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Preparing The Right CV For An Apprenticeship

Published: Wednesday 21st December 2016

Apprentice being taught how to code by mentor

When you leave school or college and need to find a job, your greatest tool is your CV, especially when it comes to an apprenticeship. As most apprenticeship applicants have little to no experience, your CV has to position you as the best possible candidate. Generic CV’s won’t work, which is why you need to tailor your CV for the type of apprenticeship you’re applying for, highlighting the attributes that make you the right person for the post.

Getting The Basics Right With An Apprenticeship CV

Whether it’s an online application or hand-prepared CV, applying for apprenticeship jobs can be daunting. The most important thing to remember is to keep it concise and tailored to the role. While it might seem hard work adapting your CV for each job or apprenticeship you apply for, you should find that your CV improves with each application, and, as a result, you’ll enjoy more success than those candidates that send the same CV to each employer.

Keep it short – At this early stage of your career, you’re not expected to have much experience, so your CV shouldn’t be more than one or two A4 pages long. Use bullet points wherever possible. It makes it easier for the reviewer to find the details they’re looking for. You can also expand on the content once you get to the interview stage.

Format – Unless you have design/presentation skills, find a CV template online and fill in the basic details. Use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial. Size 12 tends to be the norm. If it’s going through an online application system, Verdana and Helvetica are easier to read on a screen. Once you’ve added your basic details, you can fine-tune this CV template for each application you make.

Be positive throughout – While employers don’t expect apprentices to have a lot of experience, showing enthusiasm and a willingness to learn will maximise your chances of being invited to interview.

To Find A Job, Get Your CV In Order

First impressions count, so make your CV succinct and present the information in the most logical order. Start with your contact details, including name, address, home/mobile phone number, email address and website (if applicable for an online portfolio), or other examples of your past work.

After that, include a short paragraph about yourself that summarises why you want to work in this particular field. This section should be highly personalised for each application. Do some research on the company and indicate what it is that makes you want to work there.

Next highlight your record of education. Work in chronological order starting with your most recent. Don’t include primary school details. Under each establishment, indicate the qualifications and grades awarded. Also to be included here are any personal achievements at school or college, such as coming top of the class in a particular subject or membership of any clubs.

The final section of the CV should include any work experience. Remember, this doesn’t need to be paid employment. Volunteer work always looks good on a CV. In fact, anything that you think might be relevant to the position, such as helping out someone else with their work, especially in customer service, or where you have demonstrated good communication skills, such as part of a debating team, will be of interest to potential employers. 

If you don’t have any work experience whatsoever, include any extra-curricular activities and how you think they might apply to the role. Here too is where you should include any language skills, or knowledge of software packages, such as spreadsheets or word processing, and typing skills. 

All that’s needed to complete your CV are references. This can be difficult if you haven’t had any work experience to date, but you can always ask your teacher or perhaps a neighbour that you’ve done some casual work for. Again, doing some voluntary or community work can really help your CV here. Don’t use a family member as a reference. 

The right CV is incredibly important to find a job this early on in your career, so don’t be afraid to experiment if you aren’t getting too many replies. Try different formats, or order your skills differently depending on the job specification. You may find doing it one way is more effective than another. If so, stick with it and good luck!

For more CV tips, visit the Zoek blog or follow us on Twitter @Zoekappuk.

If you are looking for an apprenticeship job in your local area, download the Zoek app for free on iPhone and Android for faster, smarter recruitment. With thousands of jobs from hundreds of recruiters, your next apprenticeship job could be found using Zoek.


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