It’s fair to say most of us have had some experience of sending off applications for jobs, only to never hear anything back! But with the correct care and time, and using One Stop Social’s top tips, you can almost guarantee yourself an interview.
Jobs in Social Work and Social Care are highly competitive, so when applying to a job, it’s vital you approach it in the correct way. By keeping the following tips in mind when applying for jobs, you will stand a much higher chance of securing an interview.
Understanding the role
Before amending your CV or filling in your application form, make sure that you clearly understand the position and role you’re applying for. This may sound obvious, but be sure to read the job description and specification a few times to comprehend what is actually being asked from the employer. If the ‘Essential’ criteria state the you need something in particular such as ‘3 years social work experience with Mental Health’ or a certain prerequisite you don’t hold – don’t bother applying. ‘Essential’ means exactly what it says, they will not shortlist anyone who doesn’t have this essential qualification, skill or experience. However words like ‘or equivalent’ provide you with more flexibility to prove it.
Top Tip: Pick out any key words that really stand out and highlight them ‒ this will help you to tailor your application to the precise job.
Tailoring your application
Employers are only interested in experience and skills that are relevant to the role for which they’re recruiting, so teasing out the most relevant aspects of your own skills, knowledge and experience to focus your application will demonstrate that you are a good candidate. If you’re applying on an application form, you may be asked to submit a written statement outlining what it is that makes you a good fit for the role. Keep the person specification in mind, think about any keywords you picked out, quote them and demonstrate with examples of how you meet these, highlighting relevant skills and experience.
Even if applying for a job requiring an application form, you may also be asked to submit a CV in support of your application. Tailor your CV in the same way as you would an application form or written statement, making sure that everything you include is relevant to the role you’re applying for. Try to keep your CV to 1-2 pages maximum!
Give yourself time
There has been particularly tough competition for social work positions in recent years, especially for roles with local authorities. Take time over your applications to give yourself the best possible chance of success. Don’t leave them to the last minute. If you’re completing an application form, be mindful of the word counts given for each response. Work on your answers in a word processing application first so that you can spellcheck and proofread them carefully before pasting them in.
Finally – stay calm, be clear and good luck!