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Working in offender healthcare, probation or youth offending, you’re used to exercising diplomacy, being resourceful and measured in your approach to rehabilitation, but how do you evidence these points in your CV?

Being a leading recruiter of criminal justice professionals, it’s fair to say that we’ve seen a broad range of CVs, so here are a few tips on how to make sure yours is working as hard as you do:

1. Be boastful

Your CV is one of the few occasions where it’s acceptable to boast about your achievements. Employers will have seen other CVs from people with similar experience to yours. It sounds cliché, but your CV needs to showcase your specific technical competencies or knowledge. Take the role of a substance misuse nurse, for example. Take ten minutes to list all your key achievements in your role, including what specific addictions you have experience of treating and how effective you’ve been in working within a multi-disciplinary environment. If you’ve been involved in trying new clinical techniques, here’s your chance to highlight this.  

2. Be concise, but detailed

This might sound like two opposing tasks, but what I mean by this is organising your CV so that you guide the reader, with your most recent employment first. With experience comes the opportunity to talk about specific offender management or clinical skills, research, publications and presentations, for example. Be careful not to waffle though; the most important thing is that the employer is able to instantly see how your skills and expertise are what they are looking for. 

3. Tailor your CV and keep it up-to-date

Try to think about your CV as ‘writing an interview’. Employers are not looking for every detail about your career, but how you can excel at a particular role. If you have a specific skill or have been on training that is relevant to a role but you haven’t updated your CV, you must do so. 

4. Straight to the point 

Employers will often have limited time to go through CVs, so we advise our candidates to give the most compelling facts about their expertise and skills first within the first couple of points under each job role held. 

5. Using a professional style 

You want to use a formal style throughout. A clear list of bullet-points under each role you’ve held looks both clean and professional. You can go one step further and make sure you are using the type of language and tone expected of the employer you are interested in working for. For example, if you are looking for a role at a particular Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) you could take a look at their latest business plan for inspiration to show how your skills can help them in achieving their objectives. Needless to say, having a business-like email address goes hand-in-hand with this. 

Ask Sanctuary  

We have more advice on how to structure your CV within our careers centre, but if you are unsure about any aspect of your CV, contact your Sanctuary consultant who will be able to advise you.  

If you are not already registered with Sanctuary, but would like to find out more about available positions, you can register online.

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