Tag Archives: personal statement

Should you be looking for a new nursing job at the moment?

It’s the eternal question we all consider – is it the right time to be looking for a new job? Now more than ever that question has particular pertinence. Nursing is an industry with too many qualified staff and not enough qualified nursing positions, an NHS in the midst of a total overhaul, and recruitment bans, pay freezes and budget cuts throughout the entire country in both public and private sectors.

It’s a tough time for job security for those lucky enough to still have a nursing job, but for those newly qualified nurses trying to get starting in the industry it can be a terrifying time. However, I happen to think that the answer to the title of this post is yes, because it can’t do any harm as long as you go about it in a sensible way.

You can never be sure if a department is about to have a recruitment freeze, or if a job you like the look of will be advertised again in the future, so you have to enquire while the opportunity is there. It’s natural and in most cases necessary to look for a post that reflects your ever expanding experience with an increased salary or benefits, so don’t be afraid to send an enquiry because the worst that can happen is they say no. You don’t have to give away your referee details unless you’re about to verbally accept an offer of employment, so there’s no chance that your current employer could get wind of your job hunting unless you want them to.

It’s an uncertain time for nurses, with many newly qualified nurses turning to the private sector for nursing positions that come with a preceptorship – the competition can be fierce. But whether you have a career of nursing experience behind you or are a newly qualified nurse straight out of uni, you still need to make sure your CV, covering letter and personal statement are as great as they can be. We publish plenty of tips and advice on how to do this in our nursing careers section, but it’s important to say that applying for jobs with the aim of being successful is more time consuming than simply sending off the same personal statement and CV with every application.

Recruiters are time poor so it’s in your interest to create a CV that delivers enough detail for them to decide if you are suitable for the job in a simple, clear layout. Someone reading your CV doesn’t want to have to figure out whether you have the right experience or not, they want to be told and shown evidence to back it up. If you’re completely in the dark about where to begin or haven’t updated your CV in years, why not start with our guide to updating your nursing CV.

How to write a nursing personal statement for your first nurse job application

When you’re a third year student nurse you’ve got enough on your plate without worrying about your first personal statement. But with NHS nursing jobs few and far between in some trusts, it’s important to write the best possible job application and personal statement. So rather then spend lots of your precious time working on countless drafts, follow our quick guide below to a great personal statement.

1. Download the job description and person specification for the nursing job you want to go for. Then write a list of how you fulfill each of the essential and as many of the desirable criteria as possible. It’s important to explain within your personal statement why you are the ideal candidate for the job, and how perfectly you fit the required criteria. Even if they have listed a competency that you don’t currently possess, indicating that you are willing and able to undertake plenty of CPD activities is hugely important.

2. Think about your nursing course and placement experiences, especially if you’ve worked in the kind of environment you’re applying for. If you’ve been lucky enough to work on the very ward you’re applying for or in a similar ward at another trust then you’ve got first hand experience of the job you’re applying for. Even if you don’t have first hand knowledge of the working environment, your placement experience is still some of the most valuable nursing experience you can put into your personal statement.

3. Look back over the reflections you’ve completed throughout your nursing course. Is there a particular incident you can identify which presented a learning opportunity you would not have otherwise had? It’s important to write in your personal statement how you have grown into a nurse, and reflection is a good way to do this. Remember not to waffle, but use your reflections to back up your competency as a nurse.

4. Finally, you have to put it all together. Organise all the notes you’ve made while following this guide into an order you can use to construct your personal statement. It should flow well with any claims you make backed up by experience, qualification or reflection. Take some time to decide how you are going to start and finish – these parts of the personal statement are just as important. Finish with a summary reminding them how well you would fit the position to ensure they finishing reading it with a positive impression of you.

5 quick top tips for a great nursing job application

If you’re thinking of looking for a new nursing job, then January can be a great time to look. Lots of recruiters are poised for the usual rush of nurses looking for new jobs, but if you’re having trouble finding exactly the right job for you, don’t worry, we can help. Here’s the guide to a cracking application that will ensure you get that job.

1. Search for specifics A great nursing job application begins with the search. Searching for jobs that match your experience, qualifications, current experience and desired location will give you a small but very relevant list of jobs that you can apply for. It’s easy to feel bombarded by pages and pages of listings, so eliminate the ones that aren’t relevant to you by performing a targeted search.

2. Get your CV up to scratch Simply relying on the last CV you constructed to get you selected for an interview this time around is foolish. You need to make sure your current employment details, experience and professional development information is up to date and as detailed as possible. Play around with the layout if you need more space, remember the older stuff can take more of a back seat the further into your career you are.

