Reflective application help for AP / RA positions

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
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Livia
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Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:09 pm

Reflective application help for AP / RA positions

Post by Livia » Tue May 26, 2020 7:26 pm

Hi,

I was hoping for some advice on applying for AP / RA jobs. From searching this site I recognise it's important to be reflective in applications, however, I was wondering if anyone could give any tips on this? I have used reflective cycles and I'm keeping a reflective journal, however, I'm not sure how to translate this to applications.

Do people normally reflect on one particular experience or use more broad examples? For example, if the criteria for the person spec is "Experience working with young people with an eating disorder recovery", is it best to write something along the lines of "when working in a CAMHS unit I worked with young people living with anorexia. I utilized my strong communication and interpersonal skills to support individuals on their journey to recovery, using basic psychoeducation and anxiety management skills" or use a specific example such as "while working in a CAMHS unit, I used my strong communication skills while working as a key worker with a young person living with anorexia. During this time we focused on basic psychoeducation and anxiety management techniques which the young person utilized when feeling distressed". Alternatively, is it best to simply bullet point experiences, especially for longer person specs?

My main concern is that when trying to tailer a job application to a person spec, it ends up being super long. This is especially a problem when I try to demonstrate that I meet all of the person-specifications in order (in an attempt to clearly show I meet them). I wasn't sure if its best to group similar points together, however, due to the large number of applications the short-listers recieve I worry they will not have time to spend going back through the application if they don't see a point has been mentioned earlier.

Thank you so much for reading, it feels silly to not even know how to write a job application! I guess that is just an indication of the competitiveness of the field!

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Spatch
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Re: Reflective application help for AP / RA positions

Post by Spatch » Fri May 29, 2020 7:48 pm

From searching this site I recognise it's important to be reflective in applications, however, I was wondering if anyone could give any tips on this?
Others may disagree with me, but I would argue that good reflection would come across very differently in an AP post than an RA application. In fact, I think this is a problem that even qualifieds and veteran CPs get mixed up with in the different contexts. I would hazard a guess it's even trickier earlier on in your career.
Do people normally reflect on one particular experience or use more broad examples? For example, if the criteria for the person spec is "Experience working with young people with an eating disorder recovery", is it best to write something along the lines of "when working in a CAMHS unit I worked with young people living with anorexia. I utilized my strong communication and interpersonal skills to support individuals on their journey to recovery, using basic psychoeducation and anxiety management skills" or use a specific example such as "while working in a CAMHS unit, I used my strong communication skills while working as a key worker with a young person living with anorexia. During this time we focused on basic psychoeducation and anxiety management techniques which the young person utilized when feeling distressed"
There has already been a lot about writing reflectively on this forum already, but the thing I always come back to is that there isn't a single rule about this, and it will depend on your style, tone and nature of the job as well as that of the team. However, in both instances you give, it's actually more content focussed than reflective. That's not necessarily wrong, and in the vast majority of graduate level careers that kind of writing will do you quite well. But in the more competitive fields like CP it is liable to sink into the pack.

We all don't, and shouldn't reflect in the same way. To give you an example, if you look at this forum, my reflective style comes across very different to Ell's or Miriam's. I think we are all reflective in different ways and you could probably guess who wrote what even if we weren't identified by our names. That reflective stance hopefully gives you a sense of the person and may give you a feeling about who you would want as your therapist, manager, teacher or in any given role. The question I usually ask myself on the other side of the panel is "do I get a sense of a person from this application or could literally anyone have written this?" If I was to be put on the spot and forced to say what creates reflection I would have to say self-awareness and empathy.

Speaking of empathy, a job application shouldn't be an opportunity to give your life story (which a hiring manager doesn't care about), but a carefully crafted window into how you know the terrain, would operate in a role and your overall capability (which she probably does). A lot of that is "show don't tell". You don't tell someone you have strong interpersonal skills you show it in some way. When faced with dozens of application forms, you get a sense of who can communicate well and reflect in a way that shows their experience and self awareness. That is why supervision, therapy and that personal development stuff is so important and makes such a difference.
Shameless plug alert:

Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irrelevant-Expe ... 00EQFE5JW/

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