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How to write a cover letter for an apprenticeship?

Person handing over cover letter for apprenticeship position.

Cover letters or covering letters are what you include with your CV when applying for an apprenticeship. Think of them as the story of your CV – you will expand on the shorter points and bullet lists of your skills and show how your experience makes you the perfect fit for the role. 

If you have never written one before, a cover letter can feel like a difficult task. But as long as you stick to a few simple rules there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to write a strong cover letter that really sells you to a prospective employer.

How long should an apprenticeship cover letter be?

The ideal length of a cover or covering letter is no more than one side of an A4 page – any longer and you risk rambling. Any shorter and you won’t have covered enough of your skills and experience or explained why you should get the job. Four paragraphs is a good length.

Cover letter basics

Write a new letter for each application

It can be tempting to copy and paste your way through numerous applications, but each letter should be unique. After all, each role is different, as is each company you apply to. It’s ok to have similar points and explanations for skills, but each letter you write should feel distinct from one another.

It’s ok to use a template as a starting point

You can find numerous templates online to help guide you. As long as you aren’t copying someone else’s work it’s ok to use one. Details like where to include the date, who you are sending the letter to and your contact details are all important, and a template will show you this. There’s a lot of variety out there, so make sure whichever you choose it is clear and easy to read – not one big block of text.

Address it to a named person

One of the ways you can make a good impression is by addressing your letter to a named individual. It shows that you have done some research about the company, and you are serious about the application. You can easily find out the name of the person you need to write to by looking at the company website, emailing or phoning the company.

Paragraph 1: The 'Why'

Your opening paragraph is where you get the reader’s attention. Explain WHY you are writing to the company and WHY you are applying for the job. You can include information here relating to where you saw the job opportunity e.g. ‘I am writing regarding your advertisement for a construction apprentice on the Talentview website’.

Paragraph 2: Sell yourself

Sell, sell, sell! This is your opportunity to tell the prospective employer why you should get the job. What is it about you – your experience, skills or interests – that makes you the perfect candidate? What can you offer them? You can make reference to your CV here, by selecting a few strengths or achievements mentioned and expanding on them.

Paragraph 3: What you know about the company

Show that you have done your research about the company – its history, values and the work it does. If it is a construction company, you could make reference to some of the projects it has been involved in, and what excites or interests you about working for the company. 

Paragraph 4: Call to action

This is the final paragraph and your last chance to impress, so it’s important to get it right. 

The end of the letter is your chance to summarise what you would bring to the job. You can finish by thanking the recipient for their time reading the letter, and then providing a ‘call to action’. This could be by asking for a meeting or a phone call to discuss the position further. Sign off your letter formally. It is best practice to use ‘yours sincerely’ if you have addressed the letter to a named person, and ‘yours faithfully’ if you have addressed it to ‘Sir/Madam’.

Check your letter

Read your letter again in a few hours time or the following day. There will be some changes you will want to make. Go back to it a couple of times until you are happy with it.

Have more than one person check your cover letter if possible. Someone who works in a similar industry would be ideal, but a friend or relative who will give you honest feedback is also helpful. Read it out loud, too, because this will help you to hear clunky or awkward sentences or highlight missing words and spelling errors.

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