Although apprenticeships are essentially like training programmes, they are also paid placements and you will have to apply for one like you would apply for a job. However, applications for apprenticeships can be more challenging and they require more of your time and effort.
Regardless of whether it’s your first, third or twelfth application, a bit of advice is always useful and appreciated, especially when it comes to a job that is important to you. So, here are a few top tips when applying for an apprenticeship:
- A bit of self-reflection:
It’s not enough to just think of an enormous, money-filled company that you want to work with. You need to think about what type of field you would like to go into, the kind of company that you want to work with and also what you think you would be best suited to. It’s important to be realistic with yourself, think about the skillset that you already have and in what kind of work environment you would be more successful.
There are many apps and websites that you could use to search apprenticeships and job offers from all over the world, so download a few and get looking. A great app for connecting yourself to people all over the world is ‘LinkedIn’, with possibilities to meet directors and CEO’s of big companies, but also a chance to apply for interesting apprenticeships and placements.
- Those little details…
Now, assuming you have your desired job/field in mind, you need to think about factors such as location, accommodation, travel and your own financial aspects. Think about where you would ideally like to work, there could be placements in your local area or in other cities, so you would need to think about how you would cope with all the changes that you could be faced with if you are successful.
The worst-case scenario would be that you are offered an apprenticeship but then you have to decline because you didn’t plan ahead. In an attempt to avoid this, make sure you read and research into the advertised position before you apply and have a good understanding of what is required of you.
- The application itself.
Arguably the most important point, you should understand that there are normally a very high number of applications for each apprenticeship so there will probably be around a hundred applications for each position. Your application is your first impression on the company and it is a vital part of your apprenticeship. This sounds scary, but it’s okay because you will be the candidate that puts that extra effort and attention into their application. Don’t miss anything out, state your skills and experience that make you the perfect candidate. Double check everything, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will cause you to be eliminated immediately.
Also, ensure that your application includes your contact details, whether it is your email or contact number, it would be a shame if the employer likes your application but has no means of contacting you.
- Different is good, different is great!
Don’t be afraid of seeming too eager, if anything, eagerness is a great quality to show to a potential employer, it shows them how motivated and excited you are for the position and this bodes well for you. In fact, many companies actually enjoy speaking to budding candidates, it shows that you’re taking an extra interest in the job and it also gives you an idea of what the company is expecting from an applicant. So, you could send an email and reach out to the employer, you could ask them other questions related to the job and find out more about the role itself. Make sure that you don’t ask something that has already been mentioned or stated throughout the application process. Once you have a better understanding of what the employer is looking for, you can express the relevant skills and experience that you have that help you fulfil their requirements.
Remember that we live in the 21st century and it is likely that companies and employers will want to know about your social media accounts and your personality online, as this will give them a deeper insight into the type of person that you are. So be careful of what you post because you never know who might be watching from the other side of the screen.
- CV and cover letter:
Once you know a bit more about the apprenticeship and the abilities that the employers are looking for in a candidate, you can tailor your CV to focus on these specific skills. It’s also a perfect way of showcasing your relevant experience, achievements and talents. Most applicants will have CV’s attached to their applications, however, if you go through the extra steps of contacting employers to find out more about the placement, organise your CV to effectively state relevant abilities and take extra care with grammar, yours will stand out from the rest.
Also, add a cover letter, this is your way of personally introducing yourself to the employers. Write a strong cover letter, briefly explaining your skills and how you would be of use in this company, the extra effort shows through to the employers and this will work in your favour.
Post by Anika Tazmin
Anika is a 4th year student at the University of Nottingham.