The decision to become a personal carer can be one of the most rewarding careers. Especially when you are doing something you love, it’s hard to see it as a ‘job’.
Knowing the impact you can have not only on the people you care for but their families is an enriching feeling and a career that many people choose to pursue.
If you’re considering a career working as a professional carer or recently finished studying we have put together some tips to make sure you are on your way to being ‘Aged Care Ready’ when the time comes to find employment.
Finding the right organisation for you – what to look for?
Finding employment is as much about what you are looking for as it is about what the aged care provider is looking for. When you are on a placement it gives you a chance to find out exactly what it’s like to work for this organisation.
Ask other staff working there, find out how long staff have been working there, what additional learning/courses they provide and most importantly, do staff report to feel appreciated?
Applying for roles as a carer can be competitive so to give yourself the best opportunity to work for an organisation of your choice, pay attention to detail when applying for jobs and make your resume stands out.
Applying for jobs
Aged care providers generally receive a large quantity of resumes, so when you’re writing your resume you want to impress and get selected for an interview.
Some points to consider;
- Respond directly to the job description
- Even if most of the skills you have are from another industry make the skills transferable to the job you are applying for
- Find out who the key person is to address the application to
- Include a cover letter that summarises your key achievements and minimise key descriptors such as ‘I’m an excellent communicator’. It’s really not needed.
As a personal carer you have many options open to you to advance your career, depending on what you are wanting to get out of it. Some of the opportunities open to you include working in aged care homes, the community, taking on Team Leader roles, specialising in dementia care and potentially senior administration roles. Completing the Certificate III in Aged Care forms a great foundation for further development in the care industry.
Starting a career as a personal carer can be overwhelming. There is a lot to take in, new equipment, often formal routines and constant time limits. Try not to become too stressed, it’s important to recognise the signs of stress and develop strategies that work for you to combat stress.
If you are feeling as though you are needing additional guidance on how or why you do things in the facility reach out to the Team Leader or Nurse in charge.
Some aged care providers have a buddy systems whereby new carers often get paired up with more senior carers/team leaders. If your facility does not have a buddy system seek out a carer that you feel you can learn from and ask if they will be your mentor to support you.
Starting a career as a personal carer means your are taught to care for others; it is ingrained in your life purpose. Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health.
Carers often express reluctance to take the time required to care for themselves. They have difficulty finding self-care activities that match their interests and that are easily incorporated into their lives.
Taking the time-out for self-care activities can help one cope with stressors inherent to carers that can lead to exhaustion, tension, and fatigue. Make self care a priority:
- Adequate sleep
- Eating nourishing food
- Meditation or relaxation
- Be aware of things that take up your time but don’t support self care
- Get involved in sport or a hobby