3. Simple but effective cover letter This is easier said that done, but remember the CV and the cover letter do totally different jobs. In the case of online applications the cover letter must entice the recruiter into opening your CV, and then your CV confirms your suitability for the job. So your cover letter needs to sizzle with relevant skills, experience and how well you match the person description for the job.

4. Be available on your phone and email It’s no good putting all of this effort into a killer job application and then not being available by email or phone to talk with whoever responds to your application. Even if you can’t take a call at the time, make sure you return it within 24 hours. It’s just good manners, if someone is interested in you then it’s good practice to contact them in a timely manner.

5. Be flexible with interview times This is one the trickiest parts of all, and an age old dilemma. The interview will most likely be in office hours, which is when you should probably be at work too. Everyone appreciates it’s tough to arrange an interview time, but at the end of the day if you want the job you have to make it happen. Give the recruiter a couple of options for scheduling it, and be sure to confirm you’ve got the time off work as soon as you know when it’s going to be.

Top 5 tips on how to use the year’s experience in your nursing personal statement

Whether you’re applying for a nursing degree course or your first nursing job, every experience you have from either work or volunteering is relevant to your personal statement. It’s who you are as a person and your life experience so far that will make you a great nurse.

Here’s 5 simple steps you can take to update your personal statement with new experience. You may think you’ve not achieved a great deal in the year, but that’s often far from accurate.

1. Make the most of new skills

Think about everything you’ve achieved in the past year, whether that’s new nursing competencies because you’ve completed a professional development course or better communication skills through working with a different group of people, they are all relevant. Make sure when you reference your new skills in your personal statement, you apply them to the nursing course or job you are applying for.

2. Give details of voluntary work

If you’ve worked as a volunteer with any group of society, that experience is valuable on your personal statement. Working with the elderly, children or vulnerable adults is great for a social care personal statement, but it’s also great for nursing. A large part of being a nurse if being able to communicate with anyone who is in your care to understand their needs and how you can best help them. The fact that you’ve worked as a volunteer is also to your credit, because it shows commitment to the care of other people, which is essential to demonstrate in your nursing personal statement.

3.  Analyse new responsibilities in your work

Whether you’re already working as a nurse, or you’re working in another industry applying for a nursing course, any new responsibilities you’ve taken on outside your original job description can be used in your personal statement. If you’ve volunteered to manage new tasks in addition to your current job role, then you definitely need to mention how that has enhanced your capabilities as a nurse or potential student nurse.

4. Look at your progress from last year

Reflecting on your progress over the past year, or since you qualified as a nurse will always help to remind you just how far you’ve come. Using a simple reflection model, such as Gibbs Reflection Model, can give you a framework in which you can analyse your performance throughout the year. Compare your progress to reflections completed in the past or keep this as your starting point for your career in nursing. When you’ve identified the improvements you’ve made, or could make, use this in your personal statement.

5. Grow your ambition

Ambition for the future is essential, and a great way to demonstrate your nursing career plans is to go into detail about your professional development ideas. Nurses are always expected to enhance their skill base and complete professional development courses to increase their range of competencies. Even if you’re not yet a nurse it’s important to show you understand that lifelong learning is an essential part of nursing.

Get your nursing degree course application in through UCAS asap

If you’re planning to apply to a nursing degree course for entry in September 2011, you definitely need to get your application in asap. Some universities have a deadline of 15th January 2011, and while others will accept late entries you don’t want to find yourself without a place. Nursing is a highly competitive course to be accepted on, and while there’s no reason you shouldn’t get a place if you put the effort in, it’s better to apply sooner rather than later.

Use the Christmas holiday to work on your personal statement until you’re completely happy with it. It should speak in a flowing but detailed way about who you are and why you want to become  a nurse. Make sure you make it clear that you understand the role of a nurse in the branch you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying to mental health branch make sure you tailor your personal statement to reflect that. It’s important to convey your understanding of the industry and your commitment to working in it after your training. Universities don’t want to waste places on people who aren’t fully committed to becoming a nurse at the end of the course.

If you need some detailed advice about how to write a personal statement for a nursing course application, you can check out the link and the article will take you through the whole process.


How to write a nursing personal statement if you’ve just qualified as a nurse

Competition for newly qualified nursing jobs is intense at the moment, so you want to be sure that your application stands out. A killer personal statement is a great way to do this, but it takes time to compose and is a one-time use only document. Don’t ever recycle them – it shows a real lack of commitment to the post if you can’t be bothered to re-write your personal statement for the application.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you’ve never worked as a fully qualified registered nurse before that you have no experience, it’s not true. You have tons of nursing experience, you just need to make the most of it in your personal statement. A good way to start is to get hold of the job description and person specification for the nursing job you’re applying for, and compare it with the nursing skills you do have.

