Applications, CVs and preparing answers

The very first thing you need to do is prepare a CV. Quite a few applications allow you to upload your CV and many of the details on it are transferred to the online application document, which saves you a lot of time typing in your contact details and exam results!

There are templates available online to help you format your CV, but you really need to keep it pretty simple with your name, address and contact details at the top, followed by your exam results, predicted grades, work experience and a paragraph or two detailing your skills, hobbies etc. it is also a good idea to have a couple of referees – if you haven’t had a job these could be your sports team coach, Religious leader, Scout or Guide leader etc. Your School Head of Year may also agree to be a referee. Always check that someone is happy to write a reference for you if required before you add them.

Barclays Life Skills has excellent advice on CV writing and other advice and help with applications and careers

Youth Employment also has an excellent article to help you prepare

You can add your CV to the Government’s apprenticeship website and quite a few of the applications you make use this, with maybe just a couple of extra questions. Your account will also list jobs you’ve applied for and the progress of your application (unless you’ve been redirected to apply direct on the company’s website).

Once you’ve attached your CV or filled in the contact details and exam results on an application you may then be asked a series of questions. Every application differs so it is a good idea to have some draft answers prepared that you can adapt to suit the question.

Types of questions you may be asked/draft answers to prepare-

  • when have you shown leadership?
  • when have you worked well as part of a team?
  • when have you shown initiative?
  • why do you want to do an apprenticeship?
  • why are you suited to this role?

You may or may not have had a job but you can look for answers to these questions in many different areas of your life. Maybe you have been a prefect at school? Maybe you’ve been part of a sports team, choir or music band or orchestra? Have you been a team captain? Have you organised a group of friends to go away together to something like a festival? Do you help older relatives by doing their shopping? Do you volunteer officially or unofficially in your community? Did you do any volunteering during lockdown? Do you help with any after school or lunchtime clubs? If you’ve taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme you will have covered some of these areas. You may have taken part in a virtual work experience programme like those on Springpod – . Nearly everyone will have some examples they can use, you’ve just got to think carefully. If you’ve done nothing but school work and play computer games, there is no time like the present to start broadening your horizons!

Once you have completed an application, make sure you make a note of when you applied and, if necessary, the website you applied through and your log in, if you were asked to make an account. You will probably be making many many applications so it’s very important to keep an up to date record. It is also a great way to start using Excel if you haven’t already!

When you have submitted an application you may find you are rejected immediately (by algorithm- very frustrating) or you get a ’thank you we will be in touch if you are selected’ message (you may never hear from them again, but keep checking your emails carefully), or you may get an invitation to take some tests, or have an interview (often by phone or online).

Look at the next article for advice on tests