How to include the experience gained from your Mental Health Placement on your CV

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Lucy Nightingale: Founder of SLV.Global shares a little advice about CV writing.

Creating a CV is surprisingly hard work! Writing about yourself, although it’s the subject you know the most, can be difficult and confusing. Getting the balance right when talking about your past experience whilst also sounding like a real person is tough. So how can you ‘sell yourself’ without selling yourself short?

I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, but here is how I would advise you to write about your volunteering experience on your CV or resume. Of course this could also be handy for sites like Linkedin, which is essentially your digital employment profile. I’ve heard a lot of past volunteers say that they didn’t want to come off as ‘bragging’ when they included their voluntary experience on their employment history. Take it from me, no employer is going to think you’re unnecessarily blowing your own trumpet. You worked incredibly hard! Trust me and talk about it.

Here’s how:

• State your roles and responsibilities (I know this is hard because our volunteers do absolutely everything.)
• State the mission of SLV.Global and what we do
• Provide a summary of how you made an impact

Below is an example of how you could effectively include your time with us on your CV:

SLV.Global – Mental Health Activity Support Worker, Sri Lanka/Bali:

Dates from and to

SLV.Global are a mental health organisation contributing to community development in Sri Lanka and Bali and improving the lives of beneficiaries who are marginalised due to poverty and circumstance.

Whilst on placement I worked as an Activity Support Worker in a psychiatric facility as well as a rehabilitation centre. In addition to these responsibilities, I also taught English to youths and children and worked in a variety of settings with individuals with special needs. I was living with a local family and was completely immersed in the culture. I was challenged by situations demanding sensitivity to cross-cultural communication as well as working in a variety of facilities which were under-resourced and understaffed.

Throughout my placement I learnt to be resourceful and employ a creative approach to the therapeutic interventions I administered with my team.

Here are some tips below of what we reckon ‘you should not do’…

Don’t take up too much space. Be concise as you don’t need to give a full background of your motivations, the whole SLV.Global story and how you ended up working with us.

Don’t use emotive language. Avoid words that express opinion like “awesome,” “happy,” “touching” and instead focus on the facts.

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