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How to turn your dream job into a reality

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Follow a few simple tips to show a prospective employer why you are the best person for the job, says Sarah Snow.

So you’re ready to make your next move, but worried you’re not going to be successful in applying for your next job or that next step up the ladder. You need to approach the process with thoroughness and be methodical about it.

How do you strive to make sure your application form stands out from all the other hundreds that are received? In my experience, most candidates don’t submit a “bad” application – rather they submit one that has either been done in a hurry or clearly demonstrates that they haven’t done their homework first.

In particular, candidates have mixed success with their personal statement and tend to describe the skills they have without providing any evidence or proof that they can do what they claim.

Rather than just writing a long list, try to identify some of the key skills of the role that you are applying for and then relate them to your own experiences to date.

For example, you may consider communication, caring and compassion to be skills that are extremely relevant for a role that you are planning to apply for. To have a chance of being shortlisted, you must now support these attributes on paper with the relevant experience you have acquired to date. This might include volunteering in a residential home for adults with learning difficulties, or being a peer supporter, along with any professional experience that you have. For the sake of objectivity, it’s best never to include your personal experiences of caring for relatives.

Finally, remember that competition is fierce for lots of roles so don’t be disheartened if it takes a few attempts before you get shortlisted. It only takes one dream role, so keep at it.

And good luck.

Sarah Snow is a senior lecturer and admissions tutor, midwifery and Allied Health Sciences at the University of Worcester and author of Get into Nursing & Midwifery, which details how best to apply for a nursing and midwifery course.

How to write an effective application

  • Don’t use “text speak” or other inappropriate language in any written material you submit, including email. These are read by professional people who expect certain standards and want candidates who understand the nature of a professional job. Look at the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s code of conduct, if you’re not sure what these standards are
  • Find an objective person to read your personal statement, and check it for spelling mistakes and clarity of expression. It is best not to ask a friend or relative as they may find it hard to be totally honest. Ask a friend of a friend or someone else whom you know and trust to be objective
  • Avoid words that imply a value or judgement. Common culprits include “beautiful”, “miracle” and “life changing”; Instead use “significant”, “important” or “eventful”. Be objective – childbirth may have been “beautiful” for you, but that’s not necessarily the case for every woman. Don’t focus too much on personal experiences or emotional reasons
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