How to apply for a job with NHS Jobs

NHS Jobs - NHS Jobs is the number one place to find work within the National Health Service in the UK. Around 20,000 vacancies are advertised every month at every level from the lowest band up to executive status, offering a choice of both permanent and temporary employment and a variety of hours. Here's how to search for and apply for a job using NHS Jobs:

Simple Search:

On the home page, there is the option to do a simple search using either of the two boxes at the top of the page:

  • In the first you can use keywords (nurse, administrator, etc.); however this will bring up all NHS vacancies throughout the country for that particular keyword. Or you can use the job reference number. You’ll find the reference number on every NHS job vacancy, so if you see it advertised in your local paper or in a trade magazine you can use this to go straight to the details.
  • In the second box, you can use a location or postcode. By default, all vacancies within a 10 mile radius of your location will appear, however you can adjust this using the drop down options under the ‘Distance’ heading in the top left corner.

If you are particular about the location you need to work in or the job you want, maybe you are about to graduate as a Physiotherapist for example, you can use filters to allow you to find your perfect vacancy. Enter either a keyword or location, but you can click ‘More Search Options’ which is just underneath the two boxes and with a ‘plus’ sign at its left side.

This opens 3 drop down options: ‘Any Pay Band’, ‘Any Salary’ or ‘For This Area + 10miles’. If, as in the example above, you are about to graduate you can click ‘Band 5’ in ‘Any Pay Band’ and then press the big blue ‘Search’ button to open all entry level Physiotherapy posts.


Advanced Search:

Alternatively, you can use the ‘Advanced Search’ function: you still have the main options above but it gives you a much wider amount of filters to really specify your wants and needs. Once you have inputted your keyword or location, etc. click ‘Additional Filters’ to discover a whole new range of options, such as your staff group or job type (temporary / permanent / contract).


New Graduates:

A useful option for new graduates is the box right at the very bottom of the page: under ‘Additional Settings’ tick the box labelled ‘Suitable for newly qualified applicants’.



After you’ve pressed ‘Search’, the list of suitable jobs appears. You still have the chance to filter the results using the options down the left hand side. The results show you the title, location, employer, salary, banding, staff group and job reference number as well as the date the job was posted on the site, when it closes and whether it is permanent, fixed term or temporary.

There are also a few lines about the job itself, sufficient for you to decide whether or not you want more information. If you do, click on the job title and it will bring up a whole load of details about the job including an expansion on the job details, links to the hospital or Trust’s websites plus a job description and personal specification.

By downloading the person specification you can find our exactly what they are looking for: qualifications, experience, skills, whether it’s essential you are a car driver, if you need to work shifts, if there are any demanding work conditions, etc. The job description tells you in close detail what the job will involve, what your day to day duties will be and which departments you will be working with.



In order to apply for a job, you will need to register on the NHS Jobs website. Click ‘Apply for Job’ and it takes you to the Candidate’s Log-In / Registration screen. Enter your email in the registration box and click ‘register’. Enter your details, create a password and security question and you’re done. In the future, when you click on ‘Apply for Job’, you will just need to enter your email address and password.

You’re now taken to the application section. For some jobs, there may be some Pre-Application Questions, to ensure you have the right qualifications or if you hold a professional registration, if they are essential. Assuming you do, click ‘yes’ to each option and press submit. You can now begin to complete everything needed for your application which is introduced to you in sections. Add the bottom of each page, click ‘save and continue’ to proceed. If you need to take a break, click ‘save for later’.


Personal Information:

In this section you are asked for general details such as your name, National Insurance number, address and phone numbers.



Complete this section with your education and professional qualifications. You can include courses that you are currently doing, such as if you are at university and applying for a job for when you graduate. You can add up to 11 qualifications. Also add any relevant training that you have undertaken. Try to keep these related to the job you are applying for.

Add in details of any professional membership or registration you hold. You are also asked if there are any conditions or restrictions such as fitness to practice investigations that would affect your ability to do the job you are applying for. Be sure to be truthful!


Employment History:

Now detail your employment history, starting with your current or most recent job. Complete their address, type of business, who you reported to, your job title, days of starting and leaving (leave the ‘end date’ box blank if you are still working there), your salary, notice period (if applicable) and reason for leaving. If you still work there you can leave the ‘reason for leaving’ box blank unless you feel you would like to complete it - but if you do, be nice! Say something like ‘to further my career’, ‘to develop a career in…’ - don’t say because you can’t stand your current boss/work colleagues!

