Tips about your application

Here you'll find some hints and tips that will help you to apply for an apprenticeship and perform well in an interview.

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Keep it concise
Usually a CV should be no more than two sides of A4 paper. Keep it punchy, to the point, and save the elaborate details for the interview.

Personal statement
Use a brief personal introduction that will catch the eye of the employer connecting your work history to the specific company and role.

Tailor it to the job role
Take the time to adapt your CV to each role you apply for. Research the company and use the job ad to gauge exactly which skills you should signpost and which aren’t perhaps so relevant.

Don't leave gaps
Gaps in your CV will make employers suspicious. Try and plug these gaps accordingly, for example were you away travelling? Were you developing soft skills?

Keep it updated
You should update your CV regularly, regardless if you are searching for a job or not. Every time something significant occurs in your career, record it.

Ensure there are no mistakes
One of the easiest ways to weed out weaker CVs is to scan them for grammatical mistakes. Don’t give the employer an excuse to dismiss your application. Always use a spellchecker and ask someone else to proof your CV.

Be honest
Never lie on your CV, as many companies will check the facts and if they don’t, it’s likely you’ll get caught out at the interview stage instead. It's important that you are consistent.

Include impressive facts
Back up your achievements with numbers. When writing your work history, don’t just tell the recruiter you increased sales, tell them you increased sales by 70% over a six month period.

Make it look good
Spend time formatting your CV. Use bullet points and keep sentences short. Use the graphic design trick of leaving plenty of white space (around text and between categories) to make sure the layout is easy on the eye.

Write a covering letter
It 's important to make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd. This can be achieved by writing a covering letter for each role you apply for to further impress the employer making your application stand out.

Create your first CV
For those of you who may not have constructed a CV before, you can use this easy step-by-step tool.

Create a CV (National Careers Service)

Dress appropriately
Use your common sense. Job attire varies job to job but always ensure you are presentable.

First impressions count
Greet you interviewer with a smile, retain eye contact and a firm handshake. Attempt to make small talk on the way from reception. Interviewers are often subconsciously making decisions about you in those first 30 seconds.

Be prepared
There is nothing worse that turning up to an interview unprepared. Make sure you have researched the company thoroughly. The best place to start is often a Google search or on their website.

Relax and don't waffle
Answer questions as clearly as possible – don’t be put off by an awkward silence, take a few moments to collect your thoughts and then answer the question as best you can. If you rush into the question it may come out wrong and the nerves get the better of you.

Why should they hire you?
You need to know what your selling points are to their business. Before the interview, make a list of the qualities you think are required of the role. It may be 'team player' for example, or 'good communicator'. Then think of good examples where you have displayed these skills. 

Be enthusiastic
Your interviewer will be thinking about what it would be like to work with you, so it is important that you are enthusiastic about taking on the challenge of the role. Tone of voice is important here.

Remember your body language
It's not what you say, but how you say it. During the interview, don't fold your arms and lean back or look to the floor! Sit upright and try to maintain good eye contact. A useful tip if you struggle to retain eye contact is to look at the interviewer’s forehead which will give the impression you are still retaining eye contact.

Remember your manners
It's better to choose than to be chosen. Tell the interviewer why you are interested in the company and job opportunity. Ask them for a business card and follow it up by sending a 'thank-you' email or letter, saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and how interested you are. Take the opportunity to detail the key advantages you bring.

Ask questions
It's important you've prepared some questions to ask about the role or the business. This will not only help you find out more about the prospective role but develop rapport with your interviewer. If you're unsure of anything, always ask.

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