You’ve completed your PSW program and now started looking for a job.
So, where’s the job?
Welcome to schooling, 2.0.
It’s time to get that perfect PSW job that you’ve worked so hard for over the past year.
Even though PSW jobs are abundant just about anywhere you go, they can be very hard to get.
As a Personal Support Worker, you are going to be working with an extremely vulnerable sector of society. Every facility or private care client is going to want the best and nothing but the best from their potential candidates.
In order to avoid frustration, here are 32 tips to help you get that perfect PSW job!
SO YOU’VE GRADUATED
THE PERFECT RESUME
No, I’m not talking “Meh, this is good enough”.
I’m talking you better be at the top of your game.
You want to show the potential employers that you are the best the world has to offer.
After all your resume is the key marketing document designed to get you an interview. You should ensure this piece of document is absolutely impeccable.
If you have any questions about your PSW resume or want an honest opinion on where your resume stands, check out Pursuit Desk Career Solution.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR COVER LETTER
This is not something you want to copy & paste from another source, believe me, employers can spot this a mile away & it makes you look lazy.
A personalized cover letter should summarize your resume in your own voice.
A resume isn’t personalized, it’s the bullet point and cold.
A cover letter should be warm, user-friendly yet strongly worded to tell your employer why you deserve this job.
Use short sentences, remember, you’re not writing a story.
Customize each letter specifically for each employer. Mention the facilities name and why you want to work there. Sucking up has its advantages.
You can check out this article for a sample PSW cover letter and if you’d like to get some help, check out Pursuit Desk Career Solutions.
You got the interview, congratulations!
Are you nervous?
You should be if you aren’t prepared!
The best way to keep anxiety and nervousness at bay is to be thoroughly prepared.
Know yourself, know your work, know the organization and you’ll sail through.
This article will help you do that.
It will give you a taste of the kind of questions you can expect during a PSW job interview.
Employers are fickle, so even though your resume, cover letter, and interview are fabulous, they’re going to want to make sure.
When choosing references, remember to pick individuals that pertain to your job.
Asking your friends probably isn’t a good idea, nor would be asking your grandmother though I’m sure she’s lovely.
Your volunteer coordinator, clinical teacher, and your preceptor at your co-op are all appropriate references.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
What’s even better than a phone call?
A letter of recommendation.
Get a letter of recommendation from your clinical teacher, former supervisor and anyone else you have made connections with.
This not only tells your future employer what these co-workers think of you, but it shows them that you made the extra effort to actually get the letter in the first place.
Employers like PSWs who take the extra time to make something count.
HAVE A PORTFOLIO
Want to look super professional at your interview?
Walk in with a portfolio and you’ll blow their mind.
This shows professionalism, this shows organization.
Make sure to include all important documents: Cover letter, resume, certificates, immunization records, your police check, PSW diploma and letters of recommendation.
In fact, make copies of everything to leave with the employer after the interview.
APPLY EARLY AND IN PERSON
Once all of the above has been checked off, it’s time to start putting the pedal to the metal and applying.
Do not rely solely on the internet, as easy as that is to do in this day and age.
Make the effort and drop off resumes in person.
Dress the part of a professional and walk in with the confidence of a PSW who knows what they want.
And don’t be afraid to approach facilities that aren’t hiring, you never know who’s hands your resume is going to get into.
This is a great way to make connections and network as well.
And one last thing:
who’s to say you have to wait until you’re done school to apply?
Start looking up potential employers as soon as you can and make lists of everyone you want to send your resume to.
Remember, the early bird gets the worm!
I NEED MORE THAN A RESUME
Working without pay?
You have no idea how amazing this looks on a resume.
Especially when it’s for organizations related to your field.
Not only are you getting invaluable experience, but this speaks volumes to an employer about you.
Volunteering is also a good way to a potential job. It gets your foot in the door and gives you connections.
Once you’ve volunteered at a facility, your chances are extremely high for getting hired.
You know the people. The residents. Most importantly they’ve seen in person your work capabilities.
It’s a win-win!
Develop connections with PSWs already working in the field.
A good place to do this is in your co-op or when volunteering at a facility.
Learn the art of schmoozing.
Remember, these people have already been hired for the job you want, they probably have loads of tips to help you out.
They may even have leads for you or be able to recommend you for a job.
Networking is a great way to get hired.
You can check out this and this article to learn how you can network as a Personal Support Worker.
CONTACTS GET YOU THE JOB
I’m not just talking your connections from school and volunteer.
I’m talking the whole world!
Spread the word that you’re looking for a job. Friends. Friends of friends. Family.
That lovely old lady across the street. You never know who’s listening.
Do not rule this out when on the hunt for a job.
A PSW with little experience and new to the field really can’t afford to say no, can they?
So take what you can get.
Agencies are a great way to get experience.
An agency will send you to LTC facilities, private homes, and retirement.
I’ll admit the pay isn’t the best you can get, but the experience more than makes up for it.
And remember to read the fine print.
Some agencies will have you sign a contract stating that you cannot work for any facility directly that they have sent you to, only after a certain amount of time has elapsed can you do so.
Here are more details on how you can work start out by working with an agency.
You’re never done learning.
Always be willing to go above and beyond your certificate.
