Before we begin…
There’s no need to put ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top of your CV. It’s just stating the obvious. It can be difficult to spell too, so why risk it?
There will be a large number of applicants for each apprenticeship, and that means a large amount of CV’s. Employers are unlikely to read each one from beginning to end.
A good apprenticeship CV has to grab the employer by the ears and scream ‘EMPLOY ME!’ within twenty seconds
Step 1: YOUR DETAILS
After your name, you need to provide relevant contact information. Contact information is crucial. How will an employer get in touch, to say ‘come in for an interview’ without your phone number and email address?
Step 2: PERSONAL STATEMENT
Keep it brief. Keep it focused.
Keep it brief and focused on the apprenticeship you are applying for, there is no need to detail your fondness for summer walks, cream cheese and watching re-runs of friends.
Apprenticeships train candidates to perform a specific job, or for a role in that wider industry. Your personal statement should relate to that job or industry, and be tailored around the apprenticeship you are applying for.
If you’re struggling with your personal statement, try and answer this question… how will you benefit the company during your apprenticeship?
Provide a summary of your abilities including detail on the skills and knowledge you have to offer employers. If you have any part-time work experience then give an overview here, but if not; simply expand on the transferable workplace skills you have gained throughout your education such as communication, teamwork, organisation, planning, IT skills etc. Also, if you have any impressive extra-curricular activities then it’s worth touching upon them here.
Step 3: EDUCATION
The first thing to remember in the education section of your CV is to put your most recent qualifications first. Put A-levels before your GCSEs.
Any modules studied during you’re A-levels or GCSEs that are relevant to the apprenticeship are also worth a mention.
If you are applying for an accounting apprenticeship, and you completed a project or a piece of coursework that focused on collecting and analysing data, let the employer know!
Applicants for apprenticeships do not usually have a long list of previous work experience or qualifications. A lot of CV’s for apprenticeships can be remarkably similar in content.
Any work or projects that relate to the apprenticeship, no matter how small, will separate you from your rivals in the application process.
Step 4: EMPLOYMENT HISTORY/WORK EXPERIENCE
If you have a job, list your key responsibilities and any awards or achievements you have been given.
When listing your responsibilities, it’s better to use words that convey action and a sense of purpose.
Writing ‘I made a new pricing system’ is not going to inspire a prospective employer. However, if you change it to ‘I introduced and developed a new pricing system’, it sounds like you had a more active role.
If you have not had a paid job, this is a fantastic opportunity to discuss any unpaid or voluntary work you have under your belt. Detailing previous work experience is a great way of providing evidence of the key skills you have said you possess.
Step 5: INTERESTS
This allows the employer to see your more personal side, and what you enjoy spending your free time doing. Here, you can use your outside interests and extra-curricular activities to show an employer why you are an ideal candidate for an apprenticeship.
If you play in a sports team, here is your opportunity to show the employer that you work well in a team. If you are team captain, you can feed in your leadership qualities.
If you have any extra-curricular activities or interests that relate to the apprenticeship, call attention to them. What you do with you free time is valuable information to an employer. It tells them about your passions. If you can assure an employer that you are passionate about accounting or engineering or design, they are more likely to employ you.
Employers invest time and money in apprenticeship schemes. They would rather employ an apprentice who is enthusiastic about the course, rather than a person who is better qualified but doesn’t care.
Step 7: REFERENCES
‘References are available on request’.
Unless an employer asks for your references immediately, put this at the end of your CV.
You usually have to give two referees. It’s a good idea to pick a person who knows you academically – perhaps a teacher in the subject that is similar to the apprenticeship.
If you have a job, your second referee could be your manager. They can testify to all the skills you have outlined throughout your CV. If you haven’t worked, choose someone you know from any work experience or volunteering you have done.
It’s better to choose referees that know you well, and who you share a good relationship with.
Here are a few top tips to consider as you write your CV:
- DON’T go over two A4 pages
- DON’T include a photo unless asked to
- DON’T use slang words
- ALWAYS check spelling and grammar
- BE HONEST!