Once you have decided that an apprenticeship is the way forward for you, the focus is then all about making the right first impression with the employer. The first contact with the college and the employer will be either via your CV or an application form. Both your CV and application form are ‘door openers’, your opportunity to engage the employer so that they want to meet and find out more about you. First impressions count!
Making the right impression: Top tips for your CV or Application Form
A good CV or application will increase your chances of being invited for a face-to-face interview with the employer. It is therefore worth spending time and effort on getting the content and presentation the best it can be. Here are a few tips to help you and your CV stand out from the crowd:
Content, Layout and Design
- CV’s should be easy to read and tell the employer what they need to know about you know quickly and easily
- It should be no longer than 2 pages, black ink on white paper and standard fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman should be used
- It should be divided into clear sections with headings; for example: Personal Details, Personal Statement, Education, Skills, Work Experience and Interests/Hobbies
- Information should always be the most relevant and the most recent first e.g. in Education, your High School and then your Primary School
- Review and tailor your CV to every apprenticeship application, using the Job Description to make sure you highlight your relevant skills and experience
- Attention to detail and check, check, check. You may not get a second chance to make a first impression, so check your CV for spelling mistakes, errors in grammar. Ask someone else to proof read and help you portray yourself in the best light
- If an application form is required, your CV can act as a template for all the required information
One of the first things the employer will read about you is in your Personal Statement, situated at the top of your CV, just below your personal information. It should say who you are and why you are interested in the apprenticeship. It should tell the employer the personal qualities and skills you have to offer and of any relevant experience. This is your opportunity to impress and engage the employer to want to carry on reading and find out more about you.
Preparing for Interview
- Your CV should lead to you to being invited for an interview. Preparation is now key:
- Research the organisation and business sector
- Research standard interview questions – think of your answers and any examples that you can use
- Role play – get someone to ask you the questions so that you can practice and improve on your answers
- Think of questions to ask the employer – it shows you are keen and interested
- Dress smartly and appropriately for an interview. Be polite and courteous. Think about what impression you are trying to make
- Remind yourself of the job description and your CV before the interview so that you can give relevant answers
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview – check timetables and build in extra time for delays etc
- Be positive, be yourself and be confident
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