7 ways to make your apprentice CV stand out

For a lot of us, one of the hardest thing to do is to talk about yourself.

It’s even harder when you need to reflect on your achievements in previous jobs or schools, but that’s what a CV is for – it’s like a collection of all your best bits you can share with apprenticeship employers.

There’s just one small problem… everyone else has a CV too. Amongst thousands of other applicants, how can you ensure your CV is the best of the bunch?

We’ve got you covered. Try these seven top tips to make your apprentice CV stand out from the crowd.

What is an apprentice CV?

An apprentice CV is a document that you can submit during the apprenticeship application process.

It includes all the need-to-know details about you and is an opportunity to demonstrate why you’re right for the job. A CV (Curriculum vitae in fancy Latin) should be no more than one page long and shouldn’t include pictures or crazy colours.

What should you include on your apprentice CV?

  • Personal details: Name, email address and phone number.
  • Personal summary: Also called a ‘professional summary’, this is a single paragraph at the top of your CV that describes who you are, your key strengths, relevant qualifications/info and why you’re the right person for the role.
  • Education history: Include the names of past schools/colleges/universities, plus your qualifications and the dates you attended.
  • Work experience: Include the employer’s name, job title and working dates. You can also include information about what you did on the job.
  • References: References are not always required for apprenticeships. If you need them, include the name and contact details of your referees, plus their job titles and how you know them.
  • Skills: A list of relevant skills for the job.  

7 ways to make your apprentice CV stand out

The competition for apprenticeships in the UK is hot. But with these tips, you can maximise your chances of success.

1. Keep your personal details professional

Don’t slip up on something as simple as writing your personal details. You should always keep it professional by using your full name. Remember that silly email addresses and answerphone messages won’t cut it – swap ‘RonaldoFan123@gmail.com’ to something like ‘FirstnameLastname@gmail.com’.

2. Think carefully about your personal summary

The personal summary is only a few sentences long, but that doesn’t mean you can bash it out in five minutes. It’s the first thing employers will read on your CV, so the pressure is on to make it perfect.

Before you write it, spend some time brainstorming what to include. Then, narrow it down to the most impressive and relevant information while referring back to the apprenticeship description to ensure you match your summary to the expectations.

Finally, ask a guardian or teacher to check the spelling, grammar and readability. Even though you’re only writing a few sentences, errors and clunky writing will stick out like a sore thumb.

3. Personalise your CV

If you’re applying for multiple apprenticeships in different industries, it’s a great idea to personalise your CV for each one. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean rewriting the whole thing every time you apply – here are three parts of your CV to tweak that will make all the difference:


Move the most relevant skills to the top in the ‘skills section’. After all, analytical skills are more relevant for an accounting apprenticeship than a beauty course.

Personal summary

Tweak your personal summary to talk about the subject or topic at hand. For example, if you’re applying for a finance apprenticeship, you could mention your excellent grade in maths. But for a sports apprenticeship, it would be better to talk about the swimming medals you’ve accumulated.

Professional goals

Change any mentions to your professional goals. Nursing apprenticeships won’t care that you dream of becoming a qualified electrician one day!

4. Don’t be scared to brag about your education

As school leavers, university graduates and career-starters, it’s likely that your academic experience will hugely outweigh your experience in the real world of work. So, use it to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to mention that you were top of the class, won awards or mentored other students – after all, academic wins might be your biggest successes so far.

5. Get work experience – in any way possible

Work experience could be the difference between you and another candidate when you apply for your dream apprenticeship. Even if you can’t get work experience in your chosen industry or field, a general working background proves to employers that you are reliable, hardworking and disciplined.  

It’s never too late to add some work experience to your CV – here are a few ways to get it done at the last minute:

  • Volunteering: Whether it’s the local charity shop, Scout group or farmer’s market, ask if they need a helping hand.
  • Internships: You don’t get paid for internships, but that doesn’t matter – you gain valuable experience, knowledge and the ability to flesh out your CV.
  • Summer jobs: Summer is a super busy time for certain industries like hospitality and retail, where you could get a job if you’re under 18. Coffee shops, garden centres and supermarkets are your best bets.

6. Understand hard and soft skills

Not all skills are created equal, and potential apprenticeship employers know that. There are a few different types of skills:

  • Hard skills: These are job-specific skills that you can clearly demonstrate through academia, qualifications or work experience. For example, computer programming, social media analytics and foreign languages.
  • Soft skills: Soft skills that are harder to measure, like personality traits. Examples include patience, timekeeping and the ability to listen.
  • Transferable skills: These are skills that you can apply to a wide range of jobs, industries and situations. E.g., If you were the basketball team captain, you could discuss your ability to apply leadership and mentorship skills to the workplace.

An apprenticeship CV is all about demonstrating what you’ve learned and achieved, not just what you did. Make sure you understand the difference between hard, soft and transferable skills so you can identify yours. Then, showcase everything on your apprentice CV.

7. Keep it neat

Another easy mistake to avoid is using weird or inconsistent fonts and styles on your CV. Proofread it at the end and make sure everything is in the same font (you can’t go wrong with Arial, size 11 or 12!) in the same colour. The headings, style of bullet points and paragraph spacing should match throughout, too.

A CV is only the first step…

One application doesn’t define your future career, so go easy on yourself if you don’t get a place on your ideal apprenticeship. There are loads of other opportunities out there – just keep the ball rolling and find new apprenticeships today. 

Relax. We’ll send the jobs to you.

Reckon you know what you want to do, but can’t find the perfect role? Most companies hire their apprentices in a ‘recruitment window’. This means many great jobs are only available for a short time once or twice each year.

Sign up for our job alerts service, and we’ll send you any jobs that fit your search criteria.