Assistant Psychologist applications - what's going wrong?

Discuss any aspect of applying for posts or courses (apart from the clinical psychology doctorate which has its own forum section), CVs, application forms, etc

Re: Assistant Psychologist applications - what's going wrong

Postby Itachi » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:22 pm

Hello All! Just sharing some experience of shortlisting/screening 150+ applicants for an AP job advertised on the NHS jobs website. I must admit, I too was underwhelmed by the quality of the applications, both presentation wise and content wise.
Some common mistakes/thoughts:
- Listing out qualifications backwards (i.e. GCSEs first). AP posts are most likely looking for your bachelors/masters, so put them first!
- Putting masters under training instead of education, easy to miss!
- Employment history comes first, so make sure that all of your relevant duties are in the little description box. Bullet points are nice for short listers who can be box happy when you clearly state that you have ‘done psychometric testing’ tick and ‘you were supervised by a CP’. I was not allowed to assume that applicants with previous AP experience (where they clearly worked with CPs) had CP supervision, so state it explicitly! That was a frustrating one. I couldn’t tick my box :(
- Strange and clearly putting the applicant at a disadvantage when said criteria (skills/duties) are not mentioned under specific employment history but in the middle of a dense, 5 page, generic, supporting information box. Keep your ‘general duties’ box as up to date as possible.
- The supporting information needn’t be long, it’s a matter of spending 5 or 10 minutes writing explicit statements like, ‘I have experience doing X, I have worked at Y for Z amount of time’ according to the criteria, on top of your generic supporting statement paragraphs that most people seemed to have copied and pasted from their CV. Perhaps I am a bit biased as this post seemed to have a limited number of ‘must haves’ and most successfully shortlisted applicants did just that (a few clear sentences) and their box was well under an A4 page in length. In fact I noticed, that the less relevant people’s experiences were, the longer their supporting information sections were (bar the people who clearly put no effort into their application at all).
- ALSO! A lot of people were rejected for having a 2:2 at bachelors and a 'pending' masters. If it's not complete, it doesn't count. That may explain things for some applicants.

Hope that helped someone! Will post anything else that pops up in my head in the near future.
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Re: Assistant Psychologist applications - what's going wrong

Postby MRE95 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:42 pm

Having read all of the replies to this post, I still feel unclear on whether your description/list of responsibilities undertaken in 'Employment History' are marked against the person specification when AP applications are being shortlisted. Up to now, I have attempted to mention all of the person specification points within my supporting statement, but I do feel that sentences that simply state "I have experience of minute-taking", "I have written summary reports of clinical meetings", "I have experience of using Microsoft Outlook to write and send emails" etc (i.e. duties that there is little to reflect on) are very boring, can make a statement feel disjointed, and most of all feel like a waste of words.

I believe that I could make my supporting statement far more interesting (reflective) and concise if I didn't have to make reference to basic experience/skills such as those I have given examples of, but I have always been worried that neglecting to mention these within the supporting statement may lose me easy marks/points, or that it may seem odd/suspicious to not specifically mention these in my statement when they are in my employment history.

Essentially: can anyone provide a conclusive answer as to whether bullet pointed statements of basic responsibilities undertaken in your "Employment History" of an NHS job application form are sufficient to meet/gain marks against person specification points?

Any input would be much appreciated!
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Re: Assistant Psychologist applications - what's going wrong

Postby BlueCat » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:26 pm

MRE95 wrote:
Essentially: can anyone provide a conclusive answer as to whether bullet pointed statements of basic responsibilities undertaken in your "Employment History" of an NHS job application form are sufficient to meet/gain marks against person specification points?

Any input would be much appreciated!


Yes. If it is a basic requirement such as those you mention (minute taking etc), rather than something more nuanced (e.g. developing therapeutic alliance), then stating that it was part of your duties ticks the box.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.
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Re: Assistant Psychologist applications - what's going wrong

Postby ell » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:55 pm

I wrote the original post 6 years ago. Recently I have had the dubious joy of reading dozens of AP applications. And my original post still stands. <sigh>
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Re: Assistant Psychologist applications - what's going wrong

Postby ell » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:58 pm

BlueCat wrote:
MRE95 wrote:
Essentially: can anyone provide a conclusive answer as to whether bullet pointed statements of basic responsibilities undertaken in your "Employment History" of an NHS job application form are sufficient to meet/gain marks against person specification points?

Any input would be much appreciated!


Yes. If it is a basic requirement such as those you mention (minute taking etc), rather than something more nuanced (e.g. developing therapeutic alliance), then stating that it was part of your duties ticks the box.


Tentatively yes. And that is because, at the end of the day, shortlisting is carried out by one (or maybe two) individuals who, to a certain extent, decide their own thresholds of whether or not someone is meeting criteria.
There are no definitive answers here.
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