Write the perfect apprenticeship CV

Your CV (Curriculum Vitae) is important: It’s the first impression given to your potential employer and contains all the information needed to understand whether you’re suitable for the job. A strong CV can lead to an offer of an interview, but what should you include?

We'll help explain how to write the perfect CV, including tips on presentation and parts you should include.

What to include in your CV

Put your personal details at the very top of the CV, including your full name, the area you live in, your telephone number and your email. You should create a professional email specifically for your job applications.

This is an opening paragraph all about you, introducing yourself and any relevant skills and experiences. It should be a paragraph of four to five sentences summarising the most relevant skills, qualities and achievements. This section can be easily tweaked to fit the job role so your CV stands out.

A chronological list of your work experience and employment history, with the most recent at the top. You should include the company name, your job role, and dates you worked there, followed by a summary of your responsibilities and key skills.

A chronological list of your education and qualifications, with the most recent at the top. Include the institute, the qualification, course title, and date studied.

Include any recent work-based training you have received, or any other relevant qualifications.

Include relevant hobbies, interests and achievements in this section. For example, charity work and membership of clubs, societies and sports clubs. This section demonstrates your overall character to a potential employer.

You should prepare at least two contacts for professional or personal references. Include their name, their job title and company, their relationship with you, and contact details. Always ask permission from the reference to be included.

Your two references should include your latest employer and can include personal references such as a tutor or teacher.

References are usually contacted once you’ve been given a preliminary offer. Your new employer will ask a series of questions to make sure you’re of high personal or professional character.

Tips when writing your CV

Your CV should be clean, simple and professional, and convey all the information an employer might need. Follow these tips for the best presentation.

Keep it relevant

Create a base CV as a template then tweak it each time you apply for a new position. Always make your CV relevant to the type of job you are applying for, emphasising your skills in relation to the role.

Keep it simple

Keep the content short and sharp as the employer might be viewing hundreds of CVs. Use bullet points to summarise and avoid large chunks of text. Place each section in clear boxes and remember that a CV should not be more than two pages long.

Formatting tips

Create your CV as a Microsoft Word document and export it as a PDF ahead of sending. Name the file something suitable such as your full name followed by CV. Use a clear font such as Arial, Times Roman or Helvetica, and don’t go smaller than font size 11.

Always read it through

Thoroughly check all spelling and grammar to spot any typos. Get someone else to read through the CV to spot anything you may have missed.

Your next steps

You can explore the rest of our apprentice guides including preparing for a phone interview and how to write a cover letter. Now you’ve got the know-how to make the perfect CV, put it to use by finding apprenticeship vacancies in your area.

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