For many of you, an apprenticeship is the first ‘real’ job you’ve had since leaving school, and your first opportunity to gain real-life work experience, while developing your professional skill set. As such, this can make the application process more challenging. It can be particularly difficult to write a CV with fewer years of experience and education - but, don’t let this discourage you! There are plenty of ways to showcase your value to potential employers when writing a CV for apprenticeships, without any prior experience. We’ll run you through how to write a CV for apprenticeships, covering…
- Why do you need a CV for an apprenticeship?
- What do you need to include in your CV for your apprenticeship application? (Including CV examples)
- Top tips for writing a great CV for your apprenticeship
Why do you need a CV for an apprenticeship?
CV stands for the latin words ‘Curriculum Vitae’, which translates to ‘course of life’. As the name suggests, writing a CV is essential for telling employers all about you and your life experiences, prior to meeting in person or before the interview stage. A CV gives potential employers or recruiters a better understanding of who you are, your skills, your educational background, your interests and what you’ll bring to the team. Although you may not have tons of work experience at this point in your life, a well-written CV showcasing your best assets will still help you stand out from the crowd.
What do you need to include in your CV for your apprenticeship application?
We’ll cover everything you need to include in your application, featuring a few CV examples for a degree apprenticeship to help you get a better idea of how to structure your CV.
1. Your details
It may seem self-explanatory, but the first thing you need to do is list your full name and contact details, including your phone number and email address. It’s likely that employers will be looking through many applications and will want to know how to get in contact with you, so it’s important to list your details at the top of your CV so they have this information readily available.
2. An opening statement
Next, you will need to put together an opening personal statement. We recommend you keep it snappy and summarise yourself in two to three sentences. Here, the key things to include are your current position, key achievements or experiences, your professional goals and what interests you about the apprenticeship you are applying for. Don’t worry, you will cover these topics in more detail throughout your CV. Your personal summary should be carefully curated to pique your recruiters' interest and make them keep reading, so make sure you sell yourself!
3. Core skills and achievements
This section of your CV should demonstrate all your skills and your key achievements. This can be done in a bullet point list, with a brief description for each. You can draw upon skills and achievements from your education, work experience or extracurricular activities. Here are a few examples:
- Fluent German Language (written and spoken)
- Chairperson of German Society
- Microsoft Office
- Senior Prefect
- Student Journalist for the school newspaper
It could be worth changing this list slightly depending on the role you are applying for, especially if you have a few industry or role-specific skills under your belt.
4. Academic background
Many apprentices begin fresh out of school or college, which means they are unlikely to have substantial work experience. In this case, it is best to highlight your academic achievements and educational background. You should list all your qualifications in chronological order, including the type of qualification achieved, your grades where relevant, the year you obtained it and the establishment you attended. We also recommend adding some commentary around any key skills you gained or modules of note. Remember that this can also include any vocational or online courses, as well as those you obtained at school, such as A-Levels and GCSEs. Here’s one example of what this might look like:
BSc Geography (2:1), The University of Leeds. 2017-2020
- Modules spanning physical and human geography
- Technical research methods
- Practical field work
- Collection, analysis and visualisation of environmental data
- Practical experience using industry equipment and software, including ArcGIS
5. Work experience
Employers do not expect apprentices to have work experience however, if you do, this could work to your advantage and should take centre stage on your CV. Where appropriate, include your job title, the company you worked for, the dates of employment and a description of your key responsibilities.
Again, there’s no need to fret if you do not have any formal work experience. Instead, you can write about any school-based work experience you undertook or volunteering - even if it was only temporary.
Just make sure you demonstrate the value of your work experience, drawing upon your day-to-day duties and how these helped you develop relevant skills, and make you a better candidate for the apprenticeship programme.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Part-Time Student Blogger at Oxford Brookes University (September 2021-March 2022)
- Conducting research for blog topics
- Carrying out interviews as a primary source for my articles
- Writing a weekly article to meet tight deadlines
- Demonstrating excellent writing and editing skills
- Liaising with fellow bloggers to write collaborative pieces
6. Extracurricular activities
Now is the time to let your personality shine through, whether relevant to the apprenticeship or not. Recruiters will be looking through tens, if not thousands of CVs, so you need to make sure yours is memorable. Make a lasting impression by showing off some of your hobbies and interests. We recommend avoiding any generic hobbies, like ‘socialising’ or ‘going out with friends’.
If possible, go into more detail about how your hobbies make you a desirable candidate. For example, if you play a team sport, you could highlight your teamwork and communication skills, or if you take part in hackathons, you could talk about your coding and problem-solving skills.
CV referees are anyone your employer can contact to vouch for your skills or experience. This could be a previous employer or teacher, for instance. You can either list their contact details or simply put ‘references available upon request’ at the bottom of your CV. Just make sure you choose referees who you have a good relationship with and who are happy to support your application.
Top tips for writing a great CV for your apprenticeship
- Use a professional email address that you check regularly
- Make sure you give your CV an appropriate file name and send in the correct format
- Double check your spelling and grammar
- Ask a friend or teacher to proofread your CV
- Keep the formatting clear and concise
- Keep your CV short and to the point (maximum 2 A4 sides)
- Include a cover letter where applicable
- Try not to embellish the truth as your employer is sure to find out
- Make sure you are ready to talk about your CV in your apprenticeship interview