Learner Information, Guidance & Advice

CV Writing

Applying for a job for the first time can be unnerving and mistakes are bound to happen. Here are some of the most common mistakes we see that you can easily change. We have put together 7 of the most common mistakes that we see in our job applications so you know what to avoid to make the best application you can.

1. You’re treating each application the same- even if its your tenth application, you need to remember that each job you’re applying to is different. We often see applications or CVs that have reference to a different job or a different employer rather than the one your applying to, and this is a complete turn-off for a recruiter. Make sure that you tailor each application you make to the job that you’re applying to. This means that you might change your cover letter or CV slightly, so it fits the job title and employer. This shows attention to detail, but it also shows that you are really making an effort to impress.

2. Mistakes throughout your CV- one of the biggest things that frustrates recruiters is mistakes in your CV, and you’ve probably heard it a million times. Every day, recruiters look through lots of CV’s and if yours is full of spelling mistakes, its not going to make a very good impression. You can get a friend or family member to have a quick read through and just check there are no glaringly obvious mistakes. Mistakes can apply to your contact information- check that everything is correct. If you’ve out the email on your CV incorrectly a recruiter might be trying to get in touch, but you wouldn’t know.

3. Too many cliches or buzzwords- It might sound great when you’re writing your CV or flailing out an application form but try and avoid cliches or buzzwords. You might think its great to be an ‘enthusiastic team player with a passion for plumbing’ but really it makes you sounds exactly like thousands of other people. Al thought these kinds of phrases might make you think you’re standing out; it actually only makes you blend in. One of the best ways to still impress is by using examples in your CV. If you want to show that you’re a team player, write on your CV that you enjoy team sports and get involved with lots of colleagues inside and outside of work.

4. Applying for something you don’t really want to do- We understand that sometimes you just need a job and you might just apply to the ones nearest to you, but don’t apply to things you’re not even interested in. If you want to change industries this is fine (just say that on your CV), there have been numerous times we’ve called candidates and they’re no longer interested. This might frustrate the recruiter, but it might also put you at a disadvantage for other opportunities. You should always apply for opportunities that you could see yourself doing, so that if you’re contacted about them you can show your enthusiasm right from the start.

5. No Filling out the job application form in enough detail- We know it can be frustrating when you’re faced with yet another application form for a different job but take it just as seriously as you did when you filled in your first one. Often employers read your application before looking at your CV to see if you’re suitable for a job. Make sure you fill it out, you think about each question and try to relate it to your skills, ensuring that you match the job requirements.

6. Lying to appear more experienced- If you’re applying for an apprenticeship, employers won’t expect you to have a lot of experience. If you have got experience, talk about it, but don’t worry about it if you haven’t. Sometimes you might lie, and it won’t seem like a big deal, but you could get into a lot of trouble of you pretend you’ve done something that you haven’t actually done. Sometimes, employers ask for evidence or example of your work, so make sure you have it ready.

7. You expect to be given the job- Not everyone will expect to get a job but remember that even if you’re offered an interview you still need to impress the employer enough to get an offer. Often, employers interview a number of people, so when you’re in an interview you need to impress even more than you did in your CV. Show the employer that you are capable of the requirements for the job you’re applying to. Unfortunately, more often we’re finding that some candidates expect to be offered a job and are angry if they’re not. If you have been unsuccessful, remember to be polite. Recruiters will often get in touch with you if they have a similar opportunity near your location which may actually be better suited to you.

Covering Letter
If you are applying with a CV, you usually have to send in a covering letter too.
A covering letter is a letter or email that you send in with your CV to explain why you are the right person for the vacancy and why you want to work for that employer in particular. If you are sending your CV via email or through the post, you must also send in a covering letter. If you are applying for an apprenticeship via an online application from, you might be given the option of uploading a covering letter- if so, do so. It’s an opportunity to show them how much you want the role. There are two ways to send your covering letter via email and both ways are equally fine unless the employer has specifically asked for one way:

       1. Attach both the CV and the covering letter as a word documents or PDF’s to your email. Make the email a brief message saying that your application for the vacancy (give the relevant details) is attached.
       2. Write the whole of the covering letter directly into your email. Attach your CV.

Get the formatting right
If you can, address it to a specific person responsible for hiring e.g. ‘Dear Mr Smith’. If you aren’t given a name, address it to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. Sign off the letter with ‘yours sincerely’ if it is to a named person and ‘yours faithfully’ if to Sir/Madam. Include your home address and the date on the letter if the covering letter is a separate document. If your covering letter is in an email window, include your contact details at the end. Your letter shouldn’t be longer than one page of A4.

Tailor it to the role
The secret to a covering letter is to make it very specific to the company and the vacancy you are applying to. If you can send in the same covering letter to a different company purely by changing the name of the company it is addressed to, your letter is specific enough. The example below should help you to ‘tailor’ your letter to the role and make recruiters want to interview you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  John Smith
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  13a Christmas Way
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  EX20 3AN

Barkwells Plumbing and Heating
Barowe House,
Beardown Road
EX20 1UA

6th September 2021

Dear Mr Plum,

First paragraph: State the vacancy you are applying for and where you saw it. For example: ‘I am writing to apply for your plumbing apprenticeship, which I saw advertised on facebook.’ If you are not applying for an advertised vacancy, state what you are looking for. For example: ‘I am writing to see whether you would be able to offer me a week’s work experience.’

