or you could work more generally providing day to day care to all of the residents, depending on the size of the home.
Write your first social care CV
As with any CV, a social care CV is your first introduction to an employer and it should demonstrate why you fit the job requirements perfectly. Don’t embellish your CV with skills you don’t have, but look into every activity you’ve undertaken to identify the new skills you’ve gained. For example, staying at home to look after a family member is ideal experience, so you should identify the skills you’ve learned from the experience and how you could apply them to the social care job you’re applying for.
It’s important to give a clear picture of who you are as a person, because your life experiences and personal qualities are as important as your qualifications. As with any CV it’s important to put the most relevant information first to attract the attention of the recruiter. If you have any recent care experience, paid or voluntary, that definitely needs to go near the top. Give details of all the key skills you have and the kind of social care you’ve been involved in. For example, if you’re looked after a neighbour to provide personal care, shopping, cleaning or any task that helps them, you can include that in your experience. Make sure when you’re talking about your care experience you relate it to the skills you’ve gained that you could use in the job you’re applying for.
Then go on to list your most recent employment in reverse chronological order. Make sure all the dates follow on and don’t leave any gaps. If you have times when you were unemployed but caring for someone, then say that in your CV. Being unemployed doesn’t mean you haven’t achieved anything, you just need to draw attention to the positive side of the things you did when you weren’t employed.
Make the most of your social care qualifications
If you have completed a social care qualification, such as an NVQ in Health and Social Care, then you need to draw attention to this at the top of your CV. A level 2 or level 3 NVQ qualification could mean you’re entitled to better pay and could increase the variety of social care jobs you can apply for. Give details in your CV of how your qualification has increase the range of tasks you can perform, or how your confidence has improved when you became qualified in health and social care. If you intend to take a qualification or are currently studying for one, then that’s as important as a social care qualification you’ve already achieved.
A well constructed CV is essential to getting a job in social care, and if you regularly update it with new experience, it won’t become a hassle to make the necessary changes when you look for a new job. Social care is such a diverse career, and your skills are transferable between so many areas, there are plenty of opportunities to find the rewarding job that is just right to suit you.