Struggling for CV ideas now it is time to go back to work?

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If we all chip in together maybe we can help each other get back into the workplace and more importantly recognize our skills.

In my formative years in education before I got to the managerial stages I used to teach people who had been out of work for a long time (usually not carers to be honest) how to get back into work. While many actually didn't want work I began to see a pattern in those who had cared - they couldn't see their own worth and had lost self confidence so I asked the bosses if we could set up a course just for them.

When we put a board up and started to list all the things they did and then put that into employment language you could see the change in their self perception gradually emerging as they began to realise just how many skills they had that were transferrable and current.

Every single one of them went into work and not one of them was under 55. We were absolutely over the moon for them. I can't remember all the jobs they went into but I know among them were Health Care Assistant (which quite frankly I would have avoided at all costs) One became a PA and she was brilliant at it. One employer came back to us and asked if we had any more ex carers because he couldn't believe their willingness to go the extra mile. Well ladies and gents that is what we do every day of the week so put it in your cv

To anyone who needs it please feel free to cut and paste anything I post and I would love everyone to allow that cutting and pasting too please. xxxx


One word of advice I would always give to anyone writing a CV is once you have written it just check how many paragraphs begin with the word I - as someone who read them in latter years it started to become a pet hate of mine. If you want to avoid that happening in your CV a good tip is to start the the paragraph with a quality you have:-

Rather than say I am an organised person and I have ....and I .... well you get the picture


As an organised (wo)man with a mature approach to work I have ......

You haven't said you're older but you have said your approach is mature but you have also said you are organised before you even start on the I part

Read the list of essential criteria for the job - if it is essential then you MUST have it and you probably do but not necessarily in the way you see it.

In the next few posts lets have a look at some common ones and see whether you have those skills and how you can display them to show you at your best
Excellent team working skills with the ability to work collaboratively and co-operatively with colleagues.

This is one you have in bucket loads.

So you now have to show them what you did generally and then give an example that will prove to them that you have those skills

Provision of full time care for someone with complex and multiple disabilities requires a mature approach and requires complex team working skills within a multidisciplinary environment. As a full time care, my role was to establish my mothers needs, plan carefully the care that I could do and establish what professional support was available to access should I need assistance. While for the most part others were assisting me, I learned new techniques to support those who assisted me and thereby shared the load.

I was part of a team of carers for my mother that included a range of disciplines from consultant surgeons through legal professionals to domiciliary care and it was essential that the timing of meetings and visits was well coordinated so that every person in the team felt valued.

Keeping the lines of communication open was essential for this and much of the liaison was conducted via email diaries or by telephone so it was essential that I kept an electronic diary to ensure I did not double book or miss appointments which would have been costly and also would have let others down.

NOW give an example

Ability to organise and plan own work.

Again easy peasy if you handle it right

In the role of carer, organisation, planning and structure is critical to the day to day function of the role. Planning for the care of someone with dementia means that you have to be able to adjust your daily routine at a moment's notice so it is important that when planning your work you also prioritise the work in a way that will allow some flex.

In this role I devised a base plan of duties that needed to be done and when they had to be done by on a spreadsheet so for example Medicines had to be checked administered and recorded at very specific times so these were high priority on my list and coded in red - they were not movable in any way. Equally important were hospital appointments which were held monthly but with different teams that could mean 6 or 7 appointments a month. In my planner I placed coloured bands so that when I was arranging appointments I knew I had slots available with travel time included and space for sudden changes in plans on arrival. I am proud to say that no appointment was ever missed despite unexpected changes requiring further X-rays examinations etcetera.

While more mundane chores may seem less important I recognised that others were involved in these processes too and they also need to be valued. To meet their needs, I made very specific arrangements and alternative arrangements so that access to the house could be gained in order for domiciliary work to be continued as per contract

When plans had to be changed suddenly through illness or accident I had the email addresses of all the people involved in my mothers care so that I could keep them in the loop with regard to the current situation and any change to existing plans.