Second and third paragraphs: Write about how you have the skills, qualities, attitude and experience to succeed in the role. Refer to the skills and qualities asked for in the job description. If there isn’t one, use the skills on page xx as a starting point. You should back up your claims with examples of when you have demonstrated those skills, expanding on details from your CV. For example: ‘I believe that I have the right skills and qualities to excel on your apprenticeship. I have developed the leadership potential you’re asked for through my involvement with South West Plumbing. I was part of the local football team and helped to run training sessions for the under 10’s football. For example, I led a session on…’

Fourth paragraph: Give reasons for wanting to work at that employer and in this role in particular. You can mention projects that the company have worked on, the training offered by the company, the qualifications that you would gain, the company’s values or something else that attracts you. Link your reasons to your career ambitions. For example: ‘I am applying to Barkwell’s Plumbing & Heating because I really want to work and learn in a company that takes on innovative projects, such as the Linden Homes project. I was impressed by how you made the building more environmentally friendly’.

Final paragraph: Finish by thanking them for considering your application and stating when you’d be able to start if hired and when you’d be available for interview.

Yours sincerely,

John Smith


Top 10 Interview Tips
An offer of an interview is a hugely positive sign that an employer is interested in you. Follow these tips to ensure you impress the employer to secure that dream job.


1. Confirming the Interview. You most likely will be emailed or called to let you know you have an interview, remember this is part of the interview process.


2. Preparation and research. Yor interviewer wants to know that you want to work for them, so knowing about the company could be the difference between getting the job or not.



3. Planning your journey. It may sound overly basic, but you need to know where you’re going and what the traffic could be like.


4. Dress Standards. What you wear is incredibly important- you don’t want to be a fashion model, but you want to show you’ve tried


5. First impressions. Even the person collecting you from reception is important. Smile at everyone you see - show that you’re welcoming


6. Listen. Although you’ll be thinking about your answers, also think about exactly what you’re being asked and how you can make yourself sound even better.


7. During the interview. How you have your interview gives good insight if you’re prepared- take noted in with you or right them down if that’s easier. What ever makes you feel comfortable.


8. Conduct. Your conduct will give the interviewer an impression of your personality and what you’ll be like in the office.


9. Feedback. If you don’t hear back after the interview, always contact them and ask for feedback


10. Say thank-you. Everyone is human, and a thank-you goes a long way.


Application Process
Easy tips for applications that impress

There’s no taking one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to applying for apprenticeships as the process isn’t centralised in the way that applications to university are. Here are our top tips on how to succeed in your written applications.

A little research goes a long way- Employers usually provide plenty of information on their websites to guide you on what to include on your application form, so take the time to find it. You will probably also find information apprentices who are already working there, which will help you to understand what will be expected on you. You’ll be in much better position to tackle the application form if you’ve got a clear idea of what the recruiter is looking for.

Make sense of your choice- Employers want to be sure that you’re committed. They don’t want to invest in training you only for you to drop out. When they assess your application, they’ll want to find out:



Show you’re a good match- ‘Your application is the first opportunity you have to tell us more about you and why you are interested in working with us. Think about experiences you have had in education and other parts of your life that show your skills and strengths, and how these relate to your chosen role.’ There are several useful tips here. The employer wants to get sese of what you’d be like to work with and how you’d fit in, and this is about more than your schoolwork and academic results. They want you to match your skills and strengths to the position you’re applying for; show them you’ve got the qualities they want. Refer to your experience of life outside school to help you.

Back up your claims- You can’t just say you’re motivated and a fast learner- you need to give examples, such as your role in organising a big event, doing Duke of Edinburgh or charity work. The same goes for showing your employers that you’re a strong team player. Can you think of times when you’ve been involved in the work of a group? You could draw examples from school, your family, sports team, work, voluntary organisations or religious or community activities. If the scheme you’re applying for is likely to include early morning starts, working outdoors in all weathers or travel, think of times when you’ve shown you can deal with the challenges involved.

Don’t let the team take all the credit!- Your CV should ‘highlight your individual achievements- not just those where you have excelled as part of a team.’ It’s good to include examples of your involvement in teams but explain how you made a difference to the team. Did you help solve disagreements in the team, take responsibility for helping to organise anything to do with a group activity, or have a specific role such as team captain? Use ‘I’ rather than ‘we’ to explain your contribution.

Watch the wordcount- There is usually a set word limit for each answer on an application form, and you should take care not to exceed it. At the same time, you shouldn’t submit very short responses that don’t give the employer enough to go on.

Proofread like a pro- Even when you’re applying online, its still worth printing off a hard copy of your application in order to check it through. Sometimes you can spot errors on a printed page that are easy to miss on screen If the application system isn’t set up so that’s its straightforward to save and print your complete form, make sure you can cut and paste your answers into a sperate document and print that out instead.

Keep copies- At an interview, the employer is likely to ask you about the information you’ve provided in your application form. If you’re completely forgotten what you’re told them, you’re in trouble. If you’re applying to a number of schemes with different employers, each application should be slightly different, and you’ll need to keep copies of all of them so you can refer back to the relevant application when the time comes. It’s worth giving some thought to how you’re going to organise this. Remember to look through your application


With purpose-built workshops and experienced tutors, Moor Training will prepare you for a long and lucrative career in plumbing and gas installation.


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