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Tagged In:  Career Advice, CV Tips

Regardless of whether you're applying for probation jobs or prison nursing vacancies, creating a good CV isn't just about listing your qualifications and experience. It's also a chance to focus on the skills and personal qualities that make you the perfect fit for the role.

Why not take a few minutes to review your CV, looking at it from a prospective employer's point of view? To help you, we've put together five ideas for simple additions or adjustments that could make all the difference...

1.  Opening statement

You should kick off your CV with a few words that encapsulate your skills, experience and personal qualities – your 'value proposition'. To help you find the right words, browse the ads for criminal justice jobs in your field and note down the job descriptions. You can then tailor your value proposition to match. Here's an example that might be on the CV of a probation officer: "Fully-qualified probation officer with seven years' experience working with offenders in courts, in the community and in custody. Excellent inter-personal, communication and organisational skills, sound judgement and an ability to resolve complex problems."

2. Don't forget CPD

Continuing professional development (CPD) is important for anyone working in the criminal justice system, from probation officers and substance misuse workers to mental health nurses and prison nurses. Make sure you list any recent training or personal development, including courses, certifications, in-service training, seminars and computer-based learning.

3. Include your soft skills

It almost goes without saying, as a probation officer, substance misuse worker, prison nurse or mental health nurse you need to be good with people and a team player. Make sure you include on your CV soft skills such as being an effective communicator. Employers aren't just looking for appropriate qualifications and experience. They will want to be confident that you're the right fit for the role personally ie that you are able to interact positively and confidently with offenders, as well as working productively with colleagues.

4. Less is more

You need to make sure you haven't missed anything important off your CV, such as relevant qualifications, skills and experience. However, it's also a good idea to make the document as clear, succinct and simple to read as possible. Criminal justice is a busy, high-pressure environment and recruiters will appreciate it if you make their job easier by eliminating any unnecessary information. As a general guide, it's best to try and keep your CV to two pages of A4 maximum.

5. Check and edit

Remember, your CV can easily be amended or edited to suit a particular job application. For example, if you're applying for a job as a prison nurse, you might want to highlight or emphasise your experience in custodial settings. Before you submit a job application, take a few minutes to check your CV over and make any necessary adjustments. 

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