10 Style tips to help you nail an Interview

Apprenticeships, internships, and jobs (part-time and full-time) all require interviews, in some form or another – giving the right impression is vital to securing your place on some sort of ‘shortlist’ in the employer or interviewer’s mind. Of course, appearance isn’t everything, but if you are one-in-100 being interviewed, you need to stand out for all the right reasons.

Below, I’ll talk you through some of the basics for dressing for an interview.

  1. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
  2. Linked to Rule 1, dress appropriately for the role. If you arrive at an interview for a Business Administration role dressed in khakis, steel toe-capped boots, and a shirt, you’re pretty much guaranteed to not get the job. However, if you arrive at a Construction or Building job interview wearing a suit and brogues, your chances of getting the job are not affected. Research (and common sense) is required.
  3. If in doubt, ask the employer! If you’re not sure what is expected of you, then an email to HR of the company asking about the correct interview attire for the role will not go against you, and may actually show the employer that you’re serious about giving them the right impression and that you’re eager to please.
  4. Don’t go overkill on accessories and distracting items of clothing – bright colours and lots of jewellery are generally a no-no. Jingling your way into the interview room isn’t professional, or necessary.
  5. Have a facial piercing or visible tattoo? Cover it up or take it out. While some companies are more forward-thinking than others, you can’t always be sure, and you don’t want that tattoo from ‘Maga 2k10’ ruining your chances at that dream job.
  6. Along the same lines as Number 5, if you have bright hair or a wacky hair-style – make it conservative for your interview. If you’re successful, then you may ask about what’s acceptable and what’s not.
  7. If you’re a man, you don’t necessarily have to be cleanly shaven, due to the acceptability of facial hair in the work place nowadays, but make sure your beard or moustache is well-groomed and neat.
  8. Make-up should be ‘natural’ and not showy. If you’re wearing too much make-up, chances are it’s going to have moved from how you originally applied it – smudged lipstick or eyeliner does not look good. Don’t take that risk!
  9. In terms of your clothing itself – wear ‘traditional’ suit colours; black, navy or grey – and make sure your jacket and trousers/skirt match. A well-fitted suit is best, too baggy or too tight can look unprofessional, and may make you feel uncomfortable. The situation is nerve-wracking enough, without worrying whether your trousers will split when you sit down. Your shirt should be buttoned to the top, with a tie and for women, never wear a low-cut top or a shirt with buttons that could pop open. A good suit is an investment, and having one ready for any short-notice interviews may be a good idea. Shoes should match your clothing, and should be formal. Don’t wear high-heeled shoes, falling over isn’t a good start, and again, you don’t want to be focusing on how to walk or on that foot-pain, more than on the interview itself.
  10. Keep cologne and perfume to a minimum, don’t wear overpowering scents – your interviewer could be allergic, or just might not like the smell, it could be very distracting.

Now your outfit has been sorted, you can focus on company research and perfecting that handshake – good luck!

If you need anymore help on preparing for Job Interviews, our online Interview Skills course is only £10.00.

Words by: Lauren Bycraft

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Katie’s Story | Business Administration Apprenticeship

Hi Guys, My name is Katie and I am currently undertaking a Business Admin apprenticeship at Steadfast Training Ltd. A couple of us have been asked to share a little bit about ourselves and our apprenticeship, so here I go with mine.

At school I did a Level 3 Business Extended Diploma and loved it, I found it very interesting and it kept me on my toes. There was a lot of work involved but as I found it enjoyable I flew through it and found myself wanting to do the work because I enjoyed it not because I had to. I then went on to college and studied a Teaching Extended Diploma for primary school teaching. I enjoyed this but as the year went on, I was more and more determined I was going down the wrong path and I wanted to do something within the Business sector.

I left college and worked full time until I found a Business Admin apprenticeship. I applied and got a phone call from Lauren here at Steadfast Training. She asked me a few questions about the company I applied for etc.

A few days later she rang me back and informed me that Steadfast Training Ltd wanted to have an interview with me. I went for an informal interview on the Thursday and a formal interview on the Friday. I was told at my interview that I would hear back within a few days to see how I got on. A couple of hours later after my interview, I got a phone call from Lauren saying I got the apprenticeship and could start Monday! I was over the moon! I was finally doing something in the sector that I enjoy and wanted to progress in.

I have only been doing my apprenticeship for only 3 months now but I am getting on so well, it feels like I’ve been here for years! I am really enjoying my apprenticeship, getting experience and I learn something new pretty much every day. I’m the sort of person that likes to learn by doing, not by writing about it so the apprenticeship suits me to the T.

