The following information should be included in an occupational therapist’s CV:
Every CV needs to contain basic details that allow employers to contact you and check your registration. This includes your name, contact details (including postal address, email address and contact telephone numbers), qualifications, and your Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration number.
Training and Qualifications
Showing you are qualified to practice occupational therapy in the UK is crucial. Your qualifications should be very prominent in your CV, and set out in chronological order. Be sure to include key details such as where you studied, the dates (including month and year), the title of your course and the title of the qualification.
If you have completed further training courses or have any specialist qualifications, include them too. Referencing Bobath for stroke-based work and neurotherapy, for example, or MOHO for mental health, can present you as a more valuable candidate.
Your work experience is a vital part of your CV. Detail your previous roles in chronological order, including the time spent in-post, your employer and your job title. Add further details about the position too – what your role involved, your achievements, etc.
Be thorough in your descriptions, and don’t assume the hiring manager will instinctively know what your position involved. Including further information can give anyone reading your CV a better idea of your experience and background, and help them come to a decision.
Showing what you did before you qualified as a nurse gives valuable colour to your CV, especially if you come from a health or care background. Similarly, highlighting your additional skills and qualifications – such as NVQs in health or IT – shows you have other transferable skills.
What did you do before you became an occupational therapist? If your background involved working in a related sector, be sure to include this in your CV. If you can show what you learned from working in this environment, you can give your CV an added dimension. This is especially significant if you have previously worked as an OTA or rehab assistant – hiring managers love this sort of detail.
What inspired you to become an occupational therapist? Adding this sort of background information to a CV can really set you apart. Also, referring to OT-specific concepts such as occupational balance and activities of daily living in your CV can help you stand out.
Highlighting that you balance your occupation, leisure and self-care time shows hiring managers that you use OT practice and concepts in your own life. Similarly, giving examples of how you engage in reflective practice makes you more attractive as a therapist.
Much like most other healthcare professionals, applicants for occupational therapy roles must undergo a thorough screening process. All gaps in your CV and work history will need to be explained and potentially evidenced later. For example, if you took a sabbatical, include this as an explanation in your CV.
Include Basic Information
Adding further information to your CV such as your driving license and additional languages can make your CV even stronger. Similarly, if you are proficient in IT systems such as Rio, System 1 and Care First, say so. Details such as these could show the hiring manager that you will excel if given the role.
Poor presentation can handicap the best CV content. To avoid this, keep to the following rules:
Style and Layout
You want your CV to be as easy to read as possible. You can do this by breaking it up into easy-to-follow categories, such as an introduction, work history, qualifications and references. Large blocks of text should be avoided – if any paragraph looks overly bulky, split it into smaller ones.
Your CV should be between two to three pages. However, this doesn’t always suit an occupational therapy CV, which requires you to include all previous roles. If you find yourself going over three pages, keep details about earlier posts to a minimum – dates, job title, organisation, etc. Jobs you had before qualifying should not be included at all if there is insufficient room.
The font you use to write your CV should be easy to understand. An overly-stylised font can be hard to read and may not be appropriate. If in doubt, use basic fonts such as Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman and Verdana.
Avoid using very small text to fit more information on the page, as this will make your CV harder to read. Equally, if your font is too large, it will take up too much space on your CV. Sizes 11-14 are a good compromise.
Professionalism is a must when formatting your CV. Avoid using multiple colours, text boxes and over-complicated formatting. An overly-elaborate design can divert attention from more important information, such as your skillset, qualifications and work history. Also keep in mind that some computers may not be able to recognise newer types of formatting. This means employers may not be able to read your content at all.
So when formatting your CV, be consistent and make it simple for the hiring manager to follow. Make use of headers and bold font to split your CV into sections and highlight important details, such as your references, contact details and job titles.
These general tips will make your CV even stronger:
Adapt Your CV to Each Role
Almost every occupational therapy role you apply for will require different skillsets and have different requirements. You should tweak your CV to reflect this.
When you’re applying for certain areas of practice, tailor your CV to include certain words and cover relevant themes. For example, if you’re applying for a community rehabilitation post, show how may visits you did, how you helped your clients to set and achieve their goals, and how you engaged carers and worked collaboratively within a multidisciplinary team.
If you are moving into a new area of occupational therapy in which you don’t have much experience, talk about your relevant transferable skills. Also, explain why you are moving into that area – adding further background will make your application stronger.
Tailor Your Application to the Employer
Many organisations now have trust values or vision statements that reflect their work culture and outlook. This can provide you with further opportunities to stand out. Adapt your application to the specific employer by using their particular words and mottos. Similarly, if the organisation is focused on a particular service user, tailor your CV to highlight previous work with these groups.
Check your spelling, grammar and details thoroughly before you hand in your CV. Things to look out for include ensuring your qualifications and job titles are correctly named. Also, make sure you have the correct dates for how long you spent at an organisation. After doing this, have a family member, friend or colleague cast their eye over it too.
Get Your Recruitment Consultant's Help
Your recruitment consultant can help you write the strongest CV possible. Liquid Healthcare’s consultants specialise in allied health – they understand what hiring managers are looking for in an occupational therapist’s CV, and can tailor your CV accordingly. So if you’re looking for help to secure your ideal role, be sure to contact them.
View our latest occupational therapy jobs here.