If you’ve read through our career paths guide and you’re convinced that care work is the right profession for you, then it’s time to put some work into applying for jobs.
We’ve got lots of entry-level positions advertised in our “Jobs” section, so read through the job descriptions to get an idea of what the recruiters are looking for.
Lots of home care companies are looking for your personal experience of working in the care sector, but if you haven’t yet managed to acquire any, don’t worry as more and more employers are using value-based recruitment to identify candidates with the rights values and attributes to work in social care.
With that in mind, how do you get on that first rung of the ladder?
You can also apply for a care assistant role directly companies provide on induction training linked to the care certificate.
Here are some extra tips to help you gain that edge during your job search.
Be clear about why you want to work in care
Not everyone is cut out for this line of work. It takes a very selfless person and many times, it’s people who have cared for loved ones who later become carers. Do you have a personal story or motivation reason for wanting to care for others? If so, share it in your cover letter and in the interview, because it shows that you have empathy and compassion, two essential qualities the recruiter will be looking for.
Research the company
You don’t need to spend hours and hours reading every press release they’ve ever published, but spend some time on their website, especially the About page. Find out their values and refer to these when you approach your cover letter and interview questions. Also, read up on their mission statement, make a note of the main points and find out about the history of the company and its founder. Show how you are aligned to its values as the company will be looking for staff who exhibit these on a daily basis. Also, take the time to check out the services on offer. Follow any social media accounts to get an idea of the personality of the brand. This way, you may find videos featuring people who work there so you can get to know their faces before you even set foot in their office.
Read the news
It’s essential to keep an eye on current news stories involving the care sector, so do a search on Google and switch to the “News” tab to see what the latest headlines are. Read through a few pieces and you’ll be equipped with a basic understanding of current challenges and technological advances. Also have a look at some sector-specific sites such as:
These sites will offer you the latest insights from those working in care and you will impress if you can converse about them.
Understand a few key concepts
No-one’s expecting you to be an expert at this stage but it raises you above your competition if you have a basic knowledge of a few principles that are often referred to in the sector.
We recommend you spend some time getting to know the following:
- What is and what is not personal care
- The main aim of domiciliary care: to help people stay at home and independent as long as possible.
- The different kinds of care that fall under “domiciliary care” e.g. dementia care, personal care, palliative care
- Person-centred care: letting the service user be involved in deciding their care plan and coming up with a package that’s right for them
- Confidentiality – Keeping people’s data private and secure
- Safeguarding – Protecting vulnerable people
A few final tips…
These are rather obvious, but it’s worth reiterating some universal guidelines for anyone attending a job interview
Always look how you want to be perceived. If you can’t take care of yourself, how can you be expected to take care of others? Iron your clothes, polish your shoes and make sure your personal appearance is presentable.
Get to your interview with 15 minutes to spare. Do a recce the day before if you’re not sure where it is you’re going to avoid any journey mishaps on the day.
Show you’re teachable and willing to learn. Care providers want to see that you’re committed and prepared to take any qualifications and training they offer you. This, in turn, will help you progress up the career ladder.
Also, care work is not 9-5, services are built around the needs of people and many operate a 24hour 7 day a week service. You may also have to sometimes work additional hours to cover planned and unplanned leave. It’s important that you can demonstrate how you can be flexible to help out your colleagues and service users when needed.
Show you care
If you don’t care about people, you shouldn’t apply. There are plenty of other jobs out there for those who don’t enjoy spending time with people, so only become a carer if you feel genuine compassion towards the people you’re going to be assisting. If you follow the tips set out above, you’ll be able to demonstrate a willing heart.
Now go and dust off that CV and get applying.