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CVs, applications and interviews

What is a CV and why do I need one?

A CV (also known as a Curriculum Vitae or résumé), is a written overview of your skills, education, achievements and work experience

It may be used for a variety of reasons, however, the most common of these is to send to prospective employers when looking for a job.

Don’t forget, your CV or application is your first opportunity to show yourself in your best light to a potential employer. In many ways, it is a sales document for you.

How to build your CV

Recruitment company, Pearson Whiffin, has created a handy guide to writing a CV.

view the guide here

One of the areas that pupils often find difficult to identify on their CV is non academic achievements. Your teachers have suggested some of the areas that you might want to think about:

  • Leigh Aspire programme participant
  • NCS Participant
  • School Council/Student Leadership Team
  • Anti Bullying Ambassador
  • Sports team representation
  • County team representation
  • National team representation
  • Inter School Maths Challenge representatives
  • Prefects
  • Mentors
  • Cultural community group service
  • Running a school club
  • Bronze/Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award – Volunteering, Skills and Physical
  • Reading buddy
  • IBCP Service Learning
  • Overseas travel
  • Part-time work
  • In school awards
  • Local/national competition winners
  • Church service
  • Work experience
  • Volunteering
  • Scouts/Guides/Brownies responsibility
  • CCF
  • Greenwich Young People’s Council
  • Hoo’s Got Talent – Talent Show
  • School’s Will Rock You – rehearsals and organisation
  • Hoo Rocks
  • Christmas Carol Service
  • Ski trip
  • BBC Young Reporter
  • Duke of York Award
  • CREST Award
  • LGBT+ Ambassadors

Not all jobs or apprenticeships will require a CV; some will ask you to complete an online application. However, the information that they ask for will be the same as that on your CV so it is always useful to have an up to date CV to refer to.

Applying for a job or apprenticeship

Once you have your CV, it is time to look for the right job or apprenticeship for you. There is plenty of information of where you might look for these elsewhere on this website and once you have found a job or apprenticeship that you’d like to apply for, please remember the following top tips from KATO, Kent Association of Training Organisations.

Interview skills

Being interviewed is a skill that can be practised. Ask your parents, carers or teachers to run mock interviews with you. Having several interviews will build your confidence and the process will then not feel so daunting.

Current Whitehat apprentices share their interview top tips with you.

Your interview process might consist of an interview, an assessment, an aptitude test or any combination of all three. The reason why employers ask for these is to ensure that they achieve the best candidate fit for their organisation. Equally, these are a perfect opportunity for you to see if this is the organisation that you want to work for; interviews are very much a two way process.

Your interview might be face to face, online or even on the telephone. Many organisations now run what are called assessment centres where groups of applicants will be asked to perform tasks and candidates are assessed against each other. Typically, the employer will look for candidates to demonstrate their abilities in team working, communication, leadership and problem solving.

Assessment centres

Many large employers will hold assessment days as part of their recruitment process. Target Careers have some great tips for school leavers on what to expect and how to prepare for success here.

Telephone interviews

The first part of your interview could be by telephone. Training provider, IPS International share their top tips on telephone interviews plus some commonly asked questions, here.

Aptitude tests

Some organisations prefer to use aptitude tests. You can try some free practise tests here.

Making a good 1st impression

The advice in this guide from recruitment company, Monster, describes how to best present yourself at interview and on good interview techniques.

Remember to think carefully about how you want to present yourself at your interview.  A few questions that you might want to ask yourself could be:

  • Be prepared- ensure that you know, if it is a face to face interview, how to get to the place of your interview and leave plenty of time to get there. Similarly, if your interview is on line or on the telephone, be ready well in time.
  • Is your attire suitable for the role that you are being interviewed for? Ensure that you think about the employer expectations prior to your interview.


What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet. You can use LinkedIn to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships , and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career.

A basic LinkedIn account is free to set up and use, although there is an enhanced paid version. Account holders must be over 16 years of age and in line with LAT safeguarding policies, pupils may not connect with staff whilst still a student.

go to linkedin

Why is LinkedIn important for students?

LinkedIn is a tool that can be used by students to research organisations they would like to work for. Students in Years 12 and 13, undergraduates and postgraduates can visit the Company Pages shown on LinkedIn and look at their posts to see new developments in the business, how the company chooses to showcase their employees, and whether the company is a member of groups on LinkedIn. They can also check to see if the company has links to other organisations.

This research may also guide students on the hiring process, how people feel about the organisation and on job availability.

By being present on LinkedIn students can be viewed by potential employers and course admissions specialists. LinkedIn is one of the first checks that professionals will use when they are seeking to recruit staff or receive a CV from a prospective employee.

If you can optimise your profile on LinkedIn, and then continue to update it as your career progresses, you will be giving yourself the best opportunity to be found and recruited by potential employers.

In the video tutorial below, we explain and show you how you can easily optimise your own LinkedIn profile, how you can search for people and groups and how you can track your progress.

See the video tutorial

How to use LinkedIn

Marketing Company, Kingshill Marketing, share their tutorial on how, as a student, you can  set up an account and how you can best use it:

Once you’ve created your Linkedin account, why not join your academy alumni? For more detail, please see here.

labour market information

What is Labour Market Information?

Labour Market Information (LMI) is a useful tool to help research future jobs in your local area to help you to understand the skills needed for certain roles and the likely demand for future employment.

Why is Labour Market Information important?

LMI helps to break down the complex ‘world of work’; this ranges from descriptions of different careers, their entry routes, promotional prospects, salaries paid and skills and qualifications needed. Most importantly for young people, LMI also covers future demand to help you explore what kinds of jobs will be in demand after you leave education and what kinds of skills are likely to be needed.

How can I find out more?

To find out more about the LMI for all website, please click on the button below.

LMI for all