The importance of a good CV

So, we have busted the myths and given you the facts about apprenticeships and provided a quick guide on choosing the right apprenticeship.
You're keen and ready to apply, but before beginning to write your CV, ask yourself four key questions:

  1. What do I want to do?
  2. What sectors interest me?
  3. What is the role am I applying for?
  4. What do I want the employer to know about me that will highlight why I am the best person for the role?

 It's essential to ask yourself these questions as it will give you some direction when writing your CV and will help you modify your CV to a specific role or area of interest.

 The importance of a good CV

A well-constructed CV could be the difference between getting an interview for your dream job or not, so knowing what you should write and how you should do it is paramount to your success.

Your CV is the first thing an employer will have to go on, so make it count.

Think of a CV as an essential piece of personal marketing to promote yourself to an employer so that you stand out and want to meet you. Use your CV to let the reader (employer) see what there is to know about you, your education, achievements, skills and abilities.

Getting your CV started

Create a standard CV which you can then adapt to EVERY individual application you intend to make and ensure that you include these 7 key details.

  1. Personal details and contact information: Consider placing this in the header. Name, address, phone number and email. (You do not need to include your date of birth or age)
  2. Personal statement: If you are not writing a covering letter, you should include a personal statement which should be two or three lines detailing your strengths and why you are suitable for the role
  3. Education: Start with your most recent place of study and qualifications you achieved first
  4. Employment history or work experience:  If you have both, detail as two separate sections and detail the skills you acquired and any achievements
  5. Skills: Employers will be keen to know what skills you have - scroll down to see what is a skill
  6. Strengths and achievements: Detail things like team working, a school or college project or event you took part in, a hobby where you have gained an award such as a certificate, trophy or a medal
  7. Interests and voluntary work: Detail your interests and any volunteering work such as fundraising or sponsoring which you have taken part in

Tailor your CV!

Once you have a basic CV, you should tailor it for each role you apply for. It takes just a few minutes and demonstrates to the employer that you have researched the company and looked at the job description the employer has taken time to write.

Make sure you research the job role and detail the skills you have to match.

For example, if you want to be a Teaching Assistant, you might detail a time you worked with children or taken care of a younger family member such as babysitting. Something you might think is irrelevant can demonstrate your experience. For a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, you may want to include all the social media platforms you understand, or as an 'Aspiring' Business Administrator, you should showcase any relevant skills, such a PC literacy or filing methods you have used.
You might be daunted or think you don't have any skills; this will not be the case think about what skills are required for the role and then draw the skills from your experiences. Here are some ideas to get you started: -

Even if you are a school leaver, there are some life skills that you have begun to learn, for example, did you engage in team working activities? That's a skill! Teamwork skills are the qualities and abilities that allow you to work well with others during conversations, projects, meetings, or other collaborations so if you have worked on a successful group project or played in a sports team, motivating friends and classmates is a skill.

  • Did you use software for homework such as Microsoft suite? That's a skill
  • If you're leaving university without practical job experience? Did you manage your student loan? Budgeting is a skill.
  • You may have prioritised your assignments to meet deadlines. That's organising, prioritising and working to deadlines and is a skill that can translate into completing tasks & project assignments.

The key is adding the skills you have acquired and tailoring them to the role for which you are applying.

Remember, you are applying for an apprenticeship

 When hiring apprentices, employers are looking for is someone who has the skills and desire for the job role and experience isn't always a necessity. 
But if you haven't thought about your CV, it will show.

So prepare!

 Think about your CV and why you're writing it and to whom you are writing. You are not the only one applying, so you have to make your CV stand out.
Then check, check and check again!  Make sure your CV is accurate and get someone else to check it before you send it.
Finally, do not rely on your CV alone.  If you get to the next stage, you will need to provide examples, such as certificates and references that support the details of your CV.  It is ok to show off your skills to put you in the best light, but if you attend an interview, you will need to back up what you have written.
You're in the door, shaking hands and the interview is about to start…
Coming next - Interview tips, for face to face or online interviews
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22 Jul 2020