We all know that writing your CV is a task that most people will put off until you really have to do it, we’ve all been there. There are many reasons for this, not many people like talking about themselves, so the idea of having to sell themselves on a piece of paper can be quite scary, it’s not the most exciting thing in the world and also it’s tricky to do if you don’t think you have much to talk about.
In this blog, we’re going to tell you how you can write your CV, provide you with a downloadable template that you can use when you want to create your own, and also give you some helpful tips along the way.
First things first, this is a guide to the perfect apprenticeship or entry-level CV. Although you’ll be able to use this as a guide for any kind of CV, we have tailored the guidance and template to those who haven’t necessarily got a lot of experience in the workplace and want to start their career with an apprenticeship.
Before you start writing your CV, research exactly what it is you want to do, from the level of apprenticeship to the industry you are most suited to. If you know exactly what role you are applying to, read through the job description and find out the kind of person they are looking for. This will help you tailor your CV to the role that you’re applying for.
When you start writing your CV, don’t put the title as ‘CV’ or ‘curriculum vitae’, firstly an employer will know that is what they are looking at and also it can be difficult to spell! Your CV is all about you, therefore make the title your name.
When you begin to format your CV, use a traditional font and font size. Most employers or recruiters will ask for something like Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, or Open Sans with a font size between 10 and 11pt. Your CV shouldn’t be more than 2 pages long, but if it is shorter, that’s absolutely fine. We understand that if you’re looking for an apprenticeship or entry-level role you may not have many qualifications or much experience to talk about.
When you’re done, save it as something simple and clear, like your name, CV and the date. An example could be; Sherlock Holmes CV - March 2020.
Your details are arguably the most important part of your CV. If they’re not on there, how will the employer or recruiter be able to contact you to arrange an interview or discuss the next stage in the application process?
Make sure that you include your address, email, and telephone number so you can be contacted easily.
Think carefully about the number you include on your CV. It is best to include your mobile number so you can be contacted wherever you are, however, make sure you listen to your voicemail message so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We know that lots of people looking for an apprenticeship live at home with parents or other members of the family, so you may use your home number. If you do, make sure that people know you may be expecting a few calls and ask them to pass on any messages that have been left for you!
Also, consider what email address you use. Make sure that it is professional and doesn’t include anything silly. Some good examples are: H.Potter@mailserver.com or Harry.Potter@mailserver.com rather than HazzaP@mailserver.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re not sure what your email should be, ask a trusted friend or family member. Lots of people create new email accounts that they use for their job applications, if that’s easiest for you, we would recommend it! You should also check your name on your email account, you never know what friends might have changed it to without you knowing. Email a friend and check that everything is as it should be.
Below your contact details, you should include a short and snappy personal statement to tell the recruiter or employer a little more about you. It’s your chance to encourage them to read the rest of your CV! Don’t try and be cheesy, you want to stand out, not be part of the crowd. Too often, CVs include phrases like ‘always gives 110%’, unfortunately, it’s not new, it’s just a little bit annoying.
Use your personal statement to talk about your qualifications, skills, and passions. Talk about why you think you’d make a big difference to the organisation that you are applying to and why you’re the best fit for the role. It’s also the perfect opportunity to talk about why you want to do an apprenticeship rather than another route into your dream career.
Also, make sure that you write your personal statement in the third person.
Within the education section of your profile, you’ll need to write your qualifications in reverse chronological order. We know that sounds a bit strange, it basically means start with what you’ve done most recently. If you don’t have many qualifications, that’s OK, just write what you do have. If you have lots of qualifications, think about what you should include. If you have a master’s level degree you won’t have to list all of your GCSEs.
Be honest with what qualifications you have as it can help us make sure that we suggest the right level of apprenticeship for you. It’s also important to mention where you got your qualification rather than just listing what you have. If you’d rather not mention your exact qualifications, you could be more generic: 5 GCSE’s A*-D (inc. English & Mathematics).
If you have a degree-level qualification but not much experience, you can also write down the topics that you have covered so an employer has an understanding of the knowledge you’d like to develop.
Talking about your skills is a perfect way to describe what you think you’re good at and what will make you an ideal candidate for the position that you’re applying for. Think about the industry that you’re applying within and what skills you think they’ll be looking for.
If you really want to impress the recruiter or employer, look at the job description for the position, pick out key skills that they are looking for, and try to align your CV to what they want. If they mention that you will be talking to customers regularly, and you need strong time management skills, talk about them in this section of your CV.
Make a list of bullet points that describe the skills that you have, but don’t include things that aren’t relevant. It’s great if you can juggle, but it probably won’t help you in your application. Similarly, you may be great at cooking, but this won’t help for a business administration apprenticeship with an accounting firm.
You can also talk about extra-curricular activities that you’ve done and the skills you have developed.
When you write up your employment history it also needs to be in reverse chronological order, which means that you start with your most recent position first. This is your opportunity to talk about the jobs that you’ve had, any work experience you’ve done as well as any volunteering that you do.
Break it up into large blocks of text to make it easier for recruiters to look at your CV and get an idea of exactly what you did. Start by listing the job that you did, then outline in basic terms what your job role actually involved. Talk about your key responsibilities and your key achievements. If you’ve done something amazing, talk about it! It’s even better if you have numbers to back up how well you did:
If you don’t have any work experience or haven’t had a job before, have a look at the interests section below. Alternatively, look at GetMyFirstJob for ‘work placement’ or ‘traineeship’ opportunities, you don’t need experience or qualifications for these!
You don’t have to include an interest section, but it can be really useful if you don’t have very much experience, but you want to show an employer how interested you are in a certain industry.
This isn’t the chance to talk about how much you like ‘socialising’ at the pub with your friends on a Friday night. However, a chance to talk about communication, your negotiation skills on the school debate team, your creativity with your blog where you post pictures and recipes of your favourite meals. If you’re looking for a role in engineering, talk about how much you enjoy helping your Uncle fix his old cars, if you want a role in a kitchen, mention how much you love to cook, if you want a role in social media marketing, describe how often you post to social media or how many followers you have! You see where we’re going with this…
Your references are people or ‘referees’ that will be able to tell your new employers that everything you’ve said about yourself is true, they’ll be able to talk about your characteristics, skills, and abilities.
Your referees shouldn’t be friends or family, rather professional connections or academic contacts like a teacher or lecturer. Some common references are former employers, a colleague, a client, a vendor, a supervisor, or someone else who can recommend you for employment. It’s advisable to only use a current employer if they know you are looking for other positions and are supportive of this.
Make sure that your references know that you want them to be your references before passing their details onto anyone!
Rather than mentioning your references on your CV, just put this: ‘References available upon request’.
GetMyFirstJob offers you a whole new way to find Apprenticeships, Degree Apprenticeships, Work Experience and Graduate opportunities to get ahead. It’s not just a search tool – we’ll connect you with the Best Employers, Colleges & Providers and Universities to get you on the right track faster.