Overwhelmed at the prospect of writing a CV?
No need to worry, PCS are here to help you through this journey and aim to make you feel more confident about CV writing after reading this helpful guide.
A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is essentially an advertisement for you. Its purpose is to sell your skills, experience, and personal qualities to an employer and give them an understanding of who you are before attending an interview.
It’s also worth noting that an apprenticeship CV doesn’t have to be as long as a standard CV. The person reading it isn’t expecting you to have heaps of experience. A single-page CV is fine; however, it shouldn’t be longer than two pages!
Imagine part of your job is to read all the CVs coming through to the business. Are you still awake?
This is not an exciting job, and these people will have a stack of CVs, all of which will look relatively similar and will be about as interesting to read as the ingredients on a crisp packet. If you can make sure to avoid the pitfalls that everyone else encounters and add a little personality to it, you might impress the right person.
The layout you choose is incredibly important. Be sure that your CV is clear, easy to understand, and well structured. The layout should have as much thought put into it as the text in order to impress potential employers. The font you choose can also have a very big impact on the presentation of the document and is, therefore, something that you should consider carefully. The main text should be no larger than 12 and no smaller than 11 and maybe consider choosing a typeface other than Arial and Times New Roman.
Say it with me “I will never use Comic Sans!”. As I said before, the font is very important, and Comic Sans will not scream professionalism to an employer.
Simply put, you should include your:
The top of your CV is for your name, home address, phone number, and email address. This is information the employer will be looking for, as they will use it to contact you. So, make sure you include a sensible email address, as you want the employer to take you seriously as a candidate for the vacancy.
DON’T include photos or information about your age, gender, marital status, race, sexual orientation, etc. They will see you at the interview, and all other information is irrelevant in terms of whether or not you are suited for the job.
You should also write a brief personal profile detailing your career aspirations, your interest in the job sector, and any personal attributes or skills you have that’ll make them want to employ you. This section should only be a few lines long, so don’t go overboard.
After your personal profile, you should include any work experience you have. This could include jobs you’ve had in the past, any work experience you’ve completed, or volunteer work. It’s good practice to put this information in reverse chronological order so employers see your most recent work experience first. It might be helpful to go through this with someone, as things might come back to you as you talk and write.
You’ll need to include the dates you worked there, the name of the business, your job role, and a brief description of your duties while you were employed there. For Example:
January 2021 – Present
Protocol Consultancy Services – Digital Marketer – My role involves creating and scheduling content for social media, as well as updating the content for, and design of, the company website.
Be prepared to discuss how a previous job role prepared you for the placement you’re applying for now. This will provide the employer with a list of skills you have gathered through previous employment and show you are aware of the skills required for this job.
If you’ve never had a job, draw examples from your studies or hobbies. Be creative and let them know what you’re capable of!
After work experience comes your education. Only list your education from GCSE and above, so don’t mention where you went to primary school.
Play around with how you present it, but make sure it’s readable and you’ve got all the correct information. List all of your qualifications along with the educational institution you were attending at the time, the year you received the grade, the course subject, and the grade you achieved. Also, remember to specify what the qualification is, e.g. GCSE. For Example:
School: Protocol Consultancy Services
Advanced Level Apprenticeship
Advanced Level Apprenticeship: Social Media (Distinction)
DON’T include failing grades on your CV. You may be worried that there isn’t a lot to put on there, but it’s better to list a few passing grades (A*- C) than a long list of subjects you’ve failed.
It’s also worth noting that 20% of an apprenticeship is work-based study. So, be prepared to dedicate the same amount of space on your CV to your ability to carry it out.
If you have space you’re looking to fill you, might want to list your hobbies/interests. Only include things that are either relevant to the job or that you feel will interest the employer. DON’T talk about how you like hanging out with your mates or playing Xbox.
You may even want to mention hobbies/interests that are related to non-academic achievements, such as getting a brown belt in karate or a Duke of Edinburgh award. This demonstrates the passion and commitment you put into the things you care about, which an employer would like to see carry over into the business.
You don’t need too many references on your CV, as two to four tend to be enough. This is where you would list previous employers who can vouch for your capabilities within the workplace. If you don’t have any previous employers to list, that’s okay as teachers, relatives, and friends can also be used as references, as long as you can rely on them to provide a good, honest character reference.
Before putting anyone on your CV, make sure they are happy to be listed as a reference and have their contact details shared. This is a common courtesy and ensures they are prepared to talk about you to any employer that may call them.
Please, please, please SPELL CHECK!!!
Chances are there will be areas to improve before sending your CV to potential employers. By this, I mean spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, incorrect information, etc. Whether you use Microsoft Word’s spell check, Grammarly, or you get someone else to read it and point out errors, it doesn’t matter. Just spell check.
Also, when exercising good grammar and vocabulary, be sure to do so without sounding like you have used a thesaurus for every single word. Keep it simple, to the point, and remember it is a CV, not a dissertation.
Employers will follow up with your previous employers and educational institutions to check you have been truthful about your qualifications and experience. They will also realise you lied pretty quickly when you can’t complete simple tasks.
Your CV should be streamlined and to the point. Two A4 pages are enough to sell yourself, but no more than that, and don’t try to cram it onto one page.
Mention things you did well in your past jobs which could be relevant to the job you are applying for, and be sure to emphasise your achievements, strengths, and successes to make as good an impression on paper as you wish to make in person.
Get someone else to check it through as well. I promise you there is nothing worse than a CV filled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, as this is one of the main reasons CVs are rejected.
If you are interested in employing an apprentice for your business or looking for an apprenticeship for yourself, feel free to give us a call on 0121 236 2634, where you can speak directly to a qualified member of staff.