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Just the job

Use your working skills to enhance your application, says Janet Wright

When planning a career move, a physiotherapist’s everyday skills are useful. Research, for example, gives you an advantage. When you’ve found a vacancy that looks interesting, it’s worth finding out a bit more about the employer.

‘Look online,’ says Nicola Sherman, a senior recruitment consultant at recruitment agency Justphysio. ‘Do some reading up about the place you’re applying to. Have they got any special projects coming up? Are things changing at the trust?’

Not only can your research give you a better idea of what a job entails, but your well-informed comments may impress a prospective employer at interview.

But to reach interview stage, you may have to develop a new ability: to sell yourself. Your communication skills are essential here. Make your application (or CV and covering letter) as hard as possible for a shortlister to reject.

Follow instructions, lay it out clearly and concisely and use examples to demonstrate how you meet each criterion on the person specification.

‘If you are asked for a two-page CV, don’t submit anything more,’ says CSP professional adviser Pip White. ‘Employers may be looking for someone who can follow instructions and can also condense a lot of information into an easily accessible form.

‘Tailor your CV for every job. Think about which of your experiences highlights the skills that are needed for the job you’re applying for. And make sure you highlight what you did, not what your team was responsible for.’

Joining a CSP professional network (or ‘clinical interest group’ as they used to be called) can add weight to a brief work history, says CSP students’ officer Jamie Carson. On the other hand, if you have decades of experience, there’s no need to mention every course you’ve done.

On the application form, resist the temptation to cut and paste from previous applications, in case inappropriate details slip through. Check everything carefully before sending it.

Appropriate dress

A suit and freshly cleaned shoes are usual interview wear. But physios should check the setting.

‘If you are asked to undertake practical tasks, dress according to the correct clinical standards for that setting (which might be no jewellery or having arms bare from below the elbow)  and ask if you are not sure,’ says Pip.

Interview stage is where a physio’s people skills come to the fore, both in speaking easily and in winkling out any information you need about the job.

‘If you’re invited to an interview you’re already halfway there, because it means they’re interested in you,’ says Greg Wood, operations manager of Medacs Healthcare.

Drive home your advantage by showing you’re enthusiastic and have taken time to find out about the job.

Have at least five questions prepared, such as whether there are opportunities to specialise and what your caseload is likely to be.

‘Make sure you arrive 15 minutes early, so you are composed,’ he adds. ‘If you’re rushing you’re not prepared for the interview, and it always comes across.’

One last tip: make sure you have the offer of a new job in writing before you hand in your notice. fl

HOW TO WRITE YOUR CV

Organise your CV in simple headings, putting the most important points first, says CSP professional adviser Pip White.

For example:

  1. Professional education and qualifications
  2. Professional registrations
  3. Career history, with a few bullet points showing your key responsibilities
  4. Research and presentations
  5. Relevant continuing professional development.


Don’t include:

  • Secondary schooling and A-levels
  • Date of birth, marital status or children and dependants
  • Hobbies unless they are relevant or demonstrate useful skills that are not apparent from your work history.


about YOUR CONTRACT

‘Check the terms and conditions of any contract very carefully,’ warns the CSP’s Kate Moran.


‘Increasing numbers of NHS trusts are starting to offer terms and conditions to new staff that break away from the national Agenda for Change agreement.’

 This means you may be expected to work under different conditions from those of your colleagues.


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