How To Get The Perfect Apprenticeship

3 September, 2015

How to find the perfect apprenticeship for you

Creating a strong CV

Your CV is all about you, it is an overview of your skills, qualifications and experience. A way to showcase all of your amazing qualities to any prospective employers, and the reason you’ll be invited for an interview. So a spending some time on your CV, and really working hard to make it right, will really pay off when it comes to getting your ideal placement.

Your CV should include:

  • Your name and contact details
  • A personal profile
  • High school/college education and qualifications
  • A summary of your work experience
  • Hobbies and what you do in your spare time
  • References

You shouldn’t put everything on your CV, you should include things that are relevant to the position you are applying for. You’ll need to include your GCSE results, as these are evidence of your skills and what you have learnt. For any GCSE grades that have relevance to the position you’re applying for you can write a little bit about what you have learnt and if you enjoyed it or not. For example if you are applying for an IT apprenticeship, you can write about your IT lessons, go over the points that you liked, and what you would like to continue doing.

You do not need to include your age, as this does not affect your ability to do the job.

Your CV should be no more than two sides of A4 paper, any longer and you’ll be wasting your time. You may want to include everything you’ve done and explain it all, but this is what your interviews are for. Even someone with a lifetimes worth of experience wouldn’t write more, just remember if you have a lot to go into your CV, just try and keep it brief.

As you can imagine employers get a lot of CV’s a day, so they’re not going to spend a lot of time reading them, it might seem harsh since you put a lot of effort into yours. More often than not, the person you’ll want to read your CV wont, they will have someone employed to read through the CV’s and then pass them on to a suitable member of staff. This is why you need to make it very clear that you are the person for the job. You should write a personal profile at the beginning of your CV, as this will be the first thing that gets read, make sure that this is a strong opening to your CV, and make sure it highlights your enthusiasm for the position.

Since you will have left education recently, you might not have much experience to go onto your CV, so it’s okay to make your personal profile a bit longer than you usually would. You’ll find that over time as you gain more experience you’ll shorten it down. It is a good idea to write about your passion for that type of work and that it is something you have always been interested in and are looking to start a career in. Companies don’t always mind about what grades and experience you have, as long as you have passion and determination, remember they are investing in you, so do want you to be in a role that you enjoy. If you can show that an apprenticeship with them is what you really want to do, and that you will be finishing your apprenticeship, then it will get you further than any experience ever could.

Use positive and powerful language, this creates a sense that you are a positive and happy person, with a can do attitude. You should use positive language whenever you can.

Some great words to use are:

  • Accomplished
  • Contribution
  • Delegated
  • Empowered
  • Foresaw
  • Implemented
  • Launched
  • Negotiated
  • Pioneered
  • Rectified
  • Streamlined
  • Transformed
  • Utilised

Your CV does not have to be work based, and not all employers are expecting you to have a big employment history. They are however expecting to see your skills. Everyone has some form of work experience, whether it be through school/college, a Saturday job, or you could babysit for a friend, it all counts as work experience. It might not be in the field you are wanting to start a career in, but shows that you are able to manage your time, e.g. working and keeping up with your studies, it also shows that you are responsible, and have a strong work ethic. You can write about how you find the job, and what skills it has given you.

An employer will want to see what you get up to in your spare time, think of any hobbies you have that are giving you skills, if you are part of a sports team then you can add team work as a skill, if you are into drawing you can add creating new ideas as a skills. Assess what hobbies you do, this is a great chance to bulk up your CV, and give a few more details about yourself.

Some great things to look at are:

  • If you turn up to school/college on time every day, then you are punctual and reliable
  • Do charity work or volunteer, then you are caring, kind and thoughtful
  • Help friends or family with problems, you are a good listener and problem solver
  • Pick up new skills easily, then you’re a quick learner

What you can do to find the perfect apprenticeship

Most employers are impressed if someone comes directly to them to enquire about an apprenticeship, it shows initiative and determination. 

You should make sure you know the benefits of an apprenticeship for both you the apprentice, and the company. Think of things like:

  • How much will it cost the company?
  • How much will I be paid?
  • What are my options after the apprenticeship?
  • How long will the apprenticeship be for?
  • Is there a chance for a permanent position with the company once my apprenticeship is over?

The benefits to you are that you will be earning whilst learning, meaning that you have the upper hand over other people who are going to college/sixth form. You will be earning our own money and won’t have to rely on parents to help you cover any travel or supply costs. You will also be gaining experience in a field that you enjoy, so another upper hand on the college and sixth form kids. Benefits to the company include grants and funding.

You can always have a look at companies in your area that specialise in the apprenticeship you are wanting to do. Have a look in local newspapers and online, they may not be hiring regular staff but if you are applying for an apprenticeship then they may consider you. If you can pitch the benefits of your presence as an apprentice it will really help you.

Don’t be scared to make contact with an employer, send them a cover letter filled with your intentions. State that you are looking for an apprenticeship and why you would like to work in their company, tell them all the great reasons why you’d like to work with them, maybe they work closely with charities, or maybe they have a great IT department that you would like to work in. You’ll really have to do your research on the companies, but all the hard work will son pay off. You can always try to arrange to see someone in the recruitment department, or the head of the department you’d like to work in, if you do want to do this then dress smartly, and be prepared for any questions they may ask you, also have questions that you would like to ask them. This can also be a great time to pitch the benefits of hem having an apprentice in their company. Stay confident and positive throughout the whole process, you won’t always get responses, and you will get knocked back sometimes, but keep powering through for a great pay off.

If you are successful in contacting a company, try and remain in contact with them. It’s always a good idea to get feedback from the company to see how you could improve. Staying in contact is great because you then leave a lasting impression and are always on the companies mind.

Integrity will always be here to find places for you to start an apprenticeship, and we are always here to help you every set of the way. But if you do want to work within a certain company, contacting them yourself can leave a great impression. Also we can arrange to speak to the company and help get you in there as their apprentice.

When applying and finding apprenticeships there are a few things you need to remember:

  • Have a delightful CV – make sure your CV is well presented, pick a font that is clear and easy to read and make the layout of your CV clear.
  • Professional Email – If you have an email address that you made in your early teens, now would be a good time to change it. No one wants to send emails to djruffroller@email.com, so make it simple and use your name, nathanjones@email.com sounds much better.
  • Answering your phone – Nobody likes to receive unsolicited phone calls, but when you’re applying for jobs you have to. Yes it may be someone calling you about PPI, but it could equally be someone offering you the opportunity you’ve worked so hard for. Long story short, answer your phone.
  • Availability – An interview could be offered to you at short notice, you don’t know when this opportunity will strike again, so if you have to cancel plans with friends for an interview it’s not the worst thing in the world.
  • Be employable – If you’re not getting interviews because of your lack of experience, then try volunteering, this will show that you are trying to improve yourself to get the career you want.
  • Proactive not reactive – Print off some CV’s and put on your nice clothes, then visit employers. Being proactive is going to be way more beneficial to you then sitting around the house doing nothing. If you have any family or friends that work in similar companies to the ones you want to work in, ask them to check over your CV and cover letter to see if there is anything you could improve on, you can also send your CV into us and we will help too.
  • Not just social networking – Networking is very important these days, so stay in contact with any contacts you had a great connection with. You can ask them if they know of anyone that is hiring, also you can ask family and friends if they know anyone.
  • Watch what you write – Your social network accounts could be accessed by any potential employer, they will look to see what type of person you are from the things you’ve written. By all means be yourself, just be careful. You could start a LinkedIn account, which is social media for business.
  • Be you – You’re not going to get along with everyone, and employers can sense if you’re going to get on their current staff, that’s not a bad thing since if you can’t make friends you’re probably not going to enjoy where you work. So always be yourself.
  • Don’t Stop – Never give up trying to find your perfect apprenticeship. If you get into an apprenticeship and don’t like where you work, don’t panic, we will find you somewhere else to continue your apprenticeship. You can’t throw away everything you have worked for.

Remember that you are not in this apprenticeship alone, we will be on your side every step of the way, helping with any issues you face. We will help you write CV’s and cover letters, finding apprenticeships, interviews and more. You can call us on 01226720775 or email futuretalent@integrityft.co.uk. If you fins an apprenticeship that you want to do, contact us so that we can start your amazing journey. 

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