So you’ve found the Apprenticeship you’d really like. The next stage is to apply and compete for it. There’ll be others in your situation, so how do you make sure you’re the one they’ll choose? Here are the Top Tips to being Apprenticeship competitive.
There is a great deal of competition for apprenticeships, so you need to be in the best shape to get the one you want. There are plenty of articles on line about how to write a CV and what to do in an interview. This article is not one of those. It’s more of a rough guide to improving your chances of the Apprenticeship you want and kick starting your career. It is intended to give you an alternative perspective of what a future employer is looking for. Remember your apprenticeship interview is effectively a job interview, so you need to be prepared.
TIP 1: Change your perspective
When companies look for their next Apprentices they have a vacancy they need to fill. They have spent time and money discussing the sort of person they are looking for, the qualities and skills they want when they come through the door and the ideal attitude they’ll have. They’ve spent money advertising the position and expect to spend time sifting through applications, shortlisting and then inviting candidates for interview. By interview stage they are nearly there. They like what they see on paper and want to check that what comes through the door matches what they are reading. In the back of their mind they want the real deal and are thinking as you walk into the room ‘Please be good, we’d like to give you this Apprenticeship’. You need to put yourself in their position. For a moment pretend you are employing you. Read the advert and information they supplied and ask yourself what are they looking for? Think what you can do for them, more than what this will do for you. If they ask why do you want this apprenticeship? In an interview, they don’t want to hear, ‘I’d like to work for a FTSE 10 company that leads in its field’. They are actually asking: What can you do for us? How are you going to make a contribution? You should also bear in mind that you need to be more convincing than the other candidates when you answer these questions.
TIP 2: Be more convincing
Career history is important to secure an interview. This may encompass educational achievements and extra-curricular activities that demonstrate characteristics and qualities needed for the role you are applying for. However, it is important not to over exaggerate these and have real examples ready to support your application at interview. Imagine a candidate that has told a company on their CV that they have spent some time working in a graphic design agency getting experience during their school holidays and produced brochures, social media graphics and advertisements for a holiday company. When asked to talk about their experience they smile and begin to tell the story of why and how they came to be there. They dig out of their bag a portfolio that shows the original designs through to print ready artwork. There’s a letter of recommendation from the Creative Director. Now you have an excited interview panel. In short, you don’t need to have saved the world, just highlight what you’ve done truthfully. Make it relevant to the Apprenticeship you’re going for and that will impress them.
Tip 3: A good CV
Have you ever read a holiday brochure? Well, your CV is very much like a brochure. It helps your prospective apprenticeship employer to make some judgements about whether you have the right character and experience for the job. It is a sales document that sells you. Our tip is not about CV layout, there are plenty of articles on how to do that. It’s about content. General CV content is never a good idea. Before putting your CV together do some research about the company that’s employing you and the apprenticeship you’re applying for. Tailor your experience and achievements to that. If you are fresh out of school highlight your extra curricula achievements. Present them as benefits to the company. Companies are not just looking for skill sets they are looking for qualities that they can work with. They may want organisational skills and you could highlight the last football or netball match you organised. That is a feature though, not a benefit. So, tell them what that means for them. The fact that you are organised and can put together a basic project plan and make sure it runs to schedule.
Good luck in your search and application for your apprenticeship. If you need impartial advice and assistance the Apprenticeship Support Team by Be More are here to help.