Most employers will even pay for continuing education.
This also tells your employer that you are dedicated to becoming the best of the best in your profession.
When it comes to continuing education and learning, PSWs have many options:
- Free online learning
- Free online learning with a certificate from the University of Toronto
- Bridging to become a Nurse
- Options beyond Nursing
- Online and in-class learning options with ProMask Fit
- Certificate in Dementia Care
Welcome to the networking site for professionals.
This is a wonderful way to get yourself out there on the internet, in a professional manner.
This professional social network allows you to build a professional biography about you and your career.
Use keywords such as “personal support worker”,“long-term care”,“PSW” etc to get the word out there.
PSWs looking for work can connect with other PSWs and professionals in the field.
Here’s a great post explaining how you can use LinkedIn as a Personal Support Worker.
COLLEGE CAREER SERVICES
Your college or place of learning has a multitude of resources that you to take advantage of.
Your teachers and advisors want you to succeed as much as you do, so take advantage!
These services may include helping you with your cover letter and résumé.
They may even have connections in the field you are looking to work in.
With everyone you meet.
You may not like them and I’m certainly not suggesting you become best friends with these people.
But a lot of the time, people come across jobs through who they know.
So you know that annoying girl in your class that now has a wicked job but you don’t?
Talk to her.
Stay in touch with classmates and teachers.
These people know the field and may be able to offer tips or arrange a meet and greet with other potential employers.
I know what your thinking. This is a too old school for you.
We live in 2018, the age of the world wide web!
No one’s reading newspapers!
Ah, but you’d be wrong.
With everyone looking online for jobs, hardcopy postings go unnoticed, meaning you’d have a better chance of getting that job if you applied for it!
I’ve seen advertisements for PSW positions every now and again.
Don’t discontinue this option just because it’s “old”.
Here’s an easy way to getting that job – let the job come to you!
Many companies allow you to sign up via their website and when a job posting becomes available, it get’s emailed to you right away!
Often times, when I’ve come across job postings online the application due date, has long since passed.
So utilize the “Job Alert” feature if you see one.
Job fairs are a “gold-mine” for honing your résumé and interview skills as often you’ll be interviewed right on the spot.
Bring your resume, your cover letter, and your portfolio.
A ton of employers attend these gatherings looking for that perfect candidate.
And even if you don’t come out with a job right away, don’t panic!
Keep up with your connections.
These events even offer to look at and critique your resume for free!
Did you know that Personal Support Workers aren’t registered?
This means that your profession is not regulated by the Government of Ontario.
So in theory, anyone can become a PSW and anyone can teach it.
The Ontario Personal Support Worker Association (OPSWA), is one such organization that is actively working for the betterment of PSWs in Ontario.
TIP TOP SHAPE
FIRST AID AND CPR
In my 5 years as a PSW, I never ever thought that I would have to use my First Aid & CPR skills.
Actually, I focused really hard on hoping that I never would.
But I did.
And I was glad that I was prepared and up to date in my knowledge on this life-saving skill.
Every PSW course teaches first aid & CPR, but most validations only last for a year.
In most facilities, it is required that you update every year or every two years.
Keep on this and make sure your certifications are up to date and relevant.
If your employer doesn’t ask for this, not only would I be surprised but I’d be extremely concerned as well.
Remember, you are working with an extremely vulnerable sector of society, so not only do you want to protect yourself, but you want to protect your clients, employers and anyone else you may come in contact with as well.
As of right now, the Ontario Government has not made it mandatory to get immunized from the flu and other diseases.
Do yourself a favor with some common sense – get vaccinated!
CRIMINAL RECORD CHECKS
The paperwork just doesn’t stop, does it?
This little piece of paper is extremely important and vital for your job applications.
For more information on how to obtain one, you can check out Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) website and Backcheck.
A LITTLE EXTRA NEVER HURTS
IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL SKILLS
Job fairs, maintaining your connections, etc.
Sitting at home and just sending out e-mails won’t cut it anymore.
As previously mentioned, you have to get out there and get yourself known!
A great way to do this is through this site www.meetup.com which allows you connect with like-minded individuals who are also looking at the same things you are!
BE PHYSICALLY FIT
I’m not saying you need to bulk up and be a muscle man, but you better believe that this job consists of some fairly difficult physical activity.
Not only are you on your feet for the majority of your 8-hour shift, but you will be aiding in the care of residents who are a lot bigger than you.
Not only that but if said resident can’t weight bare or help you to turn over, you’ll be logrolling them yourself.
I can guarantee that in every facility you will encounter this at some point.
GO ABOVE AND BEYOND
While at your placement, make it known that you want a job.
That you would love the opportunity to work there with their wonderful staff and residents that you have already gotten to know.
Keep your eyes peeled for any job openings and apply right away.
After all, you already have the experience, why wouldn’t they hire you?
Send thank you notes to the staff that helped you on your clinical placement.
A little letter to your teacher and to everyone who has helped you along your journey.
Many people ask for help but few take the time to really appreciate it and say thank you.
Even after going through all the above-mentioned tips, don’t be surprised if a job doesn’t come to you right away.
Finding a job in any field is difficult even at the best of times.
Persistence is key and following these tips diligently will get you there.
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