Find all the tools you need to understand apprenticeships and find the right one for you. Plus, get top tips on completing applications and attending interviews.
Remember that the person interviewing you wants you to be good. They want to fill the position with a fantastic candidate – that candidate is you.
Nerves start to become an issue when your mind wanders to negative scenarios. To keep this from happening, focus on your breathing when you are not speaking, and make sure you pause to take a breath before answering any questions. In addition to keeping you calm, pausing for a minute before answering also allows you to think and makes it more likely that you will give a good answer to the question.
Think of each question as its own moment. Don’t think of the whole interview at once, as it will seem too much or too big. Listen to each question carefully, take a breath before you speak, and answer the questions one at a time. And don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat a question if you need them to.
It’s no secret that smiling makes you feel more confident, even if you fake it. Before you know it, you won’t be faking that smile, and the interviewer will probably be smiling back because smiling is infectious, and people tend to mirror expressions and body language.
Many top sportspeople and performers listen to music before an event or performance to keep their nerves at bay. This could be something that keeps you calm or pumps you up. Podcasts and speeches by inspirational people can also be really uplifting. The idea is to fill your head with positivity, energy and excitement before your interview.
Nervousness and adrenaline are connected. A healthy level of nerves makes you perform better as you are more focused and readier to take on anything. By re-framing your nervous energy as excited energy, you can still feel pumped up, just in a way that helps you perform.
There’s nothing wrong with talking to yourself. It’s smart and scientifically proven to help motivate you. Tell yourself all the things you need to hear: you’re smart, you’re qualified for this role, and you’re going to do well. Say it out loud and say it with confidence.
You’re not jumping out of an aeroplane or battling a shark. You’re just facing one or two people to have a pleasant conversation about your career. Remember that they are also probably nervous about making a good impression.
The superhero stance is a physical pose in which the superhero stands with legs spread apart, arms on hips and elbows bent. The superhero stance projects power. It’s an example of what psychologists refer to as an open posture, where you take up space. Before your interview, find a quiet place, give this stance a try, and you’ll see your confidence rise! Hear about the full benefits of the superhero stance.
The chances are that you will spend a large portion of your time working, so an excellent way to make it as enjoyable as possible is to do something you enjoy. Spend some time thinking about topics, subjects or activities that interest you.
When you have an idea of the job or area you want to work in, you can begin to look into companies that you might like to work for. It sounds too obvious but Google it! Use search terms of the industry and location, e.g. “building companies York”, and this will generate a list of companies in that area. Use the names on that list to visit the company’s websites, find the “jobs” or “vacancies” area of their website, and look for information on what apprenticeships they might offer.
Employers often use social media for advertising apprenticeships, so checking their social media channels can be really beneficial. LinkedIn is a professional social media network you can use to showcase your work experience and qualifications. There are many settings, one of which is that you can make your profile show that you are actively looking for an apprenticeship. There’s a jobs tab at the top of the page where you can search by apprenticeship and location. Remember to keep your profile strictly professional and ensure your experience and qualifications are clear.
Employers like to see someone using their initiative, so if you want to stand out from the crowd, contact them. Prepare your CV and a short cover letter explaining why you are interested in working for them, then go to the employer in person, making sure you look smart and tidy, and ask for your details to be passed on to the Manager or HR Department. If this isn’t possible, you can call and ask to speak to the manager, politely explain who you are, and ask if you could email them your details to them to be considered for opportunities in the future.
Apprenticeships are available all year round, so vacancies are constantly becoming available. Many small companies will advertise their apprenticeships as and when they need a new staff member, whereas many larger companies will open their apprenticeship applications once or twice a year. If you want to apply for a particular apprenticeship, email them to express your interest in applying. Ask to be notified when the applications open or to be added to their mailing list. You could also set a calendar reminder on your phone to ensure you don’t miss the application window.
The employer will usually have a specification or summary for the role they are advertising, giving you a general idea of the information they’d like to see in your personal statement. Always read any guidelines or instructions before you begin, and when you have finished, check that you have met all the requirements in their specification. Also, look at the employer’s website to learn about the business so you can tailor the content of your statement so that it is relevant.
Writing a personal introduction becomes much easier when focusing on bringing out your best qualities. The introduction will set the tone of your personal statement, so it’s important to start strongly to capture the reader’s interest. An excellent place to begin could be to explain what has driven you to want to work in this particular career or area of employment.
Write about your relevant experience, talents and achievements. This should include the following:
End with a strong conclusion summarising what you have already discussed and will leave a lasting impression on the reader. The conclusion should remind the employer of the most important points and make them want to choose you.
After completing your personal statement, take a break from it for about ten or twenty minutes, then come back and read it through. It’s crucial that you take the time to proofread and edit your statement.
As part of your interview preparations, it’s good to work through some standard questions you may be asked to give yourself time to think through how you might respond in the best way. Potential questions might be:
Behavioural interview questions are questions about how you have behaved in the past. Specifically, they are about how you have handled certain work situations, for example:
The STAR interview response method is a great way of answering behavioural interview questions. Following the four simple steps of STAR should help you to give a comprehensive answer to any questions being asked: