Applying for your first physiotherapy job can be confusing but we’re here to help you navigate the process with ease.
The aim of this article is to help clarify the physio job application process which can be confusing as there is a lot out there. These aren’t guarantees but are great tips to help maximise your opportunities. Ultimately the choice is yours and will be dependent on your individual circumstances. There’s no right or wrong answer here, just what’s right for you.
Let’s break the application process into different stages.
- Private Providers
- After The Interview
Making Your Own Opportunities
The future of our profession looks like it’s going to be bigger and better than ever with more diverse and complete career pathways available. This means competition for places will be harder than ever and trying to set your self apart from the crowd will become a challenge.
Going out and seeking opportunities is a good idea but it needs to be handled in the right way – brazen cold lead emails isn’t likely to land you an opportunity. Leveraging previous connections and leaning on your network of colleagues, university and previous placement educators is considerably more likely to open opportunities.
This is where reputation is key and something you should consider when approaching someone to ask for opportunities or when and where the next job is available. If you’ve previously made a positive impact then now is the time to try and make the most of that hard work!
Considerations & Implications
There are a number of different things to consider when applying for your first job. Location, size of organisation, training opportunities and salary are all things you should be thinking about when deciding where you work.
Location is important because you need to plan ahead and think about your support network which is available to you and the future opportunities which may arise where you’re considering applying. If you’ve been a student somewhere before the chances are you’ll know enough about the place to strengthen your application. Plus if you made an impact it always helps!
The size of organisation is also important to consider as it will influence you possible progression within the company as well as the type of client / patient you will see in your job.
Both location and size of organisation often dictate the training opportunities available but not always. Bigger organisations tend to have a bigger training budget and greater pool of shared knowledge available to you. In the UK for example community hospitals won’t have the same size education department or ties with local universities as a teaching hospital which make access to resource harder.
Salary often depends on experience and organisation. The NHS has set salaries for all staff (excluding doctors) which is based on job role whereas private companies will base salary on potential income. There is also potential for salary negotiation with smaller private providers.
Is Private The Way to Go?
There a number of private companies out there, all with their own websites upon which they advertise their current vacancies. Many also post adverts on common job sites so it’s worth setting up notifications to make sure you don’t miss out.
For physiotherapy, private providers tend to be specific to one or two different types of service user / client. Therefore if you know which area or specialty you are interested in working in this is a great opportunity for you and it’s worth a look on social media and the interent to see which providers you like the look of.
Applying To Be A Physio in The NHS?
The NHS is the largest phyio employer in the UK (and most likely the world) therefore they provide the best opportunity to provide training roles also know as rotations. In a rotational role you will move through different specialties every six months offering you an opportunity to diversify your interested and skillset. Each NHS Trust has a different variety of specialties for you to try.
The majority of NHS jobs are advertised on the NHS Jobs website which also hosts applications – CV and covering letters are still needed but in a different form which the website takes you through. Which means you can keep an eye on the hospital and role you want to apply for in one place.
Writing an Application – Common Mistakes to Avoid
When writing an application remember the objective is to score enough points to get shortlisted for interview.
Any job you apply for will have a job description and person specification which allows you to benchmark your skills and understanding of the role. When someone is shortlisting for interview they read your application and score you again these documents and if they align enough you will be offered an interview.
The job description and personal specification provides you with the framework for your application. Remember the whole objective of the application is to prove you meet the requirements set out in them. The most common mistake is not evidencing with examples how you meet the person specification and job description.
It’s possible that the person shortlisting will have many ten’s of applications to read so making sure it is logical and concise is essential and if there is a word limit it is there for a reason. If it’s too brief the person reading your application will know you wouldn’t have written enough to effectively explain why you should be interviewed. Careful not to duplicate yourself and don’t add unneccesary detail, it’s great that you were head of your year at school but is it really that relevant to the job your applying for? Probably not.
It is ok to feel nervous before and during an interview that’s a good thing! It’s important to control the nerves and harness that energy during the interview process and turn it into something which makes you unstoppable.
We can’t guarantee you will get the job you’re interviewing for however you will be much more likely to get the job if you follow our advice and break your interview into a 3-stage process to unleash your potential.
The most important thing to remember is that values and beliefs shine though so be true to your authentic self. Pretending to be someone your not will come across in an interview and at the end of the day, if your values and beliefs align with the team you’re applying for you will both be more likely to achieve your full potential. If they don’t then will you truly enjoy working there?
Remember that interviews are a skill which you can improve, there is always another opportunity to apply for a different job it didn’t go well this time around.
At the end of the interview there is a chance for you to ask the interviewers a few questions. By asking a few high quality questions this offers you the chance to stand apart from the rest of the candidates. This is often where candidates dry up so try to have some prepared questions here.
Good questions make you appear interested and committed but don’t forget this is your chance to find out if you are a good fit for the organisation and team too. If your struggling with what to ask focus on day-to-day questions about the role as well as about opportunities to grow and progress within the organisation. This is a great time to ask about the overall culture underpinning the teams performance.
“You can improve your interview abilities which is why, regardless of success or failure feedback is essential”
Being interviewed is a complex skill – it’s a combination of communication skills, ability to deal with pressure and organisational ability. This means that you can improve your interview abilities which is why, regardless of success or failure feedback is an essential part of the interview process.
As a final thought an interview is a chance to put yourself in the shop window – you are given a captive time with people who can make things happen. Remember there might be other opportunities the employer sees you as a better fit for that become apparent during your interview.
This post was originally published March, 2019 and written by Matt Ross. The page has now been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.