Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

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
Post Reply
HansKolpinghuis
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:29 am

Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by HansKolpinghuis » Sat May 11, 2019 1:45 pm

Hello all!

I don't know if this is the right place to post this. Please do let me know if it's not and I'll change/delete it.
A little bit of background: I am from Spain, came to the UK a year ago with a very clear target: Being a clinical psychologist. I tried applying for AP positions while working as a support worker, and it did not work. I didn't try hard enough, and I haven't been even invited for an interview. I am now in my second SW position, and I feel ready to start applying for AP positions again.
My academic background is a BSc in Psychology (2:1) and a MA in General Health Psychology (PWP equivalent in Spain, not recognized, where I scored 1st with 86%). My experience comes from 6 months placements during uni in mental health services (600 hours in each) mainly working with psychotic patients, but also bipolar disorder, OCD and personality disorders.

I'd like to add to this my latest cover letter, that I made following point by point the JD and PS. Any help or insight, tip, feedback, improvement would be more than appreciated. I tried to make it short and snappy, but I am not so sure this is the right approach to get those posts...!
Also my new approach is to get de-attached to London so I am applying literally everywhere in the country! One must not be afraid to get that AP job!
Dear xxxxxxx:
My name is xxxxxxx. I am a Psychology graduate and I hold a MA in General Health Psychology. Having read the job description for the Assistant Psychologist position at ELFT, I believe I am a very strong candidate for the following reasons:

Regarding my professional training, as mentioned, I hold a 2:1 BSc in Psychology and a MA in General Health Psychology (1st) which provided a broad understanding of, mental health and psychopathology, among other basic subjects in psychology. Both my diplomas were focused in CBT therapies and techniques, following a career path focused in Clinical Psychology. This allowed me to be registered with the BPS as a Graduate Member.

My most relevant experience relies on my time at Uribe Kosta (Osakidetza, Spanish health services), where I worked with 30 patients diagnosed with psychotic and personality disorders in a multi-disciplinary mental health team, elaborating assessment reports and therapeutic plans, which provided a wide understanding of the techniques applied and assessment tools in mental health services and how to deliver the best services to users of mental health services, following the NICE and Spanish Health Service’s psychology guidelines.

I believe that my knowledge and skills are a very good fit for this position. Over the years of experience, I have refined my communication skills as I have worked with complex patients, where my deliverance of sensible information had to be adapted to their level of needs, and it improved by receiving feedback from professionals in the field and observing others in my position . Worthy of note is my experience working at Resources for Autism, where alternative to speech methods had to be used in order to communicate.

Regarding my analytical, judgemental and research skills, worthy of note is my academic career, specially my MA in General Health Psychology, as it was based on evidence-based psychology, which required an intensive use of research databases, research methods and the understanding and usage of software such as SPSS and IBM statistics. It also required a good level of expertise in IT skills, such as general software and word processing packages such as Word and Excel.

On a personal level, I am a highly motivated professional that strives to deliver the best service, seeking feedback and the improvement of my skills and abilities, which are in constant judgement and enhancement. I am excellent working both in teams and individually, and able to deal with stressful situations and big workloads.

I think this opportunity as an assistant psychologist is a perfect opportunity for me to keep developing all the skills mentioned above, and keep learning and evolving as a professional in Clinical Psychology, which I’m passionate about. This would allow me to explore how the psychology services work in A&E settings, which is a very exciting area to develop my career on.

Thank you for taking time to read my statement, I am looking forward to hearing back from you.

Best regards,
HansKolpinghuis.
Thank you thank you thank you all. I would really appreciate any light in my way to keep trying and get that AP post!!!

Advertisement
Pearson Clinical Assessment publishes a wide range of assessments to support psychology professionals including the Gold Standard Wechsler range. To view our range please visit: pearsonclinical.co.uk/cpf
User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7675
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: [Help] That first AP position

Post by miriam » Sun May 12, 2019 11:04 pm

There are a number of issues that stand out for me.
- First, you use a lot of medical terminology. The people who receive psychological services are not a list of diagnoses, or even "patients" to most CPs.
- Second, whilst your English is way better than I'll ever be at any second language, there are words that do not work how you have used them (eg "deliverance" or "judgemental").
- Third, graduate membership of the BPS is not the same as having GBC, which is required by clinical courses and many supervising CPs.
- Fourth, you need to speak less about what the opportunity would do for you, and more about what you bring to the role.

