Social care professionals have all been in a job where we know we’re overqualified or have developed a great set of skills that means we’d be able to apply for a more senior position.

However, taking that leap of faith and putting yourself out there at an interview can be nerve-wracking. Still, it’s a good kind of nerves and all-important to recognise when you are ready to progress to the next step in your career.

There are so many factors to consider:

  • Do you apply for an internal promotion or start somewhere new?
  • How can you showcase your experience on a CV that stands out from the crowd?
  • Should you choose positions in the same sector or branch out?
  • How do you know you’re qualified enough for an advertised vacancy?

Add to those questions a bundle of anxiety about handing in your notice and establishing yourself in a brand new team. It’s easy to put progression on the back burner in favour of staying where you’re comfortable.

BUT you must take opportunities when they arise and be proactive about moving forward – after all, amazing jobs don’t land in our laps very often!

Let’s look at five tips from the social care recruitment team at OUTT.com to help you prepare for a successful transition and nail that senior post you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Listen and Learn from Your Social Care Supervisor

Our first piece of advice is to use the resources you already have available!

We get it; a regular supervision review might feel like a drawn-out analysis of your performance – but it’s a brilliant way for social care professionals to pick the brains of your manager!

Think of it like this:

  • If you tell your supervisor you’d like to progress, they might keep you in mind for any vacancies that crop up.
  • Asking for feedback showcases your appetite for success and will help a supervisor guide you to ensure you have the best possible experience. So be prepared to work on any areas for improvement, and you’ll make a great candidate for promotion!
  • Expand your horizons. Offer to help out in new areas, fill gaps in other teams, run social events, or attend further staff training – it all means you continue to grow.

Even if you’ve no interest in staying in your current workplace, a supervisor can provide a tremendous amount of information, peer-to-peer guidance, and support with finding options for new courses or experience.

2. Take Advantage of Opportunities to Upskill as a Social Care Professional

Say you yearn for greater responsibility or more senior tasks, but find it tough to showcase your skills.

In that case, we’d recommend looking at your training experience and searching for ways to bulk out your CV with practical learning.

Again, it doesn’t need to be a formalised accreditation – check out:

  • Vocational qualifications and courses.
  • On the job training offered by your current employer.
  • The OUTT.com social care Academy resources.

Often, a willingness to learn and apply yourself to gain new skills demonstrates just as much value as having a raft of high-level certifications – don’t ignore any opportunities to expand your knowledge, even if they don’t seem crucial to your current position.

Social care professionals with a comprehensive knowledge of safety protocols, best practices, and management techniques will appeal to employers looking for senior staff. These general training courses can put a big tick in your corner.

3. Social Care Career Progression – the Beauty of the Sidestep

OK, so the next thing to consider is where you’d like to work.

Once you’ve got an idea about the sort of placements you’re interested in, you can start narrowing down the vacancies and shortlisting positions.

There are two primary options here:

  • The sidestep. Moving sideways means you apply for a similar job, or perhaps the same role, but in a different setting or working with another care patient group. This option is ideal if you feel like you’ve still got experience to gain but can transition to an employer with more significant opportunities for promotion.
  • Upward progression. If you’re all set, have the qualifications you need, and feel confident in your skills, then the only way is up. Upwards career moves mean you opt for a role of greater responsibility – that might be a senior position in your existing workplace or an advanced role somewhere brand new.

Don’t ever think that you’re stuck in a job you don’t love and where there seems zero possibility of an internal promotion!

Sideways career moves can open up a tonne of opportunities with employers who offer training, experience or the potential to apply for senior roles down the line.

Social care is a critical workforce with rock-solid career stability. So, if you feel like it’s time to move on but don’t yet feel comfortable that you have established enough skills to qualify for a managerial role, there is always room for manoeuvre with thousands of employers crying out for quality care staff.

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4. Applying for a Care Employment Promotion – Getting Your Ducks in a Row

Next up, before you click on a single application form, you need to have all of your information correct and up to date.

You might be resolute in that you are ideally qualified for a role, but if you can’t demonstrate that to your ideal employer, it’s probably not going to happen.

The easiest way to get all your application information together is to resort to good old pen and paper. Make lists of:

  • Every training course you have done – whether or not you got a certificate. Include in-house training, policy meetings, webinars, external courses and any general training received during work.
  • Your skills – if you struggle, try taking a pad with you to work. Make notes of all the things you do, and you’ll quickly start to rack up an impressive list! Remember that employers want to know what you can do, not just what you’ve learned, so practical skills are just as valuable as qualifications.
  • Experience – you’ll need a complete timeline of all of your roles, both in and outside of social care. Work in an office role can demonstrate organisational skills and teamwork, for example, so don’t cut out valuable work experience because it isn’t directly related to your dream job.

Trust us; when you’ve got a good list of everything, it makes writing an application infinitely easier! Just make sure to cut it back if you end up going over two pages – keep it concise, professional, and to the point.

5. Establish Your Ability to Manage

Offer to mentor new staff – this is a good one!

Mentoring doesn’t mean you need to be of particular seniority in most social care jobs – it can be things like new team member inductions and helping them settle in.

However, if you’re keen to climb that career ladder, this kind of one-to-one support for more junior staff is a brilliant way to stand out as a great management candidate.

Many senior jobs will have some qualification requirements – for example; you might need to work on a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care if you want to step up from a care assistant role to a team leader.

But, if you’ve put time and effort into establishing a well-rounded set of skills, have shown a commitment to progression, and have done your homework in creating a fantastic CV, you’ll be in a great position to succeed.

Please visit us online for access to the OUTT.com Academy (psst, it’s FREE for all candidates!) or register to browse the shift vacancies currently available.