Stand Out From the Crowd: 5 Pro Tips for Applying to a Senior Living Position
A career in senior living is not only stable, but it also gives you the opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life every time you go to work.
Senior living careers are diverse, with job opportunities for positions ranging from dining team members to nurses and caregivers. According to Argentum, about 60 percent of employees at senior living communities work in resident care, while 40 percent work in operational, management, and support roles. This means that you have the opportunity to advance in your role and transfer your skills to new positions throughout your career.
You know you need a big heart with a desire to help others and be a part of a team, but what else will help you shine during your senior living career application? Read on for tips about standing out from the crowd and getting into a fulfilling career that you love.
5 Tips for a Senior Living Career Application
Because there are a variety of roles available in senior living, you should start out by getting to know the senior living field and what you are interested in. Then, think about what your professional goals are and how they could fit in at a senior living community.
1. Apply to a community that aligns with your goals.
First, don’t apply to just any position or community. Getting into a senior living career is your goal, but if you’re applying to every community and position that your skills qualify for, you may end up in a workplace or a role where you feel unhappy. Then you’ll have to start over, applying to new positions again.
There are a lot of senior living communities, and they aren’t all created equal. Make sure you’re applying to one where you could see yourself flourishing—one that offers opportunities for advancement, aligns with your values, and has a team culture that is the right fit for you. It’s important to look for a senior living community that not only has the best interests of residents top of mind, but also one that prioritizes the best interests of employees, too.
2. Update your senior living career application, including your resume and cover letter.
Once you find a position you’re interested in, take time to review your education and qualifications to make sure that they align with the job description. It can be easy to forget some of the things you’ve accomplished throughout your previous jobs, so pulling up a copy of your resume can be helpful when it comes to comparing your job history, skills, and qualifications to the job requirements.
Once you’ve decided to apply to a position, thoroughly examine your resume for areas that need updating. Remember to add volunteer experience, and make sure you have all of your jobs listed that demonstrate patience and organization as well as a desire to serve. Double-check that your current contact information is included, and that your phone number and email address are accurate.
After you’ve updated your resume, create a customized cover letter and use this opportunity to highlight your passion for what you do and your desire to enter this career. Even if it seems like the position or community you’re applying for doesn’t require a cover letter, this extra step helps you stand out from the crowd. Many applicants won’t include a cover letter, or they’ll only include a short, generic cover letter that could be used for any position at any organization. Creating a customized cover letter will help your senior living career application stand out from the others by showing that you took the time to write this letter just for this community.
Lastly, make sure that you and a trusted friend or family member take another look at your application package before sending it to the community to check for accurate information and typos. Although it may feel awkward, also consider reading your cover letter out loud to yourself. This will help you catch any final errors and determine if everything sounds right.
3. Prepare for the interview.
If you get a call for an interview, congratulations! An interview is an exciting yet stressful step, and you may be wondering what happens next.
Keep in mind that although it’s stressful, it’s also an important and wonderful step for both you and the community you’re interviewing with. You can use this time to talk more about what you couldn’t get on paper in your resume or cover letter, and the interviewer can use the time to see your personality face-to-face.
When you were applying for the position, you likely did a lot of research into the community you were applying to. Before your interview, do another round of research, whether that’s just a refresher on their mission statement or a more thorough review of their blog articles and social media. Having background information about the company will increase your confidence and build your interview question responses.
Driving out to the community a couple of days before your interview can help you be prepared for the commute and any traffic situations you may encounter. On the day of the interview, leave early to build in extra time in case of construction or traffic issues. These strategies will help you feel more relaxed rather than rushed and stressed, which will come across in your interview. The overall goal is to check in for your interview 5-10 minutes early.
4. Stand out during the interview.
Use the interview time to talk about your passion for helping others, your talents, and your qualifications.
Answer questions thoughtfully, and don’t be afraid to take time to think about your answer before you speak. Taking time to mentally compose your answer helps you center yourself and relax. Focus on putting together an accurate response rather than a quick response.
Remember that the interview isn’t just for the community to ask you questions and determine if you’re a good fit for them. The interview process is just as much for you to decide if the community is a good fit for you, too!
Have a list of questions that you want to ask the interviewer, and make the list long in case some of them are already covered during the natural course of the interview. For instance, you can ask questions about employee turnover to determine if team members are getting burned out and leaving the community after a short period of time. You can also ask questions about what kinds of support services they offer their employees.
While the interviewer is asking you questions, don’t be afraid to ask some of your own to learn more about the topic after you answer their question. This makes the interview feel more like a conversation, which may help you feel more relaxed and genuine.
When you’re in the community, take time to observe what it’s like. How do the team members interact with each other? Do the residents look well cared for? These observations can help you understand what the community is like and if it’s a community you want to be a part of.
5. Follow up.
Sending a thank-you note to the interviewer after an interview can go a long way in making you stand out. Thank them for their time, ask any additional questions you may have, and let them know you’re available to provide any other information they need from you.
Learn More About Cedarhurst Senior Living Job Opportunities
We’re dedicated to serving our residents and our team members. Our communities are fulfilling, fun places to work where our team members make a difference in someone’s life every day while growing in their careers.
Interested in starting your senior living career at Cedarhurst? Take a look at our available job opportunities and start your career soon. We can’t wait to talk with you!