#GCTopTips 7: 6 tips on landing your dream apprenticeship
It's National Apprenticeship Week, and this week Gloucestershire College is not only celebrating apprenticeships, but also giving you advice from our expert Apprenticeships Team on what apprenticeships are, whether they are for you, and how to land your dream apprenticeship. Out top six tips are designed to help you perfect your CV and application for an apprenticeship, and your interview.
Not sure how to get started on your apprenticeship search? Read our top tips on choosing the right apprenticeship for you here, or come and see us on Wednesday 28 March at our Apprenticeship Open Evening where you can speak to our Apprenticeships Team and meet with employers direct.
Top Tip #1: Do you research
You may have an idea of which industry you would like to work in, but researching how this industry and others match up to your career goals, interests and skills can help you make sure that you're choosing the right industry. Once you have done this, the research continues - take a look at what types of apprenticeships are available to you in this industry, and how these match up with your current skills and skills you would like to learn on the job.
What companies are offering apprenticeships in the area you are looking at - what are they like to work for? What progression can they offer you? Does their work culture fit with the environment you would enjoy working in? Asking yourself these questions will allow you to not only narrow down the type of apprenticeship you want to do, but help you decide which companies are best for you to apply for.
Top Tip #2: Develop your skills to add to your CV
Employers looking to hire apprentices look for a number of traits and skills in their workers, including: practical problem solving, reliability, good listening skills, the ability to work alone and in a team effectively, attention to detail, punctuality, and a willingness to learn.
There are a number of ways you can develop your skills before applying for an apprenticeship, especially if you are still in school or college. Speak to your tutors (or your line manager at work) about opportunities for developing your skills, whether that's with volunteering, extra-curricular activities, or something you can be doing in your current course or role already.
Also, remember that your CV doesn't have to be the same for every application. Changing the order of your skills and interests to reflect the role you are applying for, or the company ethos, can help you stand out. Why not add a Cover Letter to your application too to let the individual employers know why you specifically want to apply for their apprenticeship and why you would be a good fit for their business?
Top Tip #3: Prepare for your interview
When an employer or college wants to take your application to the next stage, they will invite you in for an interview. These can be daunting at any age, but making sure you're prepared can help you feel less nervous, and will impress your potential employer by showing you are proactive, confident and really want to work for them. Here's juts a few ways you can prepare:
- Research the company and apprenticeship you are interviewing for - knowing some facts about the company, their working ethos and especially the position you have applied for can help you stand out to an interviewer, and can give you a great idea of what the company will be like to work for before you get there.
- Don't let your clothing be a bad first impression - think about the type of company you are interviewing with and dress appropriately. If you're applying for a role in business, office workwear such as a shirt and smart trousers or a skirt is appropriate; if you're interviewing for a construction apprenticeship a smart/casual outfit will be more acceptable. Remember to avoid clothing which is ripped, has inappropriate imagery or text, or isn't appropriate to wear on the job.
- Practice answering questions before hand - practising some of the general questions that you may be asked in your interviews with friends and family can help you remember some key points you may want to remember, such as any skills you think are a good fit for the job, and also help you feel less nervous when you are asked similar questions by the employer.
- Prepare a couple of questions for the interviewer too - asking questions about the company or apprenticeship is a great way of showing you are interested in the role, while also allowing you to gather more information on whether the apprenticeship is for you. Some questions you may want to ask include: what is the working culture like within the business? Have you hired apprentices before? Where are some of your previous apprentices now and what are they doing? What are some of the possible opportunities for me after my apprenticeship?
Remember, the interviewer has been through interview processes before, and nerves are normal. An interview is not just for the company to assess how good a candidate you are, it's also your chance to showcase what you can do and learn more about what you're applying for - take your time, relax, and be yourself.
Top Tip #4: Get post-interview feedback
If you are unsuccessful following an interview, you are able to contact the employer and politely request feedback on your performance so you know where you can improve for next time. It may be something easy to fix like the way you presented yourself, or the way you answered questions, or something you will need to go away and work on, like the experience or skill set you displayed.
Top Tips #5: Don't be shown up by your online presence
Many employers now will gain an impression of you before they have even met you by your online presence, whether that's on your social media channels or by the email address you have on your CV. Your email address is an easy fix - make sure it's something that reflects you, like your name, and is something that isn't childish or obscene. For example, an employer will get a much better impression of you if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org as opposed to email@example.com.
Employers sometimes also look at your social media profiles before you go to interview, so make sure that anything that you don't want potential employers to see is set to private. Your social media should be a reflection of you, and shouldn't contain anything that's obscene or could be seen in bad taste.
Top Tip #6: Take advantage of the advice around you and don't give up
If you continue to be unsuccessful in your applications, don't give up - it may just be time to seek some help from apprenticeship experts.
"Resiliance is the key attribute to adopt when starting to look into apprenticeships"
At Gloucestershire College, our Advice Team can give you one-to-one assistance on your education and career options, and our Apprenticeships Team can help you find the perfect opportunity for you!
Book an appointment with them by contacting Student Services on 0345 155 2020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Apprenticeship Service also runs a national helpdesk, where you can ask for feedback from employers if you weren't selected, or make a complaint if you think you received an unfair interview process or you think you were unsuccessful because you were discriminated against.
Inspired to find out more about apprenticeships? Join us at our Apprenticeship Open Evening on Wednesday 28 March at our Gloucester Campus where you can speak to local employers with live apprenticeship vacancies and our Apprenticeships Team. Book your place today: get tickets.
Get live updates of our latest apprenticeship vacancies by signing up to our fortnightly newsletter here: www.gloscol.ac.uk/apprenticeships/vacancies