How to write a personal statement to get a social care job when you’ve got no experience
If you’re applying for your first job in social care and don’t know where to start with your personal statement, this article will help. We break down the three essential parts of a personal statement and explain why the experience you do have can be made relevant. Words by Sarah Gill.
9th June 2012
Writing a great personal statement is an art, and one that takes a commitment of time and effort to achieve. Even if you’ve never worked in social care before that doesn’t mean you have no experience. Experience comes in all shapes and sizes, even your school education has given you experience, so writing a personal statement to get your first job in social care is about drawing on the experience you do have, rather than that which you feel you lack. By breaking down the process into these three areas, you can put together a personal statement that truly reflects who you are and why you’d be great at this job.
Who you are and why you want this role
Think of your personal statement as your presentation to the potential employer. You should tell them about yourself, why you’re the ideal candidate for their job and give evidence of your skills. In order to write this so it talks directly to the recruiter about their job and how well you meet their requirements, you will need the person specification and job description for the vacancy as a reference.
The first few lines of this section should introduce you as a person and give a short summary of where you are at the moment. These opening lines will make or break the reader and it’s during this introduction they decide whether or not to read it or move on to the next candidate. It sounds harsh, but most recruiters are time-poor so it’s essential to grab their attention in the opening sentences.
Go on to talk about why you want this role. Summarise your interest in the role and how you fit the requirements of the person specification. This will lead you nicely into the next section.
Relevant skills and personality traits
Before you write this section, look back at everything you’ve done in your life. You will have gained skills and experience doing all kinds of jobs, and at school, that you might not have ever thought about before. In order to identify skills you didn’t think you had achieved, look back on different situations and analyse the contribution you made. For example, say you used to volunteer to look after an elderly relative in their own home by helping them get dressed and undertake every day tasks such as washing up or cooking. From this experience you will have learnt how to communicate in a respectful way with an individual that is relying on your assistance in order to maintain their independence and wellbeing, to maintain their dignity throughout, and to carry out person-centered care. You may not have realised you were doing it, but by simply taking into account the needs of that person and their personal preferences, you are beginning to provide person-centered care. Those are key skills when working in social care, and excellent communication skills are vital in every social care job.
Use the person specification to write a list of the skills deemed essential for the role, and those that are desirable. Then write an example of time when you demonstrated each skill in a different environment, preferably using some examples from education, employment and voluntary work. For example, if the person specification calls for someone who can work well in a team with good communication skills and commitment, you need to look back on all the experience you do have and draw out an example that shows how well you worked within a team, how your excellent communication skills contributed to you performance, and your commitment to see that situation through to conclusion. Be as succinct as you, don’t use five sentences when two will do. Express your points but don’t waffle.
How you expect the role to help you develop and your ambitions for the future
Now the recruiter is familiar with who you are and what experience you have, you can talk a little about what you expect from the role, how it will help you develop and what you anticipate going on to do in the future. This section is not just used to get a clearer picture of your ambitions, but also to see how committed you are to working in social care.
In order to show that you are truly committed to a career in social care, you should have an idea of how the experience you will gain should you be offered the job can influence your social care career. You could go on to be a senior care assistant, support worker or domiciliary team leader to name just a few roles. You could also go on to university to train to become a registered nurse or social worker.