Writing a good application

If you’ve decided to apply for a job in health or social care in south east London, let's look at how to write an application.

What's covered?

We will provide you with the key information you need to write a strong job application.

You can either scroll through the entire page or jump to particular sections.

How to write a great supporting statement

Find out how to showcase your interest in the role, and your skills and experience.

Writing a great

Get top tips for writing a strong CV to impress employers when you apply for these roles.

Using the STAR method for your job application 

Use the STAR method to help answer questions and share your experience clearly and effectively.

How to write a great supporting statement

The main question on any employer’s mind when they read a job application will be: why should we hire this person over everyone else who has applied?

A key part of any application is the supporting statement, also known as a personal statement or covering letter. It is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are interested in the role and have all the necessary skills and experience to be successful in it.

Click on the panels below for advice on how to create a strong supporting statement. 
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Show a genuine interest in the job.

Starting with your motivation for applying can be powerful for the reader. Be sure to mention why you’re interested in the specific role and organisation, and what made you want to apply.

Show that you have the right skills and experience.

Give specific examples of how your experience and achievements meet the selection criteria for the role. You can use the STAR technique for this:

  • Situation and Task: Give a very brief background to the task you had to complete.
  • Action: Focus on what you did and why.
  • Result: What was the outcome?

Show that you have the right personal qualities.

Health and social care roles often involve working with other people, so try to demonstrate in your application that you enjoy this and have the skills. 

Think also about your transferable skills (also known as soft skills or employability skills). These are skills you will have gained through life experience or work, such as communication, decision making and organisation.

Show how you stand out from the crowd.

It’s important to add any experience, qualifications or insights that help you stand out. Include anything you feel could be relevant to the role, highlighting how it's relevant. 

For instance, don't just say you enjoy travelling –but if while travelling you volunteered in a hospital, or demonstrated teamwork skills, you could highlight this.

Showing your values in a supporting statement

Depending on the role, you don’t always need qualifications or previous work experience in the sector to get a job in the care sector.  What’s really important is having the right values, behaviours and attitudes to work effectively with people who need care and support.

Here are some examples of the values and behaviours you might need to work in health and care.
  • Dignity and respect
  • Learning and reflecting on your practice
  • Working together
  • Commitment to quality care and support
Here are examples of how these values and behaviours might look in your everyday work based on dignity and respect. They explain some of the things employers do and don’t want to see in employees.
What employers would like to see
  • You spend time listening to people to get to know them and their needs.

  • You respect people’s right to make their own choices and decisions about how they want to be supported.

  • You communicate with people in a clear, open and straight forward way using appropriate language.
What employers don't want to to see
  • You ignore people and do not make time to welcome them or to get to know them and their needs.

  • You do not respect people’s right to make their own decisions. You believe you know what they need better than they do.

  • You use jargon when communicating with people, and talk to people in a patronising, childlike or inappropriate way.
The video below explains the six core values of the NHS and offers practical tips to incorporate these values in job applications and interviews. 

It's crucial to effectively demonstrate alignment with these values in your applications and interviews.

Write your awesome label here.
For more about how your transferable skills can help you get a job, see this short video from NHS Scotland.
Write your awesome label here.

Extra tips!

Before you get going with your application, please bear in mind these top tips.

Use examples

Remember to give concrete evidence / examples of skills. For instance, if the job requires excellent communication with colleagues, talk about a paid or voluntary role where you demonstrated that.

It may also benefit you to mention any obvious gaps in your skills and experience, and say what you have done or would do to address them.

Read back through

Once you have drafted your statement, read through each paragraph and ask yourself whether the point that you are trying to make is clear, whether you could be more concise, and whether you have covered all the requirements specified.

Get to the point

If you’re writing a covering letter, make sure it’s short and to the point. Employers often look at many applications and have very little time, so you can help yourself by giving them the key information about you from a quick read of your application.

Check your language

Your application should be written using correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. You may wish to use your application’s spelling and grammar checker, an app for checking spelling and grammar, or ask a friend or family member to proofread it.


Writing a great CV

The purpose of a CV is to help you secure an interview for the job, so you need to make sure that the employer can instantly spot the skills, attributes and experience they are looking for.
With that in mind, here's some advice on how to structure your CV, to make it as clear, professional and impactful as possible.

About you

After listing your personal details, include a paragraph about yourself.

In three to five sentences, you should explain:

  • who you are / what your experience is
  • the skills, attitude and values you have
  • what you are looking for in your next role.

Personal achievements

Include three bullet-pointed career and personal achievements that are the most relevant to the role you are applying for.

For each, use a verb (e.g. maximised
, revitalised, created, coordinated) followed by a few words
describing what you did.

You can use the Features, Action, Benefit (FAB) model, where you state what you achieved and the impact it had.

For example, '
Successfully (F) organised all travel arrangements for overseas conference
(A), ensuring budgets were kept to and directors minimised time wasted (B).'

Employment experience

Work through your employment history, starting with your most recent roles.

Give a one-line description of the role, followed by your key achievements within it. Again, you can use the Features, Action, Benefit (FAB) model.
As a general rule, the further back you go into your career, the less you should write.

Education and interests

List your education, qualifications and development, starting with the most recent.

Then finish with two or three lines about your interests, which you could bring to life with a short anecdote.

At the very end, list references and state that they can be contacted with prior agreement.

Extra tips!

Before you get going with your CV, please bear in mind these top tips.

Keep it clear

Make sure your CV is clear, readable, and professionally presented.

Keep it relevant

If there are qualifications that aren't relevant or required for the role, you don't need to include them.

Keep it brief

Your CV should be two A4 pages at most.

Outside interests

Consider including voluntary roles or interests that require relevant skills, for example discipline
or resilience.

For more on writing a great CV, watch this short video from Guardian Jobs.
Write your awesome label here.

Using the STAR method  

The STAR method is recommended for preparing answers for interview questions but it can also be used for when writing a supporting statement.

This method can help you structure your answers or provide examples of how you have demonstrated skills or competencies listed in the job description and person specification.

S: Situation

What situation were you in, or what issues were you dealing with?

T: Task

What was the task that you needed to do?

A: Action

What actions did you take to complete the task?

R: Results

What were the results of your actions? What skills did you demonstrate and what did you learn? 

For example when trying to evidence your ability to manage or prioritise work load here are some ways you can use the STAR method.

  • "As an admin assistant at a GP practice, I faced a challenging day when our regular receptionist was unexpectedly absent and there was a surge in patient calls."

  • "I needed to manage reception duties alongside my regular administrative tasks, ensuring effective handling of all patient calls."

  • "I reorganised my workspace for efficiency, prioritised urgent calls, multi-tasked between call management and appointment scheduling and maintained clear, polite communication with patients."

  • “I successfully managed all incoming calls, scheduled appointments without errors and was thanked by the patients for dealing with their call.”

Useful resources

Check out the following for more advice on creating a strong written application for health and social care roles.


The application portal for many NHS jobs.

Applying for social care roles

Advice for writing a job application for a social care role.

Explaining your skills

Advice from BBC Bitesize on explaining your skills to employers in an application or CV.

Writing a great CV and covering letter

Advice from BBC Bitesize.