22 September 2023

Your Guide to Apprenticeship Cover Letters

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A cover letter for an apprenticeship… NOOOOO!

It’s a massive blow. You’ve already put an unholy number of hours into your CV. You spent your weekend attacking, and being attacked by the application form. It has, in short, been a nightmare – and now they want a cover letter too.

Take a few deep breaths. Put the kettle on, and make a cup of tea. Then keep reading.

Writing a cover letter for an apprenticeship is a bit like getting in and out of tight trousers. It’s tricky. But with the help of this step-by-step guide, you’ll soon get the hang of it.

Why apprenticeship cover letters are important…

A cover letter is a formal letter that accompanies a CV, outlining who you are, and why you think you’re the right person for the job.

The fundamental aim of an apprenticeship cover letter is to persuade a recruiter to read your CV, and eventually invite you to a face-to-face interview.

The best advice we can give you is to write a UNIQUE cover letter for every apprenticeship you apply to. It’s fine to start off with a master copy or template, but employers will smell a generic cover letter a mile off.

How to write a cover letter for an apprenticeship

  • Your apprenticeship cover letter should be no longer than one side of A4
  • Tailor the content to the specific role you’re applying for
  • Be honest!
  • Avoid buzzwords and cliches, e.g. describing yourself as ‘always giving 110%’ or ‘dynamic’
  • Triple-check your spelling and grammar before submitting.

Step 1: Dear Barbara,

The opening address of an apprenticeship cover letter is crucial. The crowd can turn against you after just three words. It’s a savage, savage sport.

Avoid writing ‘Dear Sir/Madam‘ or ‘To whom it may concern’. This gives the impression you are sending 50 CVs to 50 different employers. Barbara will not be impressed, and she might not even read your application.

Addressing your cover letter to the name of the person who will read it will show you’ve done your research. If you’re unsure who you’re writing to, contact the company and ask. And if you don’t hear back, go with ‘Dear Hiring Manager’.

Step 2: Introduction

Start by specifying what position you are applying for, and where you found the vacancy.

Employers are usually hiring for multiple positions at the same time. So you want to make sure you’re being considered for the right role. Start with this…

‘I am writing to apply for the engineering apprenticeship with GSK, as advertised on RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk. Please find my CV enclosed.

Step 3: Company research

Now that they know why you are writing to them, it’s time to explain to the recruiter why you are interested in their apprenticeship.

Before you do anything else, do your research on the company. What makes them tick? What social issues do they care about? What qualities do they look for in employees?

The more your cover letter aligns with what they want, the better your chances of progressing to the next stage. Here’s a list of areas to focus your research on…

  • Origins of the company
  • Their vision and values
  • Background of directors/the manager of the team you’re applying to
  • Has the company been in the news recently?
  • Any major projects the company has been involved in

If you want to find out more about the specific role you’re applying for, have a look through the 1000s of apprentice-written reviews on RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk.

Now, return to your cover letter and write a short paragraph that explains why you want to do the apprenticeship and, more specifically, why you want to do it with this company.

For example:

‘I was particularly drawn to an apprenticeship at Vodafone after discovering the groundbreaking projects I could get involved with; including making the UK’s first-ever 5G holographic call. My aptitude for problem-solving, combined with a desire to drive real change in the world, makes me a perfect candidate for this role.

Here, you have demonstrated that you know and understand the vision and values of the company.

What’s more, you have declared an interest in helping the company achieve its mission.

Onto the next section. This has been brilliant so far. A triumph.

Step 4: Experience and qualifications

You’re on a roll, so it’s time to show how your unique skills, qualifications and experiences make you the dream candidate for this apprenticeship.

The trick is to keep this section as relevant as possible to the role you’re applying for. So if you’re applying for a Catering Apprenticeship and you work part-time in Lidl’s bakery or have completed an online cooking course, that’s cover letter GOLD.

If you don’t have any experience in the world of work, instead focus on any modules you’ve studied at school or college that inspired you to consider this career path.

Step 5: ‘I’d love an interview’

The difficult bit is over now. There is nothing left but a final flourish, in which you end the cover letter. It’s hard to trip up here.

In a couple of sentences, thank the recruiter for considering your application and express your enthusiasm for attending an interview.

For example:

‘Thank you very much for considering my application. I would enjoy the opportunity to interview so that we can discuss the apprenticeship programme in more detail.

Step 6: So long, farewell

If you started the letter with a personal name, like Barbara, end your apprenticeship cover letter with Yours Sincerely. Or, if you didn’t manage to find Barbara’s name, Yours Faithfully.

And that’s it! You’ve finished writing your apprenticeship cover letter. It’s biscuit tin time.

Example cover letter

Using the examples from each step in this guide, we’ve put together an example cover letter for an Engineering Apprenticeship.

Dear Barbara Smith,

I am writing to apply for the engineering apprenticeship with GSK, as advertised on RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk. Please find my CV enclosed.

I am particularly interested in the engineering apprenticeship offered by GSK because of the programme’s focus on chemical engineering. GSK’s devotion to the research and development of existing, but also new medicines, aligns with my own desire to contribute to the creation of new medical practices. I see from the recent news coverage that GSK is focusing on local COPD care, and I feel that my work experience in my local hospital makes me an ideal candidate for this apprenticeship.

As my CV describes, my three years working at Carlos’ Cakes have given me teamwork skills, as well as the ability to work confidently as an individual. I am a conscientious and committed student, on course to achieve three A-Levels. My focus on the three sciences, particularly biology, has provided a groundwork of knowledge that will be needed for this apprenticeship. I have proficient skills using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel, as well as the desired experience with Photoshop software.

Thank you for considering my application, I would enjoy the opportunity to interview so that we can discuss the apprenticeship programme in greater detail.

Yours Sincerely,

Your Name.

Template for an apprenticeship cover letter

Before you go…

Before you return to The Sims, here are TWO final things to remember when writing a cover letter for an apprenticeship:

  • If an online apprenticeship application asks you to write a cover letter in a text box, write it in a Microsoft Word document (or equivalent) first, then copy and paste it in. This way, you can check your spelling and grammar before sending off the cover letter and save it to your device.
  • If you are asked to email your CV and cover letter, write your name and the title of the apprenticeship you are applying for in the subject line.