How to write an apprentice CV
If you’re on the hunt for a construction apprenticeship, having a stand-out CV which accurately reflects your skills and qualifications should be your top priority.
What is a CV?
A CV, or curriculum vitae, is a document used when applying for jobs or apprenticeships. It is a useful way to summarise your education, skills and experience, enabling you to successfully sell your abilities to potential employers and hopefully land your dream role.
Writing a CV can be stressful – but it doesn’t need to be. Getting started is usually the trickiest part, so let’s get straight into it and explore how to write a CV for an apprenticeship in construction.
Whether you’re applying for your first role straight out of school, or you’re a seasoned professional with decades of experience under your belt, there are some simple tips which should be applied to all CVs:
- Keep it concise – a maximum of 2 sides of A4 should be enough
- Write your CV in a Word processer, using a basic font like Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri, size 11 or bigger – make sure to use the same style throughout
- Tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for
- Use headings, bullet points and spacing to break up information to make it easier to read
- Save the copy you’re going to send to employers as a PDF
- Name the file correctly, such as ‘John Smith’s CV’
- Spell check it, reread it, and get somebody else to read it.
What to include in an apprentice CV
There isn’t a one size fits all approach to structuring a good construction CV, but there is certain information that all CVs should include.
Here is an example structure which captures all the information employers want, and is suitable for all experience and education levels.
Your name should be at the top of the document – there’s no need to write ‘CV’ or ‘curriculum vitae’. Below that, you should include:
- Your full address and postcode
- Landline or mobile number – whichever you’re most likely to be reachable on during a working day
- Email address – make sure to keep it professional.
You don’t need to include other details such as your age, marital status, date of birth, nationality etc.
If you have one, you can include a link to your profile on a professional social media site like LinkedIn.
A personal profile isn’t essential, but it’s a good way to introduce who you are, your career aims and key attributes. It is a short statement which aims to prove why you’re suitable for the role, helping you stand out from the crowd. Most importantly, don’t overdo it.
This is to briefly tell the employer what experience you have or what your current role is, what interests you about the apprenticeship and what your professional goals are. Keep it short with two to three sentences. Let’s take a look at an example:
You can read some more CV personal profile tips here.
Depending on your personal circumstances you may want to put work history next – if you have limited or no work experience, put education here.
In this section you will need to include in most recent order:
- The names and grades of your qualifications
- The school, college or university where you studied
- The dates you attended
Most apprenticeships have specific educational requirements, such as a certain number of GCSEs or GCSEs in a specific subject. If the apprenticeship requires a GCSE in a certain subject and you have an A-Level in it, be sure to mention it. This could give you an edge over other candidates.
If you completed a work placement, a traineeship, work experience, etc. this will be better placed under work history.
Even if you don't yet have any experience directly related to your chosen field, still mention any experience you do have. This could include part-time work, school work experience programmes, voluntary work and any apprenticeships you've already done.
Outline your responsibilities and the duration of your experiences. You’ll need to give details of:
- The employer, with the most recent first
- The title of the job
- The dates you worked
- A brief outline of what you did.
When discussing your strengths and skills, use active words such as ‘organised’, ‘built’, ‘created’, ‘managed’, or ‘planned’.
Rather than just listing your duties and responsibilities, giving positive examples of your achievements is a great way to bring your qualities the employer is looking for. The STAR method is a good way to do this:
Situation – Your role in a previous work setting
Task – A time you had you had to use your qualities to complete a specific task or solve a problem. Consider how this relates to a specific quality on the job you’re going for.
Action – How did you complete this task? Use specific examples.
Result – What was the outcome of your action, and how did it contribute to a success story?
Hobbies, interests or achievements
This isn’t an essential section, so if you’re going to include it keep it short. It’s a good place to include achievements which aren’t related to work or education, such as running a marathon, winning an award, climbing a mountain, etc.
Some CVs include a separate section which lists their skills. In most situations, it isn’t necessary to include this as you will have mentioned all of your skills in the other sections. However, it can be a useful way to highlight skills if you are particularly experienced in a certain field.
If you do include it, don’t use cliché examples such as good communication skills, teamworking, multitasking, etc. Instead, be specific, such as software packages you’re proficient in.
If you include this, ‘available upon request’ usually suffices.
Rather than starting from scratch, templates can be a good way to get you started. They are already formatted and contain section headers, ready for you to fill out. You can find some templates here, here and here.
Now you’ve written a great CV – what next?
Many apprenticeship applications require a cover letter alongside your CV – and even if they don’t, it is good practice to include one. Read the Go Construct guide to writing a cover letter here.
If you’ve managed to land an apprenticeship interview – well done! Read our hints and tips guide to interviews here.