When employers and training providers post job or apprenticeship vacancies they can often be inundated with applicants, so how can you make your application form stand out?
Firstly, it is important to have a well-structured CV to back up your application form. You may have 5 or 6 previous work placements but your application form may only ask for your most recent 2. By providing a CV alongside your application, it lets employers know you have had more experience in particular areas than your initial application suggests.
It is important to account for every period of your life on your application form, even if there are periods when you were travelling or not in formal education or employment. Do not leave dates unaccounted for. For gap years, be sure to state exactly what you did, where this took place, how you organised/funded your trip, and what skills you gained as a result of the experience. Try to show your employers that your gap year is an asset to your employability.
You will need to have references prepared. Most applications ask for two references, one personal and one professional. Examples of who you could put for a personal reference include a family friend or work colleague. Professional references should be from an employer, business owner, school teacher, college tutor or anyone who could vouch for your qualifications and recommend your employability. Make sure you get their permission before using their details on your application form. A job offer is usually subject to positive references so it is a good idea to let your referees know they might need to give their opinions of you in the near future.
Application forms can be very time consuming when completed properly and it can be tempting to skip a section if you think you don’t have much to say on it. However, this is a huge red flag for an employer: any poorly completed or missed sections of an application form could portray you as being lazy and un-motivated. You should also check spelling and grammar before hitting send; it take two seconds to do but can make a huge difference.
When producing a list of job skills, it’s easy to say ‘I’m a good communicator’ or ‘I work well in a team’. Prove it! Include evidence which shows you are what you say you are. Imagine you are already in the position you’re seeking- what would you be doing to prove yourself capable? Now go do it. Find out as much as you can about the apprenticeship and the employer and use your research in your application when demonstrating why you should be chosen. An appreciation of the company and what the apprenticeship involves will really help your application stand head and shoulders above the rest.