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Your CV is not just a list of your qualifications and previous jobs. It's an opportunity to showcase your relevant skills and attributes.

If you're applying for a registered mental health nurse job, it's important to show your prospective employer that you have not only the appropriate formal training and experience, but also the right attitude and personal qualities. It's a rewarding but challenging area of nursing and not everyone has what it takes to rise to the challenge.

Here are our top tips for making sure your CV does justice to your talents...

1. Start with a summary


Remember, first impressions count. You should open your CV with an 'elevator pitch' that sums you up and why you're suitable for the job. Get right to the point and keep it short and sweet – probably no more than 50–100 words. Make sure you mention some of the key attributes that make a good mental health nurse eg empathy, compassion, good communication skills, commitment, assertiveness and calmness under pressure.

2. Career history


Always start with your most recent mental health nursing job. That's the one a prospective employer will be most interested in.

3. Include keywords


Some employers and recruitment agencies use search engine technology to find and filter CVs, so you should make sure you include keywords and key phrases, for example Registered Mental Nurse (RMN) or Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities (RNLD).

4. Be forward thinking


Showing your past experience is important. But you should also think about what you can offer the prospective employer now and in the future. Make sure your CV clearly shows what you can bring to the organisation, for example that you are committed to continuing professional development and are not afraid to take on new responsibilities.

5. List relevant interests


It's good to include some interests outside work. However, you should make sure they are interesting and relevant, not just the usual things such as reading, playing sport and going to the cinema. Maybe you volunteer in your spare time to help vulnerable people? Or maybe you're studying for additional qualifications? Such things will show that you're dedicated to caring for those with mental health issues.

6. Attention to detail


Read and re-read your CV to check it for errors. Attention to detail is important for anyone working in healthcare, but particularly for mental health nurses who may be dealing with highly complex cases and sharing information with a range of other professionals, from social workers to police officers.

You'll find more tips here and your Sanctuary recruitment consultant will also be happy to offer advice on CV writing and interview technique. Follow this link for more advice on CV writing from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
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