Next, give a brief description of your duties and responsibilities. You have around 500 words available to you if you want write a lot, but we’d recommend keeping this section brief and concise. Maybe use a bullet point format to highlight the main points of your job - you can describe how your duties relate to the job you’re applying for in the ‘Supporting Information’ section. You can add up to 10 jobs/employers.

Once you’re at the bottom of the page, describe any gaps in your employment - maybe you took a gap year, took some time to be a housewife/husband or went to university.



Here you need to provide contact details for people who you would like to provide references for you. Sometimes this can be a bit of a tricky situation, so think carefully before you complete it. Normally you would include your current/most recent boss or supervisor, which can be awkward if you don’t get on with them and they are the reason why you want to leave. Is there anyone else in your department who you report to on some level who would be able to comment on your qualities, reliability and suitability for the job? If so, include them but think ahead in case you are asked by the interview panel why you have chosen that person over your boss.

You can add a few people but normally you would add two or three references, with one, as above, being your current/most recent boss, one being a previous boss (unless you have worked somewhere for years and you would be asking for a reference from someone you last worked with about 10 years ago!) and one maybe being someone senior who you have worked closely with but not necessarily reported to.

If you are still at university or college you must add a tutor, ideally from your final year. Adding a reference from any part-time job would be a good idea as this shows you have been gaining work experience during your studies. Complete the details for each person and then decide if you would like them to be approached prior to the interview. If you are at university or college this would be a good idea as it shows you are confident of their critique of you and it also helps to speed the whole recruitment process up. If you are currently employed, it’s a different matter - do you really want your supervisor knowing you are actively looking to leave and what happens if they discover this but then you don’t get the job?


Supporting Information:

Here you have around 1500 words to really sell yourself! Have a good read of the job advertisement, job description and personal specification first and make a few notes or bullet points first to summarise the main elements you want to include. Why do you want this job? How does your previous experience relate to it and what skills can you bring to the post? What have you achieved that makes you stand out from the rest?

Maybe structure it with a start, middle and end: Start - talk about your current role, what your professional qualification is, what you are studying at university or college. Why does this job interest you? Middle - discuss your skills and attributes (be professional and realistic rather than boastful!) What have been the highlights of your career so far? What have you set up or improved? End - how will this job develop your career? Summarise your best bits and highlight why you would be successful in the post.

A good idea is to complete the information for this section in Word first - you can then easily check your spelling and grammar. Copy and paste it over into NHS Jobs and ensure all the paragraphs and spacing are still in place.


Monitoring Information:

Here you are asked about your date of birth, gender, marital status, ethnicity, sexuality and religious beliefs as well as if you have any disability or know or are related to any director of the organisation you are applying too.  The site states that this part of the application ‘form’ will not be seen by anyone who may be interviewing you and that it is not used in the shortlisting process at all, but instead anonymised and used to hopefully ensure that the Trust or organisation is complying with the Equality Act 2010. Apart from declaring any relationship with a director, you have the option to not disclose any of the above.



Here you need to declare if you have any criminal convictions. It is dependent on the position if any convictions will have a bearing on your application, but it’s vital that you are truthful and declare any. Your new employer won’t look too favourably on you if you have failed to mention it and they find out after you have started in your new job!


Submit and Declarations:

Now you come on to the final bit of the application, where you need to tick a box to declare that everything you have stated is truthful. It’s wise to just take a minute to go back through your application to check that you have filled everything in and corrected any spelling mistakes. Look again at the ‘supporting information’ section and make sure it is set out correctly, with some paragraphs and not just one huge block of text.

When you’re happy, click to submit the application and keep your fingers crossed!

Once you have registered and completed an application for a job, the next time you start a new application you will find that your details are automatically completed from the last time. If you have applied for several jobs, you can choose which ‘template’ to use at the top of the page.

Depending on the employer, you can be notified that there is a message waiting for you which you can access once you log back into NHS Jobs. Sometimes you will be emailed directly, so ensure you keep checking your mailbox as well as your junk folder.


Good luck!


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