Step 3: Sell Yourself (Then Check Yourself)

Step 3- Sell Yourself (Then Check Yourself)

We hiring managers love to see the people in the applications we read. When we are looking through CVs and applications, we want to see someone who shines! In nursing, we are trained to be humble... in job applications you need to stand out. This is your opportunity to tell us all of the great things about you!

Highlighting your positive attributes:

  • One way of adding in attributes which highlight your strengths is to make sure you include awards you have received. If they won't fit in your application, add them to your CV.
  • If you know of particular struggles the organisation or team might experience, you can mention skills you have that would be of assistance. For example, if a paediatric unit was about to start taking diabetic patients, and you had a qualification related to that, you could write: I am aware the paediatric unit is about to commence a service extending care to paediatric patients with diabetes. My postgraduate certificate in diabetes management would support the patients and the other team members in this transition.
  • In my applications I write down what other people have said about me to avoid sounding arrogant while highlighting my skills. For example: I have been described as trustworthy, considerate, bold and enthusiastic by my senior managers, and I feel this to be an accurate reflection of myself.
  • If you have led a project, don't be afraid to say so. To still give due credit to the other team members you can say 'I led a collaborative project where...'. Don't say 'I helped.....', as this makes it sounds like you were a team member, not a leader.

When you have put together your job application, read it to see if it reflects who you are. If you don't see yourself in your application, use the following strategies.

There are two places you can highlight your unique attributes or skills: your CV and your application. 

  • Provide examples to highlight your skills, choosing professional examples over personal stories. Eg. You know sign language and have used that to communicate with patients as opposed to your own family.
  • If this skill cannot be demonstrated in your application, add it to your CV. You could add a section about hobbies or interests. I have been intrigued by some things applicants include like ‘Commonwealth skipping champion’ or ‘Mongol rally participant’. 

Please note some things do not add a level of intrigue, such as listing ‘exotic dancer’ as a hobby or as a previous job. 

If your previous work experience is in roles like that, simply writing ‘Employee’ or ‘customer service’ and the name of your employer will be professional and sufficient.  

For the bold... or those with unique names

It is difficult to show much of yourself in a couple of pieces of paper so, you could be bold and make a 1 minute (or less) video. If you can't upload a video, you can add the link to your application. It is not required, but will make you stand out.

Also, if you have an unusual name, assumptions might be made about your ability to communicate in the language.

I know some incredible nurses who have foreign sounding names but speak perfect English. Sadly, some places might skip over these applications, preferring those with familiar names. If you send a video, you can demonstrate your fluency in the language and make yourself more familiar to the panel at the same time.

When I have reached out to others via video, I usually say something like:

Hello, I am Tracy Churchill and I am submitting my application for the role of_____. I have read a lot about your organisation and believe I have a lot to contribute. I have experience in _____ and my favourite part of my current job is _______ and this would help in your workplace by _____. I am grateful to have the opportunity to apply and I hope to hear from you soon.

Do not make a video where you are wearing unprofessional clothes, you are sick, you have a toilet in the background or anything else that will reflect on you in an unflattering way. This video will backfire if elements like these are present.


Perform a spelling and grammar check. Do this to the best of your ability using digital tools available. Also ask someone else to proofread your work. I have read many applications which say the applicant has excellent attention to detail (and yet the application is littered with spelling mistakes). Don’t be that nurse.