I wasn’t sure about an apprenticeship before I started this one and already, only 3 months into my apprenticeship I love it and would recommend doing an apprenticeship to anyone that is thinking about it or is stuck on what to do.

You learn, get experience, earn money and get a qualification! What is not to love?

 

 

Lauren’s Story | Social Media & Digital Marketing

My name’s Lauren, I’m undertaking a Social Media and Digital Marketing Level 3 apprenticeship at Steadfast Training, and I’ve been asked to share a bit about my Apprenticeship experience.*

(* I’m not really a fan of this kind of ‘write about yourself’ exercise, and I apologise if I drag on a bit – I’m a fan of words, and being concise isn’t necessarily something I’m good at.)

I studied Chemistry, Psychology and Art A-Levels (as well as the ever useful subject, General Studies) at Spalding High School Sixth Form and then took another year after that to study a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at New College Stamford – still with no idea what I really wanted to do in the future, I applied for Psychology at Uni, got 4 unconditional offers, and later accepted the Sheffield University position.

On 19th September 2015, I turned up at Sheffield University, checked-in to my accommodation, took my belongings upstairs – and then just completely broke down. University wasn’t for me, and I had slowly been realising that from the moment I applied, it just hadn’t clicked. I felt like I had to go, simply because of the pressure that was placed on me, by my secondary school, from starting GCSEs onwards, to go to Uni and be ‘successful’.

About 3 hours after arriving, I’d repacked my belongings into the car, and was on my way back to Spalding – with absolutely no clue on what I would do next; I’d probably just set a record for ‘fastest university drop-out’ and was now having to really think about my future.

After 4 weeks of frantic job-searching, and several rejections, I got a phone call from Steadfast Training replying to my application to a Business Admin apprenticeship. I was interviewed a few days later, and within two days, had accepted an Apprenticeship to start at the beginning of November.

I had applied to several office jobs with a similar job description to my apprenticeship, but my lack of experience in the role lead to me being rejected, despite being told I was a great candidate –  being left with a ‘thank you, but no thank you’ and a ‘best of luck’, I was getting used to this rejection malarkey. This is undoubtedly the best thing with doing an apprenticeship – the experience I have gained without being expected to have had similar job roles in the past has been wonderful, and will be a great help with building my career.

My apprenticeship is going really well, I was put onto a Social Media and Digital Marketing award instead of Business Admin, as it is more versatile and is quite a sought-after qualification. I’m definitely enjoying the units I’m covering, and the work and the environment is something I’m thriving in. While my friends are all living on Pot Noodles and are a few hundred pounds into their overdraft, I’m earning a wage and saving for my future, which is another bonus.

I’d recommend an apprenticeship to anybody who’s unsure on what they’d like to do – you’re still able to go to university after, if you wish, and the work experience is really a great thing to have on your CV. I definitely don’t think apprenticeships get enough representation in schools and sixth forms, especially Grammar Schools, as all of the attention is on getting a degree, which is unfair. My younger siblings are all looking into apprenticeships themselves, after my good experience here at Steadfast Training, which is great!

Best Apprenticeship Vacancies this Month: January 2016

Vacancy Email

Operations Team Apprentice
Anglia (UK)
Spalding
Weekly Wage: £132.00
Closing Date: 10/02/16
Apply here

Anglia (UK) Limited are looking for operations team apprentices to join them in Pinchbeck, Spalding, to do general office tasks, administering credit checks and DVLA checks when required, completing of daily reports, etc.

Anglia (UK) Limited are specialists in commercial auditing, credit management and responsive repossession solutions for valuable and highly mobile assets.

 

 

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Apprentice Business Administrator
Jaava Ltd
Peterborough
Weekly Wage: £192.37
Closing Date: 10/02/16
Apply here

To assist the manager with general admin and accounts duties including but not limited to: Answering the phone in a polite and professional manner, taking customers’ orders over the phone, chasing customers for payment of invoices, typing up quotes, All general admin duties, filing, updating the database etc.

This is a very busy dairy, delivering milk and associated dairy products to shops, companies, fast food outlets in Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire and surrounding area.  The diary trades as Peterborough diaries and is based in Werrington, Peterborough.

