CRUCIAL CV tips to get an Apprenticeship from an Apprentice

CRUCIAL CV tips to get an Apprenticeship from an Apprentice

Constructing your first CV and producing something you are not ashamed to hand over to your potential employer is something I struggled with when applying for apprenticeships.

So in the list below I highlight the top 8 tips for writing a banging CV!
However if you are more of a visual learner the video version is below, but if you want a more detailed list, continue on reading!

This all added to the fact that most generic CV templates found online seem to suggest that putting down all of the working experience in your life so far is vital.

Unfortunately though this can often encourage thoughts of putting any old thing down just to fill the space. Such as a footnote about the time you managed to do the big jump down the park on your BMX and using ‘Dave saw me do it’ as a reference. Not good.

So after many failed applications worth of feedback from employers, I have put together 8 CRUCIAL tips everyone needs to know when conducting a CV – especially one for an Apprenticeship.


1) Cover letter - Why they are important

Cover letters are the introduction to your CV. They introduce you, your aspirations (the relevant ones) and why you are applying to this Apprenticeship. The Cover letter should reflect your skills and abilities and anything that is relevant to the role you are going for.

Remember, this is a formal and professional piece of writing, try to make sure you don’t sound like a div. What i mean by sounding like a div, is having spelling mistakes, grammar errors, repeating yourself a lot and having a crap and unreadable font or having text too small. The list goes on.

cover letters

2) Experience – Focus on what's relevant

Focus on Whats relevant - BinocularsMany of us believe that having a long and exotic list of varying work experiences is exactly what an employer is looking for. However on some occasions quite the opposite can be more admirable.

Let me explain why.

The key with an Apprenticeship is that the employer wants to train you to be exactly who they want. So if you can imagine that an employer looking for an IT apprentice wants to hear all about your summer job 4 years ago at the local Butchers then you are probably wrong.

Although mentioning your role and responsibilities when working at the Butchers is a very wise thing, you should be focusing more of your limited word count on the experiences and skills you have that would make you an excellent IT apprentice.

This can include things such as how you had to utilise your impressive time management skills when working in the butchers, as you often had to juggle 3-4 responsibilities at once.

3) Tailor it

Tailor it - Tape measure

One of the things I got told when I had my Assessment Centre with GSK was that nothing on my CV was relevant to the role. The GSK assessor who gave me the feedback, informed me that I hadn't linked any of my skills or attributes to what they could be used for in the workplace.

He went on to say that, although I had some relevant experience with IT, I failed to refer it to the role I would be going into. This is where research into the actual job you would be doing is key.

The GSK assessor continued the chat by saying that although my CV had the relevant IT experience, I didn't mention why it would be useful in the workplace, or how I could apply those skills to the Apprenticeship itself.

He ended by saying that this was where my application fell against the other candidates, and was the main reason I didn't get the role.
GSK EmailThe email from GSK informing me I got a place at the assessment centre.

4) Research the Role

Research the role - guy looking at wall

This one is ESSENTIAL. There is no way you can expect to get one of the best apprenticeships in the country if you have no idea what it will entail and what your responsibilities will be.

This exactly the mistake I made with GSK!

I had no idea what the role would actually be, so instead, I had just done a bit of research into the company (which by the way, is always a good thing to do as well) but I didn't touch on what my role would be which as mentioned before was my eventual downfall.

The main thing you need to know is what your overall responsibilities would be, so you can then expand on what skills would be great to help with these responsibilities. This means that you can then talk about how you have said skills and why you would be great for the role.

5) Confidence

Be confident in your writing. This is about you! Not John or Dave from the park or anyone else, just you. Stay focused on your achievements and why you are great for this Apprenticeship.

Confidant man in suit6) Be concise

Although you may have lots to say about yourself and your many BMX related achievements.

Just try your best to keep your CV to around 2 pages.

Most employers, when looking at hiring Apprentices or Graduates, don’t expect you to have reams of experience so 1 page is often good enough as well.

7) Grammar + Spelling check

This one really shouldn't need explaining. A free tool to do it better than Microsoft Word is here.

8) *Your name here*

hello my name is

Right off the bat a great tip I got from my girlfriend's Father, Mark (he’s an employer, and has seen many CVs in his time), is to save the CV document as your name i.e. ‘Jeremy Gaisford CV’.

I know it sounds simple, and you could argue no one missed out on a job because their CV didn't have their name in the Document title, but why risk it?

It is something that really bugs the interviewer when they are going back over the hundreds of CVs they have got to assess and want to find one individual, but they have to open and close all of them to find the one they're after.

Make yourself stand out and be the easy choice!

If you have anything to say leave a comment below!

P.S. Share this post with anyone you know who is looking for an Apprenticeship or who has an interview coming up and needs some help!

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