In addition I also recorded all my care and that of others so that I could review it regularly and make improvements. One specific case following a domiciliary losing a key (which resulted in a requirement to change locks and provide new keys) involved me using key pad locks on the doors so that trusted staff could gain access to the house without the worry of lost keys.
Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to ensure effective communication with a wide range of contacts both internal and external to the Corporation.

OK so immediately you think eeeeeek I don't work in a corporation and this is a specific ploy to see whether you are thrown by it. DONT BE

You have had to take on board a whole host of information that allows you to understand your LO care and their needs as they have changed over time. You have had to maintain records of tel numbers that change seemingly every other day and have had to be authoritative to people who you never thought you could be that way with so say so. Conversely you have had to stay calm and supportive to your mother who NEEDED you to be her mainstay her protector and to handle others coming into your house so you have a range of skills and approaches that you can use to exemplify your skills here

An essential role of the Power of Attorney and full time carer is to ensure that all parties involved in carer are kept fully informed of plans and changes to plans as well as access to all or part of the records kept and in a timely manner. To meet this need I kept records of all people involve and their full contact details. Since these change regularly I also updated them and reviewed them monthly for currency. When using email I was careful to encrypt confidential emails or password attachments and sent the password via a separate email. In this way confidential information is managed appropriately.

Where reports were being sent I endeavoured to bullet point the key issues. As I am aware that many see a plethora of emails some of which are sent in blanket format, I do this so people can recognise immediately that the email is relevant for them. I used bcc and cc as appropriate and adjust priority depending on the urgency.

Although I use email mainly I also follow up with texts to ensure that those who may not have access to emails are also kept informed of changes that will affect them.

As part of my role I have had, on occasion to speak with people regarding a variety of issues. Having seen a poor standard of care for my mother in a care setting I spoke immediately to the care manager and insisted calmly and professionally with supporting evidence and requested that changes to be made...they were made immediately. At the same time I needed to keep my mother calm and so using soft tones I spoke gently with her to make sure she knew I was looking after her and protecting her. Equally when dissatisfied with a doctor's opinion I asserted my mother's rights to accessing a second opinion and was glad we did because an underlying condition was found that would have been life threatening had it gone unnoticed.

I have found that politeness but with a confident positive approach most things can be achieved. Additionally I try to always have alternative suggestions in my repertoire should I meet obstacles as I know some people cannot easily see how change will be effective; something that I embraced as it was key to good care.

It doesn't match perfectly but it is damned close and shows your ability to communicate across a range of people and in a range of ways

Ability to assimilate written and verbal communication quickly

Well I don't need to tell you that you have done this every darned day of your life from checking the notes on the medication re side effects, listening to doctors nurses accountants etc and acting on their wishes/instructions. Doing your own research and coming up with potential solutions that you can put in front of people. There are lots of examples you can use

Demonstration of the ability to work under sustained pressure and to tight deadlines.

Hmm do I need to mention this one at all? You need to explain the repetitive nature of dementia and the sustained pressure that that alone can place upon you especially in getting people to do what you need them to do like eat, take meds, stand sit get dressed go to the loo and how that really comes into effect when you have to get to appointments. Again perfect planning and prep essential so you can find a whole host of examples (don't mention toilet say personal hygeine)
A flexible, pro-active approach to work including the ability to prioritise and re-prioritise to achieve successful outcomes.

Well you have covered this before but a second example wouldn't go amiss
Ability to work on own initiative.

Ability to deal with sensitive information with discretion and to maintain confidentiality at all times.

Again covered before but give additional examples just to be sure you nail this
Excellent IT skills including working knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software packages, preferably Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Now if you don't have these you will need to get themMost are easily acquired and I suspect word is already under your belt but don check your work for spelling errors and don't use spell check.

Years and years ago when doing some research into sexual norms I asked 4 groups questioned and then compared and contrasted my results. I didn't check properly and was surprised by my tutor's comments when he wrote hmmm an interesting but unethical way to conduct research!!!! What could he mean then I realised that I had used auto correct and it had turned grupo to group but gropu to grope so I had said When I moved from Group 1 to Grope 4.... very very embarrassing!
By the way if you can say yes to all of the above then you can be a PA to a Middle manager

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