 

 

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Apprentice Clerical Assistant
Willoughby School
Bourne
Weekly Wage: £122.10
Closing Date: 11/02/16
Apply here
To provide clerical support to Willoughby School. Main duties of the role are: to carry out data input – word processing/spreadsheets, to assist in creating materials to support teaching and learning – display work, to carry out filing and stock taking, to carry out photocopying, to assist the arrangement of routine in school activities such as; medical/dental examinations, school photographs, induction evenings etc.

Willoughby is an all age (2 – 19) Special School, for pupils with profound, severe and complex learning needs.

The Willoughby School Vision is to inspire every child to achieve excellence in their learning and personal development through creativity and innovation in a happy and safe environment.

 

 

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Apprentice Administrator/Receptionist
Mason Thomas Limited
Stamford
Weekly Wage: £132.00
Closing Date: 10/02/16
Apply here

Role includes answering telephones and dealing with calls appropriately, taking messages and passing on relevant information. Monitor and order office supplies. Set up meeting room. This role will lead to further Administration duties in due course.

Bluebird Care (Peterborough & Rutland) & (East Northants) is a care franchise. They provide domiciliary care to a wide range of customers within Stamford, Peterborough and Rutland.

A Parent’s Guide to Apprenticeships

As a parent/carer, you have a colossal influence on prospective apprentices and of course you should want to understand the in’s and out’s of the Apprenticeship your loved one is considering.

What is an Apprenticeship?
An Apprenticeship is a great way to gain qualifications and workplace experience. Apprenticeships allow a person to earn as they learn whilst gaining practical skills and work ethic.

How do I find Apprenticeship Opportunities?
Prospective Apprentices can check for vacancies on our website or contact a member of our team on 0845 223 2401

How is learning done through an Apprenticeship?
An Apprenticeship is essentially a set of qualifications called a ‘framework’ developed by Sector Skills Councils.

Most Apprenticeship frameworks follow a standard format that comprises;

  • Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF)
  • Technical Certificate
  • Key Skills
  • Employer Rights and Responsibilities (ERR)

All training is completed in the workplace and the learner’s assigned assessor will also visit them at the workplace.

What happens if the Apprentice moves employers?
The apprentice will not have to restart the apprenticeship. In most cases an apprentice can continue the same apprenticeship programme with a different employer.

Will an Apprenticeship lead to a good career?
Career progression is excellent for apprentices, and over the course of their careers, those with an Apprenticeship earn, on average, £100,000 more than those without*

[*A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Apprenticeships and Other Vocational Qualifications, University of Sheffield, 2007]

Will the Apprentice get paid?
Yes the learner is entitled to Apprentice NMW which is currently £3.30 an hour.

Could the Apprentice go to University upon completing the course?
Yes – Some Apprenticeships already attract UCAS points or allow a person to study for a Technical Certificate. Once the Apprenticeship has finished there’s the opportunity to carry on working, maybe get promoted or go on to higher education in a college or university.

What are the benefits of an Apprenticeship to the Learner?

  • It can set the learner up to move into new and better jobs
  • The learner receive a salary, avoiding hefty Student loans
  • The Apprentice will get to experience new and different challenges
  • The learner’s existing skills and knowledge are recognised and can help them gain a qualification faster
  • The Apprentice will have the ability to learn at their own pace and get support when needed
  • Better job security
  • The opportunity to gain skills and knowledge which can be used across a range of jobs and industries.

 

How long does it take?
An apprenticeship lasts for a minimum of 12 months

What time of the year do they start?
A learner can apply at any time throughout the year, the time the apprenticeship starts is dependent on the employer.

For more information visit our website or contact us on 0845 223 2401

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How to make the most out of your Apprenticeship

Starting and partaking in an Apprenticeship is a great career move, it’s a big and positive life step but how do you make the most out of a good situation?

  • Although this blog post is technically about making the most of your Apprenticeships, make sure you take advantage of your Job/Career fairs or your School or College’s career departments – they can help you find a suitable apprenticeship.
  • Realise that although your apprenticeship wage may be low it’s still a better financial alternative to University or unpaid Internships.
  • Get as much experience as possible – broaden your horizons and try to experience all the departments in your company.
  • Stay Confident – Anybody and everybody can make mistakes, don’t let your dampen your confidence and capabilities! Learn through your mistakes and consider them a learning experience.
  • Network – An apprenticeship is a great time to build and maintain contacts in the professional field – go to business events, socialise, make contacts within the company.
  • Work Hard – Enjoy the experience but ultimately work hard – people will recognise hard work and eagerness and you’ll build a good reputation, which could potentially lead you to your next role.

Why Study Social Media & Digital Marketing?