If you’ve completed a placement on the ward you’re applying for, or even in the same type of department in another area that’s definitely something to draw attention to. Refer to the learning outcomes you achieved and the specific skills you gained, developed and then used effectively in your role as a student nurse. It’s your particular skill set that will get you an interview and ultimately the job over another newly qualified nurse.

If you want to read more detail about how to structure a nursing personal statement, you can read the full article:

How to write a nursing personal statement for your first nurse job application


How to write a personal statement to get on a nursing course

Just finished a new article on Nurses.co.uk that should help out any aspiring student nurses with their personal statement and application.

Writing a personal statement that’s tailored to getting you an interview for a place on a nursing course can be quite tricky. Especially if you have no experience and have never worked in healthcare before. But that’s where we can help. This article will help you turn skills and experience not acquired in healthcare into qualities that are not only relevant for nursing, they are essential.

Any experience that has helped you gain communication, interpersonal or organisational skills is important, just is any care experience you have from your family or friends. In lots of cases people are inspired for apply for nursing courses on the back of experiences they’ve had with their parents, grandparents or children.

You can read the whole article here for a step by step guide to writing a personal statement for a nursing course application.

Is your nurse CV working hard enough at getting your next nursing job?

Anyone working as a nurse in the NHS or the private sector will know just how desperately acute the nursing staff shortage it, so you might think that when the time comes to look for a new role in nursing, there will be lots of vacancies to pick from. You may also imagine that as a fully qualified and experienced nurse, you would easily be successful in finding a new position. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

We see hundreds of CVs from Nurses all across the country at varying stages in their careers, and some are so poorley formatted it’s almost impossible for a recruiter to even see the quality of candidate they are looking at. Despite the industry being incredibly candidate focussed at the moment, a recruiter won’t bother with your CV if they can’t immediately see who you are, what your experience is, and whether or not your registered with the NMC or ABA.

To make sure your CV is working as hard as it possibly can for you, there are a couple of quick checks you can try. Take a copy of your CV, turn it over so you can’t see it and leave it for a while so you’ve forgotten the layout. When you turn it over again, test if you can find your name, nursing qualification and current job title inside 5 seconds. If you can, chances are you’ve almost got it right but you can still brush up on the layout by following our CV guide. If you can’t then there is some serious redesigning to be done.

Here are some quick points you can follow:

  1. Make sure your name, NMC / ABA pin number, phone number, email address are at the very top
  2. Then state your current nursing role and years in the position, also include a brief description of your duties.
  3. Next all professional development courses completed and date
  4. Then nursing qualification, when, where and level qualified at
  5. Then everything else

The top 4 points are what interest a recruiter the most, and if they can’t immediately get this from your CV it’s unlikely they will spend the time trying to unpick the words you’ve written to understand whether or not you are a suitably qualified nurse for the position they have.

What steps to take if your nursing job application keeps being rejected?

Do you find that even though you work really hard at each job application, you just end up on the rejected pile? Is there anything you can do to overcome this and actually get offered an interview? Well, I think there is.

The first most important thing to do is to get feedback about why they rejected your application. This is much easier said than done, but if you can find out whether they simply needed a different skill set or whether it was something about your application, you’ve got somewhere to start from. Unfortunately no amount of blood, sweat and tears can change the outcome if they simply needed different skills to yours, that’s sometimes just how it is. But if it was something in your application that put them off, ask them about it, get an example out of them of what they would like to have seen, and ask them why it was a negative point against you.

A really common reason that an application is rejected is because of a lack of clarity. An employer needs to know who you are, what you’ve done and what skills you have all in a quick glance at your CV. For example, if there are years when you were unemployed, explain how you spent your time, what you learned and emphasise that it just made you more determined to reach your goals. If there was a job you only did for a matter or days / weeks / months, explain why it wasn’t right for you, what you learned and how you’ve used it to your advantage to make career choices going forward.

The same principle goes when writing your personal statement for a uni application, eg. if you only got average grades that were lower than predicted, explain why and what you’ve learned from the process of studying, revising and exams. Explain how you plan to fulfill your goals for the future and what you can take forward from the experience.

The basic rule of thumb is to explain anything that might look confusing or unclear in a positive and reflective way. A recruiter would much rather see that you’ve learned from the experience and know your own mind than someone who hasn’t addressed the issue at all.

Daily Tip #3: Plan the perfect personal statement

Your personal statement is one of your biggest assets. The difference between a great one and average one can be the difference between you getting the job / place and not, so it’s worth putting the time into it. A good idea is to draft out some ideas of elements you want to include, don’t worry about the order first off. Think about why you want to apply for that branch of nursing (student or NQ), what qualities you have that suit the role / course, what experience (voluntary / personal / paid) do you have that’s relevant. Then draft it out into a logical order, give examples of practical applications of your skills and most of all let your passion shine through. After that, proof read and proof read again!