With thousands of students picking up their GCSE results this week, school leavers across the country will be making the choice to stay on for A-levels or get out there into the world of work.
Apprenticeships are a great option, providing trainees with the chance to earn while they learn. However, securing an apprenticeship is like applying for a job – you will need to ensure your CV stands out.
One of the most popular apprenticeship choices is to become an installation electrician. Iain Macdonald, Head of Education and Training at the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), gives his top tips for making your CV stand out from the crowd this summer, whichever industry you choose to work in:
1. Consider your options and think carefully about which apprenticeships you want to apply for. There’s no point applying for a building apprenticeship if you want to be a plumber.
2. Ask friends and family for advice. If you know someone who works in an industry that interests you, speak to them – they may not be able to get you a job, but their guidance will be invaluable. They may even be able to arrange some work experience to strengthen your CV.
3. Check out the local paper; the majority of companies will advertise entry level positions there.
4. Look on the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website (www.apprenticeships.org.uk) to find an apprenticeship placement. Or you can get advice from an industry training provider’s website. The largest and best known of these is JTL (www.jtltraining.com).
5. When applying to companies directly, send a covering letter and a copy of your CV. A CV is a great way to showcase your strengths and achievements to potential employers.
6. Avoid sending a generic covering letter or CV. Do your research and tailor each one to the specific company and job role – demonstrate the strengths you can bring to their specific business.
7. Check, double check and triple check your CV, and ask somebody else to proof read it for you. Sloppy mistakes are an instant turn-off for employers.
8. Be proud of any extra-curricular achievements or activities – being involved in sports clubs or gaining a Duke of Edinburgh Award are fantastic for demonstrating team work.
9. If you are successful in getting through to an interview stage, don’t be afraid to emphasise your strong points and sell yourself! During the interview, listen to the questions you are asked and take time to think carefully about your answers.
10. Remember, you’re asking an employer to invest time and money in you – show them why you’re worth it! Even at the initial enquiry stage, knowledge on the company and its competitors can really help you to stand out.
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Notes to editor:
About The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA)
The ECA is the UK’s largest trade association representing electrical engineering and contracting companies. The electrical contracting industry employs 350,000 operatives and 8,000 apprentices. Our 3,000 members range from local electricians to national companies with several branches employing thousands. Our members carry out a range of work, from domestic heating and lighting to cutting edge temperature control technology.
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