Social Media & Digital Marketing is on the rise. The digital marketing industry is booming and has grown from a trend to a significant influence in a short period of time; as a result there is a huge demand for Social Media & Digital Marketers.

A Social Media & Digital Marketing Apprenticeship is great if you want to enter the Social Media and Digital Marketing sector as well as those already working in these areas that are looking to renew their skills with formal training. The course recognises the rapid growth of the Social Media and Digital Marketing sectors as business tools and helps learners develop their knowledge and put it into practice.

If you’re interested in a Digital Marketing Apprentice head over to our website and take a full look at the course we offer and apply!

Why not read Chloe’s Story, one of Steadfast’s Social Media & Digital marketing apprentices.

Chloe’s Story | Social Media & Digital Marketing

Hello, it’s Chloe.

If you’ve ‘liked’ our Steadfast Training Ltd page on Facebook then you’ve probably seen the occasional ‘Chloe Update’ that is posted onto Facebook to keep everyone informed on what’s going on in the life of Chloe.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Social Media & Digital Marketing Apprentice at Steadfast Training Ltd. I’m writing this blog post share with you how I came to work for Steadfast and if I’d recommend an Apprenticeship – I’ll try not to tell you my life story but I do have a habit of digressing.

After finishing my GCSE’s I went on to New College Stamford to study A-Levels in Media, Film Studies and Photography with the dreams of becoming the new David Bailey, however during the time I spent there I started to recognise I was enjoying Media more, I found Media straightforward yet still enjoyable, it made me think but I found it easy to understand, everything just clicked – after completing a module on the effects of Social and Digital Media I became increasingly interested in how it was used for marketing and how you can influence people through the use of language, video and image via online platforms. In spite of appreciating Media more I still applied to study Fashion Photography at University however the closer it came to September the more I realised that it wasn’t want I aspired to do anymore, my ambition had changed, I wanted a career in Social Media.

So, that’s when I entered the working world and managed to secure myself a Level 3 Social Media and Digital Marketing Apprenticeship with Steadfast Training Ltd in December. I finished my Apprenticeship more than 6 months ago now and I’m still here at Steadfast Training Ltd. A lot of my friends have left Univeristy now and are finding it hard to find work whereas I have nearly two years of experience under my belt and a qualification in my desired industry, I can safely say I still don’t regret turning down University..

An Apprenticeship has helped me develop old skills and learn new ones in a working environment, I’ve learnt how to deal with real working life problems, not theoretical ones – what’s even better is I’ve been earning money instead of growing the dreaded debt that comes with a student loan and the overdraft that most students have learnt to love.

To me Apprenticeships allow you to not only learning how and why a subject like Social Media works but you are also given the chance to put it into practise and gaining experience as well as a qualification. So, to answer the question everybody asks ‘Would you recommend an apprenticeship?’ The answer is yes, I believe this is the right route for me and I’m glad I chose an Apprenticeship over Uni. It’s not only helping me develop my career, work ethics, qualifications and portfolio it’s also helping me develop myself as a person.

If you’re interested in an apprenticeship then check out the vacancies here or call us on 0845 223 2401

I’m looking forward to see what the future brings and of course I will keep you all up-to-date on what happens, so follow Steadfast’s blog to stay in touch!

Chloe

Chloe Robinson

10 Things not to put in your CV

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A description about what you look like or even images of yourself should never be included on a CV. It isn’t professional and will be viewed as a mockery if it includes this information.

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Proofread your CV, twice and then get someone else to do it! Spelling and grammar mistakes can be a huge turn off to an employer! REMEMBER: Spellcheck isn’t always write

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Putting irrelevant work experience on your CV will dilute your key message and fill up needed space!

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If your hobbies will show you in an unusual light it is better to leave them out, stick to a short and precise list (e.g. writing, reading, etc)

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If you have an inappropriate or embarrassing email address, don’t use it! – Think about creating a more professional email specifically for your job search.

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Stay away from negative words such as; mistake, awful, bad, nothing even if they’re used in a positive sentence (e.g. awfully good)

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You should never include this information on your CV! If this info gets into the wrong hands you could be in trouble! Have it ready for your employer when they ask for it but don’t include it on your CV.

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A long CV is boring and gives the impression that you’re unable to distinguish important and irrelevant information – stick to 1-2 pages.

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Clip art, too many distracting colours and strange fonts will make your CV hard to read. Make a good impression with your CV and don’t distract from the information with bold designs.

For more information on CV and employability take a look at our Job Seekers section on the website.