Apprenticeship cover letter: 6-step structure for success

Your cover letter accompanies your CV when you’re applying for an apprenticeship and needs to do three important things. 

Firstly, it needs to act as your introduction to the recruiter or employer. Secondly, it needs to help you begin building rapport with them. Finally, it needs to encourage them to read on and open your CV. 

For this reason, you need to make sure you’re getting the format and content of your cover letter perfect. To help you get it right, we’ve put together a 6-step guide to writing an apprenticeship killer cover letter — check it out below:

1. Begin by addressing the recipient

Where possible, your cover letter should address the recipient by name. This is the best way to start building rapport with them and to show that you have a genuine interest in their opportunity. 

You’ll need to use your detective skills to find out the name of the recruiter/employer and there are several ways you can do this. First, check if their name or email appears on the job advert. No luck? Check the company website and see if there’s a ‘meet the team’ style page — if there’s a HR, hiring manager or recruitment person there, you could use their name. If you still haven’t found a name, head to the company LinkedIn profile to do some further digging.

However, if you do your research and can’t find their name, don’t panic! Simply start your letter with ‘hello’ or perhaps a ‘hi’ if you’re including this in the body of an email. Try to avoid using ‘dear sir or madam’ as, nowadays, it comes across as rather impersonal and outdated. 

2. Follow up with a friendly greeting

It’s important to be aware that your cover letter will be read by a real person, so you don’t want it to come across as rigid or stuffy.

So, next, show that you’re personable and friendly with a greeting — something like ‘I hope you’re well’ is the perfect way to start off. 

3. Let them know which apprenticeship you're applying for

Remember, some recruiters/employers might be hiring for multiple vacancies, so you need to tell them specifically what apprenticeship you’re applying for. 

It’s also a nice idea to let them know where you found their vacancy in the first place. For example:

‘I would like to apply for {name of apprenticeship} as advertised on {name of website}.’ 

Explaining why you’re interested in this apprenticeship is a good way to stand out from the crowd, so try to add a couple of sentences about how your interests and career goals align with the role, for example:

I’m particularly interested in working for your company as you stress the importance of social media marketing and blogging within the role. I have a keen interest in digital marketing and have recently set up my own blog which already achieves 500 visitors per month. I’ve also recently completed the Google Digital Garage course in order to develop my skills.

4. Demonstrate why you're suitable for the role

Next up, the main body of your cover letter needs to explain why you’re a suitable candidate for the apprenticeship you’re applying for.

Scan through the job description and pick out the key requirements and skills that you possess. Then, give a brief example of how you’ve used these skills. This helps the reader to quickly identify that you’re a good fit for the position.

For example, if the employer is looking for someone with strong written communication skills who is capable of writing reports, you might say:

‘During my time at college, I regularly contributed to the student newsletter. This voluntary position required great attention to detail in writing and editing. Paired with my grade B in English at GCSE, I’m now a confident writer.’

Or, perhaps they’re looking for applicants with customer service skills. In this case, you might say:

‘Having held numerous part-time retail jobs, I’ve assisted all types of customers in all types of settings. I’ve quickly learnt the importance of exceeding each customer’s expectations and how to solve their problems and queries professionally, quickly and effectively.’

You should also list any other important skills that you have, your most relevant qualifications and experience and give them some information about your current situation. For example:

‘I’m a recent school leaver’ or ‘I’m currently working in a similar role and looking to bolster my skill set.’ 

5. Showcase your achievements

Showcasing your achievements is something you need to do in both your cover letter and CV. But as your cover letter is only short, it’s best to choose your biggest and most relevant achievement.

Depending on your level of experience, this could be from school, an extra-curricular activity or previous roles. You might have achieved top grades in a relevant subject during your time in education, or if you’re more experienced, you might have increased sales for your employer or received some impressive feedback. For example:

‘In my final year of school, I was awarded Best Science Student of the Term’ or ‘In my part-time café job, I received a personal recommendation from a regular customer, due to my friendly and professional customer service.’

6. End with a professional sign off

Finally, you’ll need to sign off in a professional but friendly manner. Use terms like ‘thank you for your time’, ‘kind regards’ or ‘looking forward to hearing from you’. 

If you’re sending an email, add a formal email signature to the bottom to look more professional. This should include your full name, phone number and email address.

Structure your cover letter for success

We understand that writing a cover letter can feel daunting, particularly when you’ve never written one before or really want the role! 

By following the six steps above, you can put together a strong, personable cover letter that will sell your skills and land you an apprenticeship in no time. 

Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.

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