How to get noticed and get hired in your apprenticeship job hunt

Published: 01 Nov 2017 By Dan Paine for

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Applying for an apprenticeship job is tough. It can be quite a long process to go through hundreds of vacancies on different job boards to find the one position that you like the look of, and then go through a painstaking application process. Every company’s application process may be different, and you are up against many other applicants for the same role, so the question is: how do you set yourself out above the rest? It’s all about a proactive direct approach.

These tips are aimed at people who are trying to break into a new industry or are looking for their first role and are always getting the response, “we need someone with experience”, although they are still looking for a junior.  

The CV conundrum

When you know what career you want (that is a whole other challenge), the first thing you will need is a relevant and up-to-date CV; it doesn’t matter what you do or want to do, you need a CV! This should be two pages maximum (unless you have 15+ years’ experience at different companies). Start at the top with your name, the city you live in (not your exact address), your mobile number and a professional email address. Following this, have two sentences that outline exactly what you do and what you want to do. This statement is really key and it will be the first thing employers read. Have a simple but consistent layout throughout with your company, job title, dates of employment and five or six bullet points on what your responsibilities and achievements are/were. Always spell-check!

People forget that an easy way to get your CV noticed is to upload it to an online job board – when you register on, upload your CV and tick that box that asks you if you want to make it visible to employers. With this simple step you’re reaching out to prospective employers that access the database for candidates for their vacancies. It is therefore important to have a good CV with the correct details so that you get contacted.

List your target companies

Make a list of 50 companies you want to work for, according to your career path goal(s). Be realistic with your list; don’t just include global companies like Amazon or Google. You may aspire to work there because you recognise them, but so will thousands of other people. Research various business types; from national to local, from large corporates to smaller start-ups - don’t be fooled by small local businesses, they are a great place to be at the beginning of your career! Not sure where to start? Search for companies on Also, Google Maps can show you businesses in your area.

Connect with your target companies

Once you have identified the companies you want to work for that are relevant to your career goal(s), it is then time to get connecting. It is so easy to find people who work at these organisations when you use the right tools. Top tip for networking success: sign up to LinkedIn®, yourfeed and Twitter to find these businesses and connect with the right people, whether that is the Head of Recruitment or the IT Manager. You can usually figure out who to search for by looking at a company’s ‘meet the team’ page too (if they have one on their website).

Make contact with your target companies

When you have connected with at least two people at each company, start contacting them via mail on LinkedIn, or via an email address they may have listed, or just Tweet them. Be honest yet professional in your message; give a 200-word intro (less for Twitter) about you, what you want to do and how your skills and attributes are going to be relevant to their business. If you’re going to mention a vacancy that they’ve posted, keep your message relevant to it.

You’d be surprised at the response you will get - but don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back from your contact straight away; appreciate that they may be busy. Aim to follow up with them every two weeks until they get back to you. They may be able to tell you about vacancies they haven’t even advertised yet, as well as consider you for current and/or future vacancies.

Look good on paper and online

Remember, with LinkedIn, your profile acts as an online CV. Make sure your bio, career history, skills, education, portfolio work etc. is completed as well as possible. Be ready to send your electronic CV and cover letter if you get a request for these from your new contacts. They should both be relevant to the vacancy you’re applying for.

Always keep your professional social media accounts professional. Show prospective employers you’re passionate about the industry and/or career you want to work in by sharing industry news, relevant updates about your development and/or relevant activities. Similarly, your connections will no doubt be sharing news, which you can comment on or ‘like’, share, or comment on. If you show your engagement with and genuine interest in your goal industry, it’ll help you be at the forefront of your contacts’ next recruitment search.

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