I think you also need to think about why you are so desperate and applying all over the country for AP posts. Why not apply for IAPT posts, or research roles, or roles with charities that involve CPs? Many people get onto training without AP posts, so why is that the only thing you care about?
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

HansKolpinghuis
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:29 am

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by HansKolpinghuis » Mon May 13, 2019 8:58 pm

Thank you miriam, I see there's a few mistakes on it now. Do you think 'service users' or 'group of people' would be more appropriate? In Spanish, the term 'patient' is widely accepted, and I thought it could be directly translated.

GBC is the Chartered membership? I thought you needed to be highly specialist to opt to a chartered membership. Do you think I could upgrade my membership without any UK qualification?

Last, I appreciate your suggestion of looking for another positions. I think the problem comes from my lack of knowledge about the options in this country. I know the IAPT posts exist but I haven't been able to find any (Trainee PWP, for example). At the moment I am not able to do any unpaid work as I need regular income to live in the UK.
The other reason is that London is getting a little bit overwhelming so I thought that having an AP position out of London would be a very, very good excuse to leave and explore for a while. Nothing ties me to London so I was more than ready.

Research roles I've tried and haven't been successful at all, due to the lack of experience in my professional career I guess. I've been politely rejected from all of them.

After a year trying, it's getting very frustrating and excessively complicated to get a job as something that I've been studying for the last 10 years, when I feel I am more than qualified and ready to take any of those positions. That's why I am ready to move whenever needed if that means starting (finally) my career in psychology.

User avatar
Geishawife
Team Member
Posts: 818
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:10 pm

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by Geishawife » Tue May 14, 2019 7:02 am

No, GBC is not the chartered membership. That is not what Miriam said. GBC is an indication that your initial degree is robust enough and has enough academic theory to allow you to go on and do further study/training in a practitioner role. It does not give you the right to practise - it is the further training that gives you this and confers the right to chartered status. You mention graduate membership of the BPS, but this does not guarantee that you meet the requirements for GBC. Simple MEMBERSHIP is open to pretty much anyone regardless of the quality of their degree and does not tell potential employers anything about your degree, whereas having GBC does. So, check with the BPS that your degree confers GBC and state this explicitly on your applications.

User avatar
Spatch
Posts: 1372
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: The other side of paradise
Contact:

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by Spatch » Tue May 14, 2019 11:14 am

I want to start by saying you have clearly done a lot, performed and will have picked up several valuable skills. I can also see why you would be frustrated, as I reckon your covering letter would be fairly well recieved in other industries.

However, in psychology you are up against a really strong competitior group. In reality, almost everything in your covering letter will be applicable to everyone else on this forum. As a result, it is more important to stand out by demonstrating a) your unique skillset (that others will not offer), b) your understanding of the job you are applying for and c) marrying the two up.

In the case of your application, it doesn't feel tailored to any specific assistant post, so will be up against lots saying the same thing. However, if you are able to use your experience to reflect on the unique difficulties of that post or how a skill such as being fluent in Spanish may constitute an advantage in an A+E setting that will give you an advantage.
Shameless plug alert:

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

praxising
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:06 pm

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by praxising » Tue May 14, 2019 11:16 am

As far as I know there is no graduate membership for those without GBC.

If you are registered with the BPS as a graduate member your degree has already been assessed as meeting the standards of GBC but it might be helpful to state this clearly.

https://www.bps.org.uk/join-us/membersh ... membership

HansKolpinghuis
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:29 am

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by HansKolpinghuis » Tue May 14, 2019 1:39 pm

Spatch wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:14 am
I want to start by saying you have clearly done a lot, performed and will have picked up several valuable skills. I can also see why you would be frustrated, as I reckon your covering letter would be fairly well recieved in other industries.

