If you’re stuck in a rut with applying for jobs and not getting to interview, this article will help. An up to date and effective nursing career profile can get your CV into the right hands and get you that all important interview. About Matt Farrah - follow me on Google+

Applying for jobs online is now a common place, but if you’re unsure of how the system works, it can be difficult to make sure your CV gets noticed. Online applications are now so easy to send it unfortunately means that your excellent application can sometimes be obscured by someone unqualified or inexperienced who has also applied. While many job boards offer the recruiter ways to filter out these applicants, it does mean the recruiter’s short amount of time for looking at applications and CVs is diluted.

There are things you can do to minimise the chance of your CV and application being overlooked, and using these simple steps you can tailor your CV and career profile to the recruiter’s needs.

How does applying online work

It’s very different to applying on paper, so here’s the basics of how applying to an online job advert works:

1. You register with the site that has jobs you’re interested in applying for. There is always a candidate registration process to go through, which can up to about 10 minutes to complete it effectively, but it’s worth taking your time over.

2. When you find a job you want to apply for, open up the webpage with the job showing on it. At the bottom of the job description there is an ‘Apply’ button. Simply click that button to begin applying for that job.

3. If you’re already logged in to the site you will be able to proceed immediately with your application, if you’re not you must log in first but you will prompted to do this. Once you are logged in a cover letter box will appear on the application page. Fill this in with a summary of your experience, why you are suited to the job and ask the recruiter to contact you about the role. Then click submit at the bottom of the page, and that’s your application done!

4. Once you click that submit button your CV, career profile and cover letter are all sent directly to the person that posted that job. Each recruiter at a company has their own email address that applications are sent to, so your application gets right into the inbox of the relevant person.

5. The recruiter receives the email with a summary of all your information and your CV as an attachment. This is the first impression they get of you as a candidate so it’s important that your spelling is accurate and that most importantly your details are up to date. This is why it’s so essential your career profile is up to date, but we’ll cover that in the next part of the article.

6. The recruiter will then contact you, usually by phone in the first instance, to discuss the job further. If you aren’t available when they call, make sure your have a voicemail or answering machine so they can leave a message with you. You should always try to return their call within 24 hours, even if it’s just to let them know you’ve already found a job. It’s up to the recruiter to contact you to take your application forward, so until they respond to begin the process you remain a potential candidate and are not committed to anything.

How to put together the best possible career profile

Your career profile contains the first pieces of information that a recruiter will see about you when you apply for their job. It’s essential that you capture their attention in the first few seconds of seeing your career profile, so highlighting skills you have that are relevant to the position is a must. Draw on key phrases that summarise your experience such as ‘NMC registered nurse’, ‘5 years clinical experience’ or ‘venipuncture course’.

The career profile page on offers you the chance to select career options from a list, as well as write a summary of your experience. You can login here to make changes to your career profile as you read this article.

Profile Name: Always think about words that will entice the recruiter to read your application, so a profile entitled ‘nurse CV’ isn’t really as descriptive as it could be, although it is significantly better than the title ‘my profile’. Try to be as descriptive as you can with, for example ‘RMN CAMHS mental health nurse’.

Current level: Be realistic with your selection here. If you are qualified, then select it, but if you’re not please don’t. It will be frustrating for the recruiter and then consequently for you when they can’t offer you a position because you mis-stated that you were qualified.

Current job sector: Select sectors that are most relevant for your current experience. If you can’t find a nursing sector that exactly matches your role, then pick the closest match. It’s better to select something that’s similar to your current job sector than nothing at all.

Current job title: Be as descriptive as you can here. It doesn’t have to be exactly what your contract says if there is a better way of describing your job. For example, you could be a bank nurse, but be working regular bank shifts on a surgical admission unit, so you could write your job title as Bank Nurse on SAU (surgical admissions).

Current Organisation Type: Again be as descriptive as you can. Don’t just settle for putting NHS or Private, enter the full NHS trust name or the company name if you’re in the private sector. This adds a great deal of authenticity and value to your application.

Years in this kind of job: Exactly as it sounds. Always round up if you’re over half way through a year, or down if you’re under half way through a year.

Are you qualified: Yes or No - very simple! If you are a student nurse and have just finished your course but not yet graduated, you can select yes.

Words about you: Possibly the most important part of the career profile. Think of this as similar to your personal profile from your CV, but whatever you do don’t just copy and paste! Use this area to highlight your key skills, professional development courses and everything you are qualified to do or have experience in that is relevant to the job you’re applying for. Imagine you have 30 seconds to tell a recruiter why you’re perfect for the role and write it in this box.

Total years in healthcare: Very simple - select a number from the drop down list

Are you registered with a regulating body: Again, an easy yes or no selection. The only exception to the rule is for student nurses who have just graduated and are awaiting their pin. I would suggest that you select yes because there are no barriers to your registration, you’re just waiting for the paperwork to be processed. By selecting no it can make the recruiter less inclined to read your application,

Once you’ve completed all the fields above on the career profile, you can proceed to the second section which is all about your requirements. It’s important you select your desired locations accurately because the recruiter will see which areas you are willing to work in.

The third section on the career profile page concerns uploading your CV. If you need more info about writing a great CV you can check out our article - Build your nursing CV, step by step guide. Once you’re happy with how it looks, and that it portrays all of the skills you have in a clear and accessible way, then you can upload it to your career profile. Accepted file formats are pdf, doc, docx, rtf and txt. Any other file types can’t be uploaded so you will need to change your CV into an accepted file type. Nearly all PCs and Macs are capable of this using the ‘save as’ function in your word processing package.

And that’s your career profile completed, and it will be ready and waiting for you to use whenever you want to apply for a nursing or social care job online.

Image: Andy Newson /