The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system in the United Kingdom. With over 1.5 million employees, the NHS is one of the world’s largest employers. From nurses and doctors to administrators and IT professionals, the NHS has a vast array of jobs available across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.If you’re looking to launch or further a career in healthcare, working for the NHS can be extremely rewarding.
However, with so many applicants for every position, you need to make your CV stand out. This article will guide you through optimizing your CV, setting up an NHS Jobs account, obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS), and applying for your dream NHS job.
Optimize Your CV for NHS Job Applications
When preparing your CV for NHS positions, focus on how your skills, qualifications and experience align with the role and demonstrate your passion for public healthcare.
Follow these tips:
Highlight Relevant Skills and Experience
Carefully read through the job description and person specification, taking note of the essential and desirable criteria. Tailor your CV to show how you meet the specific requirements for that particular role. Use the same keywords and terminology stated in the advert.
Emphasize Healthcare Experience
Clearly showcase any NHS or other healthcare experience at the top of your CV. Describe responsibilities held, departments worked in, achievements gained, and knowledge acquired. Quantify results and impact wherever possible.
Structure and Format for Skimmability
NHS recruiters spend just 7 seconds scanning each CV. Use clean fonts, bullet points, headings, white space and short paragraphs to help key information stand out. Use reverse chronological order, with your most recent experience first.
Convey Passion and Motivation
Demonstrate your commitment to high quality healthcare and public service. The NHS Constitution highlights important values like working together for patients, respect and dignity, commitment to quality of care. Reflect these values in your CV.
Check for Errors
Carefully proofread for any mistakes in spelling, grammar, formatting or inconsistencies. Ask someone else to check over your CV too for a fresh perspective. Following NHS CV tips and rules will make your application more compelling and targeted.
Set Up an NHS Jobs Account
The NHS Jobs website advertises all public health service roles in the UK. Setting up your account only takes a few minutes:
- Go to www.jobs.nhs.uk
- Select “Create account”
- Enter your email address and create a password
- Agree to terms and conditions
- Verify your email address by clicking the activation link sent to your inbox
Once your account is activated, you can save and apply for NHS jobs. Setting up job alerts is also recommended, so suitable new vacancies get emailed straight to you.
Understanding Certificates of Sponsorship
As the NHS is a public sector organization, most positions need sponsorship to employ candidates from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. This means obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS).What is a COS?
- Allows applicants from overseas to apply for a Skilled Worker visa
- Confirms the NHS employer is sponsoring your role
- Shows you meet eligibility and immigration rules
- Issued if no suitable settled workers can fill the post
Each NHS employer has a limited number of COS available. So obtaining one is competitive. However, by crafting an exceptional CV and application, you can stand out from the crowd.
Find Current NHS Vacancies
The NHS Jobs site lets you browse open positions by:
- Location – Choose your preferred English region, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
- Type – Search job types like administrative, allied health professionals, estates or IT
- Department – Filter by department such as adult social care, public health or surgery
Use these filters to find suitable openings matching your background and interests. Sign up for job alerts so new vacancies get emailed to you too.
Submit Targeted NHS Applications
When you find an NHS job to apply for:
- Carefully read the full advert and specifications
- Relate your skills, achievements and experience directly to the role in your application
- Demonstrate your passion and motivation for working in healthcare
- Mention if you already have the right to work in the UK
- Use any contacts you may have at that NHS organization
- Prepare thoroughly for situational judgement and competency-based interview questions
Submitting focused, well-written applications increases your chances of landing that all-important Certificate of Sponsorship.
If finding an immediate NHS vacancy with sponsorship proves challenging, consider:
- Volunteering – Boosts experience and contacts. Some NHS trusts have formal volunteer programs.
- Bank work – Flexible paid roles to cover staff shortages. May transition into permanent jobs.
- Post-graduate training – Studying in the UK enables applying for graduate NHS posts.
- Social care – Can facilitate eventual transfer into NHS positions.
Getting your foot in the door through alternative routes can open up more opportunities.
Offer Added Value
Demonstrate to NHS employers how your skills, experience and commitment will enhance patient services:
- Highlight where you can plug urgent skills gaps
- Bring a fresh perspective from different healthcare systems
- Spearhead improvements in quality of care and efficiency
- Introduce latest best practices and innovations
- Support diversity, equality and inclusion strategies
Emphasizing your added value will make you a more attractive candidate for NHS roles requiring sponsorship.
Prepare for Interviews
Should you be invited for an NHS interview, prepare thoroughly as the competition will be fierce:
- Research the healthcare organization, department and role
- Revise your application form and CV
- Rehearse answers to common NHS interview questions
- Prepare examples meeting the person specification
- Plan sensible questions to ask the panel
- Dress professionally and show genuine enthusiasm
Use the interview to demonstrate your passion for patient care and working within the NHS.
It takes dedication and persistence to secure an NHS job, particularly needing visa sponsorship. But by:
- Optimizing your CV specifically for each role
- Gaining relevant skills, qualifications and experience
- Making highly targeted, well-written applications
- Preparing thoroughly for the selection process
You’ll give yourself the best possible chance of beating the competition and landing your dream NHS job.Good luck! Your healthcare career awaits.
- Professionally written CV Samples for UK Nurses: This article provides a checklist, tips, and examples for writing a CV for nurses who want to work in the UK.
- CV for Nurses: How to Write a Brilliant CV for Nursing Job Applications As A Nurse: This article explains the difference between a CV and a resume, and how to tailor your CV to the specific nursing job you are applying for.
- 5 Resume Mistakes You MUST Avoid (with real examples) as a Nurse: This article identifies some common resume errors that nurses make, and how to avoid them or fix them.