However, in psychology you are up against a really strong competitior group. In reality, almost everything in your covering letter will be applicable to everyone else on this forum. As a result, it is more important to stand out by demonstrating a) your unique skillset (that others will not offer), b) your understanding of the job you are applying for and c) marrying the two up.

In the case of your application, it doesn't feel tailored to any specific assistant post, so will be up against lots saying the same thing. However, if you are able to use your experience to reflect on the unique difficulties of that post or how a skill such as being fluent in Spanish may constitute an advantage in an A+E setting that will give you an advantage.
This is very useful thank you very, very much. I will take this into account although I do read the PS & JD very carefully it's true that I am not selling myself that much.
praxising wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:16 am
As far as I know there is no graduate membership for those without GBC.

If you are registered with the BPS as a graduate member your degree has already been assessed as meeting the standards of GBC but it might be helpful to state this clearly.

https://www.bps.org.uk/join-us/membersh ... membership
That's the info I had heard! When I applied for the Graduate Membership they required me to scan and send my academic plan to see if it matched the GBC standards, then I got registered as a Graduate member (MBPsS) and I thought that was the furthest I could take my membership.

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7675
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by miriam » Wed May 15, 2019 4:58 pm

But you need to state you have GBC, which is that the shortlister is checking for. I don't care at all whether an applicant is a member of the BPS. That's just a subscription.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

HansKolpinghuis
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:29 am

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by HansKolpinghuis » Wed May 15, 2019 5:34 pm

miriam wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 4:58 pm
But you need to state you have GBC, which is that the shortlister is checking for. I don't care at all whether an applicant is a member of the BPS. That's just a subscription.
I am sorry to bother you up to this level, but I have been thinking about this for a while and I don't know what's the correct way to phrase this.

I hold a BSc in Psychology, GBC recognised?
I am a GBC member with the BPS?

The confusion about the 'GBC' term is driving me crazy, as every source states something different and ambiguous about it.

Thanks a lot!!

hawke
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:10 am

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by hawke » Wed May 15, 2019 6:01 pm

I would go with:

I hold a (insert class) degree in (insert degree title) that confers eligibility for GBC.

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7675
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by miriam » Wed May 15, 2019 7:42 pm

hawke wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 6:01 pm
I hold a (insert class) degree in (insert degree title) that confers eligibility for GBC.
Yup.

Or "I gained a 2:1 in my BSc in Psychology, which confers GBC".
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

HansKolpinghuis
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:29 am

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by HansKolpinghuis » Wed May 15, 2019 8:19 pm

Wow, you don't know how much you're helping me! This info is really helpful. I took a look at my membership letter and it does say that "This letter can be shown to tutors who require proof of membership and GBC".

So it's all clear now. That's something to celebrate! I feel like my applications are getting better and I'm learning a lot during the process!

thanks again! :D :D

HansKolpinghuis
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:29 am

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by HansKolpinghuis » Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:45 pm

Hi all,
I reviewed (and reviewed, and reviewed, and reviewed...) my CL and I came to a point where I am really satisfied with it. I think it is a good letter that expresses how I relate to jobs and what my experiences and skills are.
Obviously this letter keeps changing and changing as new jobs come, to adapt them to the JD and PS. Whilst I think I have more clear what they want from applicants (thanks miriam and the rest of the people who took a little bit of time to reply), there's no way to get shortlisted for an interview. I have been rejected prior to making it for the interview for 3 positions lately and at this point, I simply don't have any idea what is going wrong.

Is it possible to get a little bit of more personalized advice? Any coach, service for applicants where someone can sit down with me and tell me THIS is where you are wrong and THIS is how you should do it in the future? (I am talking about paid coaches, advisors??)

I think the inability to write a proper letter is the main wall between me and the progress of my career, and it is very frustrating after two years of Support Working positions and plenty of psychology experience and studies back in Spain.

Any light would be immensely appreciated. Thank you guys!

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7675
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: Help me fix my covering letter to get that first AP position

Post by miriam » Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:32 pm

You can make a donation to the whiteboard fund and I'll review your covering letter like I did for the person in the other thread.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests