Apprenticeships are definitely the way forward for strengthening your career and gaining life long skills. They are rising in popularity, because they give you hands on experience. However, there is a lot of competition out there, so it’s important to stand out and spend plenty of time researching the company so that you can stand out from the crowd. Here’s some helpful tips on how to apply for apprenticeships.
Find out the furthest distance you can travel for an apprenticeship. Then research apprenticeship websites for placements within your area. Most sites include industry categories to help narrow the search down. Some helpful sites include https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch
It’s a good idea to sign up to these sites via email, and then you will get alerts when relevant roles come up. Don’t treat it as a job, treat it almost like a first date – a good first impression needs to be made and skills shown off, but common ground is also needed so the company needs to be thoroughly researched to see what they want. Also make sure all social network sites are turned onto private, you don’t want potential employers to see all those party pictures!
The nitty gritty
The email name ... Don’t use that one you set up years ago, create a new professional one that will show employers that you are a serious prospect. Make sure your CV is tailored to the apprenticeship you are applying on and you include relevant experience. Show them the specific skills and experience you have gained from part time jobs.
It is ideal to send both a CV and covering letter; these should both be read by others to double check any flaws. Never put “Dear Sir/Madam” unless it is a last resort – recruitment managers can often be found on Linkedin or the company website. Hobbies are also a good way to stand out, try something different like dodgeball as it will stand out in comparison to others, and it’s something interesting to talk about should you get an interview.
Remember that the words you use in your application are a reflection of you. Avoid using common words that everyone uses such as ‘hard working’, instead use words that will make you stand out. Make sure you look at the summary of the apprenticeship and highlight the skills they are looking for, and then show how you have these skills in your covering letter.
When your application is ready to send, check it thoroughly, you won’t have any chance if the employer spots mistakes. If you are applying to lots of apprenticeships, make sure you still take the time to tailor each application to the job you are applying for, rather than sending out a standard email.
Companies like to believe they are the best and the only one to apply to. Take the time to get to know them and find out their values, making sure you align your CV and personal profile with them. Find out what previous apprentices have said about the company or any employees and mention this within the cover letter.
Look up whether they are listed in the best companies to work for and what sort of work culture they have. For example, if they are a company who likes team work, make sure this is stated within your cover letter or CV and they will appreciate you have done your research.
Your strengths are important to highlight as this is the reason why companies should choose you over another candidate. Ask others how they would describe you and make a list of what you think are positives about how you work.
It’s important to justify your strengths with examples as employers want to know how you have gained these skills, and that you are not just listing positive skills without evidence to back them up. You might want to prepare an achievement portfolio or some examples of your work to bring with you to your interview.
A memorable end
Leave them with something to remember you by. At the end of your cover letter include an interesting fact about yourself as this will then stick in your potential employer's mind. Good luck!