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The perfect CV

The main step to getting any apprenticeship all boils down to the CV you apply with. So, what makes a ‘perfect’ CV?

Step 1: Get the basics right!

A good quality CV needs structure. Start with your personal information, especially your contact details. Sounds obvious I know, but you’d be surprised how many employers have found they can’t get in touch with applicants after liking what they see.

Step 2: Make it personal

Employers don’t just look for the right skills and knowledge when they’re recruiting; they look for the right person. Your personal profile plays a crucial role in getting an employer’s attention. A good profile will make them want to find out more and keep on reading. Use this short paragraph to really highlight your strengths and the type of person you are. So, if you’re a motivated self-starter, a creative forward thinker, or just work well with others, then tell them that. Every business needs its employees to work together in order to achieve success. Who you are is just as important as what you can do.

Step 3: Shout about your success

Employers recruiting an apprentice don’t expect you to have loads of work experience to draw on. But whatever you do have, draw on it as much as possible. When listing what you’ve done and your responsibilities, ask yourself “what positive impact did that have where I worked?” So, for example, instead of saying “I was responsible for handling customer enquiries” try saying, “I took responsibility for efficiently and effectively resolving customer enquiries, using a helpful and personal approach to ensure excellent customer experience.” See I what I did there?

Similarly, don’t forget about your qualifications. List them out clearly and put your highest grades first. If you took part in extra-curricular activities such as sports or clubs, add that too – it all helps to shape the picture of you that will be forming in the employer’s mind.

Step 4: Tailor, tailor, tailor

As with most things in life, one size rarely fits all. While your experience will stay the same regardless of the job you’re going for, the way you apply it should change to suit the role, the essential criteria, and the company. So, if a role specifically states experience in a certain area and you have it, make it loud and clear. Similarly, if your research into the company discovers it values innovation in its employees, and you’re great with ideas, then give them an example of when you’ve changed or improved something. Tailoring your CV makes it easier for the employer. They don’t have to assume or try to find where you have the right skills or experience – you’ve made it unmissable.

Step 5: Stick to the rule of two

I’ll let you into a little secret. No employer relishes reading CVs – especially if there’s a big pile of them! Your CV may only be given 5 seconds to convince the reader to put you on the interview pile so the way you present it is essential. It needs to be clear, concise, and easy to read. Stick to no more than 2 sides of A4 and make the first half of your first page your ‘CV hotspot.’ This is the place the reader’s eye naturally falls to when they first look at it. And it’s here you need to put the most relevant information to the employer – your key skills, achievements and personal qualities that say why you’re suited to the role. Leave things like your educational history and hobbies and interests for later on. If your hotspot does a good job, the employer will happily go looking for rest!

I hope these hints and tips help you to create that perfect CV, and ultimately land you that perfect apprenticeship!

Good luck!

Amy Smith

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