Learning

Tips for apprentices on finding a job

Know where to look

Employers’ own websites
Many employers will advertise Apprenticeship opportunities in the jobs section of their own website.  You’ll need to apply online or complete a paper application, depending on their recruitment process.

Jobcentre Plus
Some employers will advertise through your local Jobcentre Plus.  You can search for your local centre on their website.

Local newspapers
Apprenticeship vacancies are sometimes printed in local newspapers in the jobs’ section, which is usually a regular weekly feature.  If you’d prefer not to buy the newspaper, you’ll be able to find copies in your local library and Jobcentre Plus.

Writing your CV

Get your CV up-to-date
A CV is designed to do one thing – get you an interview.  Your CV is usually the first thing an employer will see from you so it’s important it showcases your skills and sets you apart from other applicants.  Here are some tips on how to write a great CV:

Personal statement
Think about this as a TV advert that’s selling you. Remember to use this to show why you would be a great member of staff, but keep it to the point.  Employers don’t have time to read loads of text!

Qualifications & Certificates
Always put your best qualifications first, but remember to list them all.

Education
Include where you went to school or college, with the most recent first.

Employment/work related experience
Explain what roles/activities you did whilst on any work-related experience or in employment and include any specific achievements relevant to the role you’d like to get.

Skills
Include any skills you have that will help you with the role that you’re applying for, such as communication, teamwork, problem solving and computer skills.

Personal interests
While your CV tells the story of your qualifications and your career, the personal interests section reveals a little more of your personality.  Include hobbies you have outside of school/college. Showcase yourself as engaging, interesting and motivated.

References
Ideally you’ll have a reference for a role, which can be used for the one you’re applying to. If not, you can include a personal reference from someone who has a genuinely positive impression of you, who’ll give you a glowing report.  Importantly, whoever you choose, make sure you’ve checked with them first.

Get help creating your CV with Careers Wales’s CV Builder.

Completing application forms

Make sure your applications stand out from the rest; make a good first impression so employers want to meet you. Remember don’t forget to photocopy your final version. This is important if you get an interview, as you might need to refer to what you wrote before you step into the interview.

Writing covering letters

‘Wow’ the employer with your covering letter.  Make sure the very first sentence clearly states what position you are applying for. Include something short and snappy that makes the reader want to look at your CV or application form, but don’t make it too long; two paragraphs are often long enough. Always remember to include your contact details so they can get in touch if they’d like to meet you.

Interview tips

Avoid interview nerves by:

  • Being prepared
  • Arriving in good time
  • Getting a good night’s sleep and eating breakfast
  • Planning your route to the interview
  • Controlling your breathing
  • Acting the part and having self-confidence

Dressing for job interviews 

  • Don’t go too casual
  • Don’t wear headwear – caps, hats or beanies
  • If you wear a tie, pick a smart, simple one.
  • Don’t wear too many accessories

Typical interview questions 

  • What are your strengths? Pick your three biggest attributes that you think will get you the job
  • What are your weaknesses? Pick something that you made positive steps to change
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your goals?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What are three positive things your teacher/employer would say about you?