Having a great CV is one of the preconditions for landing the job you want. It’s your one chance to stand out from the rest of the applicants and win a chance for a live interview. This is especially the case when applying for an apprenticeship after graduation. The competition is strong, and there are dozens of other applicants trying to win the same spot. So, how can you optimize your CV to stand out?
To help you make sure you have a killer CV, we’ve created a list of ultimate tips. They’ll help you write a better CV and present your skills and potential in the best possible light. It will make your applying for an apprenticeship much more easy and successful.
Let’s take a look at the tips.
1. Write For a Specific Apprenticeship
After you graduate, you’ll probably be looking at a lot of different apprenticeships, hoping to get accepted to at least one. But, you can’t use the same CV for each of these apprenticeship openings.
Why? Because each one will differ in:
- the skills they’re looking for
- the experience they prefer
- the duties you’ll be assigned
- the type of person they need
These specific details make a world of difference for the CV you’re writing. That means that there’s one golden rule you have to follow:
“Rewrite and adapt your CV to each apprenticeship opening”
This way, you’re making sure that your CV is designed specifically for the job opening in question. That means that the recruiters will see a bigger potential in you than in the other candidates.
2. Open With a Personal Statement
You want to open on a strong note. This is the best way to make sure your CV doesn’t instantly go to the rejection pile.
A personal statement is the best choice for the top of your CV. It’s a short paragraph written in 1st person, telling the recruiters about who you are. It needs to be informative but not too packed and overladen.
Here’s what you should include:
- when did you develop an interest in this field or industry
- why are you passionate about it
- what do you have to offer if hired
Make it 3-4 sentences long, but make sure to leave a great first impression. Don’t brag, and don’t oversell yourself. Just be honest and talk about your drive, potential, and willingness to succeed.
The people in charge of the selection will build a preliminary opinion based on your personal statement. If they like what they see here, they’ll keep reading your CV for more information.
3. Keep it One-Page Long
Think about your CV from a recruiter’s point of view. They’re sitting at their desk with hours of reading and assessing ahead. When they see a two-page long CV from a recent graduate, they won’t bother reading.
Everything you want to say can fit a one-page CV. To make sure you respect this rule, you can apply the simple writing tips we love:
- divide the CV into sections using subheadings
- use bullet points to create lists
- write short sentences
- be concise
- go straight to the point
So, avoid writing full sentences such as:
“I studied mechanical engineering at the XY University and gained experience in…”
Instead, use bullet points to say what you want:
- BA in Mechanical Engineering, XY University (2018-2021)
- gained experience in…
This type of formatting will ensure you’re only using up the space you need. Plus, your CV will seem well-organized and thus more enjoyable to read.
4. Show Your Education
The education section is very important for recent graduates. It’s your chance to shine and show you’re ready for the apprenticeship, thanks to your years of studying and learning.
List your college and high school education:
- the academic institution
- the years studying
- the courses you took
- your GPA
- additional courses you took
Always add bullet points about how your college gave you the practical knowledge you’d be able to apply to your apprenticeship. This will boost your education section and make it more relevant.
5. List Your Experience
When you’re a recent graduate applying for an apprenticeship, chances are you don’t have as much work experience. Don’t let this discourage you, since no one is expecting anything more from you.
But, you still need to write something in your experience section. So, what are your best options?
To make your experience section rich and meaningful, you should try focusing on these simple strategies:
- make your education relevant to the job opening (the courses you took, the skills you’ve acquired, the projects you took part in)
- don’t mention any work experience unrelated to the apprenticeship (your summer job in an ice-cream shop)
- list your volunteer work that is related to the apprenticeship field
So, if you’re applying for an apprenticeship at a web developing company, you could mention your education experience in terms of:
- web development courses you took
- skills you’ve gained there
- app development projects you took part in
- college competitions
Your experience matters, even if it’s not from an actual job position or another apprenticeship. So, list the relevant experience you’ve got and present it with confidence.
6. List Your Skills
Every CV should have a skills section, where the candidate can show why they’d be a great choice for the job. Your skillset should be related to the skills that the job opening is demanding.
So, write this section by following this strategy:
- read the position description carefully once again
- pay attention to the skills they’re looking for
- use the same terminology when listing your skills
Also, make sure you’re not overselling yourself and writing about your skills dishonestly. You don’t want to pretend to be a super employee who knows everything and can do it all. So, to make things more realistic, grade the skills you’re listing on a scale of 1-5. For example:
– HTML *****
You could also use words such as Medium, Advanced or Expert to further express your level of competence for each skill.
Plus, list your soft skills as well to make this section complete.
7. Proofread & Edit
Finally, you need to make sure you’ve done everything that’s in your power to make your CV strong and convincing. That’s why you need to end the process of writing with a proofreading and editing session.
So, once your final version is over, don’t submit until you:
- check grammar and spelling
- check vocabulary
- check sentence structure
- check formatting
Check out GetGoodGrade, an online writing service that can help you out with this process. Submit the CV only once you’re absolutely satisfied with it.
Optimizing your CV for an apprenticeship after graduation is a demanding task. You need to apply the right writing strategies and shape the content of your CV so that it makes a great first impression for you.
Use the tips we’ve shared above to optimize your CV completely and secure a chance for the apprenticeship you want.
Check out author’s other article Writing the Best Scholarship Application Letter: 8 Novel and Creative Tip.