School leaver blog: CVs and degree apprenticeships

Welcome to our AllAboutSchoolLeavers’ blog! This week, we’ll be looking at how to build a good CV, and specifically, at the art of tailoring to different jobs. We’ll also be taking a look at the social worker degree apprenticeship and Whitney Boateng’s opinion of her cybersecurity degree apprenticeship.

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Career insight of the week: tailoring your CV

Writing up your CV (particularly if it’s your first one) is no easy feat. If you don’t have one yet and you’re thinking of applying for a job or school leaver programme, by all means check out our guide on how to write a CV. It’s a daunting step in your career, but almost everyone’s written one at some point and it gets easier after a while.

However, our focus for this week isn’t on writing a CV; it’s on tailoring it to every job you apply for. Although you might think having one CV is enough, the reality is that you’ll probably need more than one version of it when you’re looking for jobs. Why? Because it’s important that you show your potential employers that you’ve seriously thought about the job you’re applying for, and everything on your CV should show you’re suitable for the role.

So how do you go about tailoring your CV to a specific job? The first step is to read over the job description a few times: what are skills are being emphasised? Once you’ve made a list of the qualities and skills you should have to be a successful applicant, it’s important that your CV consistently shows that you have them. This means including experience and education that’s directly relevant to the job, but it might also mean looking at experience that may not be directly relevant to your job and finding specific aspects that might somehow be. For instance, while being captain of your school’s basketball team doesn’t show you have the hard skills needed for a business apprenticeship, it definitely shows you have leadership and interpersonal skills.

Every role you apply for will have slightly different requirements, and your job is to make sure your CV is always as relevant as it can be. It’s much more efficient to send out a few tailored CVs than to send general CVs to dozens of employers at once.

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou

Weird and wonderful apprenticeships: social worker

If your dream job involves making a positive change in people’s lives, then there are few jobs out there better than social work. And, of course, there’s an apprenticeship for that too. The social worker apprenticeship is a degree apprenticeship that typically lasts three years, which enables apprentices to gain an Honours Degree in Social Work while gaining work experience.

 The industry standard for this apprenticeship describes the role of social workers as crucially focused on “protecting individuals from harm, abuse, neglect and exploitation” and as promoting “positive change in people's lives in order to improve their wellbeing and independence”. It requires strong communication skills, interpersonal skills and a solid understanding of ethics. If this sounds like the kind of career you’d like, why not apply?

Spotlight on: Whitney Boateng, technology degree apprentice at Barclays

This week, our spotlight is on Whitney Boateng, a technology degree apprentice on Barclays Technology Centre Radbroke’s cybersecurity pathway. By the time she graduates in 2022, she will have achieved a BSc (Hons) from Manchester Metropolitan University alongside her apprenticeship. 

Although her family initially saw attending university as the only “valid” path, she’s convinced she made the right choice in deciding to do a degree apprenticeship instead. Boateng explained: “After my four-year journey, I will not only have a bachelor’s degree but also four years of working experience, which can open the doors to many opportunities.” She also emphasised her overwhelmingly positive experience working at Barclays: “I've never experienced having to make coffee or bring breakfast for my team. Every individual is taken seriously and respected, regardless of their background and the path they took to be where they are right now.”

As a result of her positive experiences as a degree apprentice, Boateng is now raising awareness of the benefits, and wants to encourage young people to consider all options without bias: “I would recommend young people take a brave step and think outside the box. It is your future—I want you to explore all the options there are and make an informed choice.”

Recommended reading

  1. As the climate crisis protests continue, The Guardian has released the names of the 20 firms contributing over a third of the world’s carbon emissions
  2. Are women at the forefront of the current climate crisis movement? This article argues they are. 
  3. It’s undeniable that many of us spend unhealthy amounts of time glued to our phones. But is ‘tech addiction’ really comparable to drug addiction? Here’s what the science says
  4. Similarly related to the cult of the digital, some have started to predict that technology-based religions will exist in the near future. 
  5. Compared to just three years ago, eight UK universities have found that ten times more students are dropping out because of mental health concerns.

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