Your apprenticeship may be your first real job and your first opportunity to earn a weekly or monthly wage. Don’t worry, even if you have never worked before there is lots that you can include in your CV that will show what a fantastic candidate you are.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at how to write an interview-winning apprenticeship CV for 2020:
Keep things relevant
The first thing to consider when creating a CV for an apprenticeship is to include as much relevant information for the apprenticeship you are applying for as possible.
For example, if your desired apprenticeship is in finance, you should include as much as you can about your maths and computing skills, any experience with handling money and any knowledge of finance, accounting or economics.
But if you’re applying for a role in sports coaching, none of the above would be very applicable. Instead, you might choose to discuss the football team you’re part of, your GCSE PE modules and exams and your volunteer experience in organising a children’s sports club once a week.
Write a stunning personal statement or profile
Your personal statement or profile sits at the very top of your CV and will likely be one of the first things a potential employer reads. It needs to show them that you’re a good fit and persuade them to read the rest of your CV.
Employers of apprentices understand you might not have much practical experience, so they will be paying close attention to what you can tell them about your personal attributes and potential in your personal statement.
A good personal statement needs to be clear and concise. In the case of an apprenticeship CV, it can include a sentence or two as to why you might be suitable for, or interested in, the industry you are applying for. This is likely to be covered in more depth in your cover letter, so be careful not to be too repetitive.
You can also include a sentence or two that summarises any relevant work experience or volunteering experience you’ve gained and add your highest academic achievements or any significant achievement in your life so far. This doesn’t have to be from a job — it might be a hobby, club or sports trophy or award. Dedication to an extra-curricular hobby shows a potential employer that you could be a dedicated and enthusiastic employee and learner.
You can also mention your academic grades in your personal statement but try to keep it brief and focus on those that are relevant. For example, if you were applying for a digital apprenticeship who wanted applicants with strong English and IT skills, you might say that you’ve gained ‘10 GCSE’s A-C, including English A and ICT B’.
A personal statement only needs to be a few sentences, so try to pick out the best and most relevant points for you and your ideal apprenticeship role.
Detail your core skills and achievements
Next up is a core skills and achievements list which should be a bullet-pointed list of — you guessed it — your key skills and achievements. These could either be written in very short sentences or single words, for example:
- 9 GCSEs
- Fluent French
- Customer service
- Microsoft Office
- Football team captain
- Student of the term
Whatever your list contains, it needs to stand out, and where possible, be relevant to the apprenticeship you are applying for.
Include any volunteering and work experience
It’s likely that you won’t have too much work experience to include in your CV — and that’s ok! If you do have work experience, list your job title, the name of the company you worked for, the dates of employment and your key duties and responsibilities.
But if you don’t have any formal work experience, you can also include any school or college-based work experience — even if it was only for a short period of time. Even if you’ve helped out with a family business or a friend’s job temporarily, or volunteered at the weekends, it’s worth including.
Use this section of your CV to show how committed you were to this experience and what you learned. During an apprenticeship, you will be learning a job through hands-on experience — so demonstrating what you learned during any work experience is sure to sure your potential. Did you problem solve? Did you learn to use a new piece of software to perform a task? Did you work as a team or have to get up early and be on time?
Go into detail about your education
If you don’t have much work or volunteering experience, the education section on your CV is your chance to shine — as too will be the hobbies and interests section. If you have limited experience and feel that your education will help you to stand out more, it might be useful to switch up the structure and flip these two around.
When listing your qualifications, include the subjects you studied, the name of your school and/or college and your grades. Underneath your most relevant qualifications (for example, a PE GCSE, if you’re applying for a sports apprenticeship), you could also add details of the skills you gained and any impressive grades or achievements from your studies.
For example, if you took a photography A-Level and are applying for an apprenticeship in a creative design field, you might list the programmes you used to edit your photographs and detail any photographic or design techniques you picked up during that time.
Don’t forget your hobbies and interests
Employers do pay attention to hobbies and interests, especially in the CVs of young people. Commitment to a hobby, interest, or sport outside of compulsory education shows enthusiasm. It shows you are willing to take on a task, show up and see it through.
Playing a team sport shows your potential to work as a team in a professional environment. Equally, a solo sport like swimming shows competitiveness and determination, as well as an ability to work independently. Musical and art-based hobbies illustrate creativity. Achievements in video games, creating websites or programming demonstrate technology-based skills. See what we’re getting out here?
As you finish up creating an apprenticeship CV, look back and check if you have included everything significant and relevant. Don’t exaggerate, but don’t be afraid to boast a little about what you think your strongest attributes are or why you will be the perfect apprentice for an employer.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.