Write My Essay Apprentice

How to create a DIY writing apprenticeship

Quantity is the path to quality (or, practice makes perfect-ish)

Someone left a comment on my post about my experiment of writing here on Medium everyday for thirty days that said, basically, it’s quality that matters, not quantity.

And on the surface I agree. Obviously, writing mountains of crap that never gets any better is not a solid writing career plan.

But the truth is that there is only one real path toward quality and that leads right through quantity.

In other words: practice makes (kind of something sort of close to) perfect.

French author Jules Rendard said:

Talent is a matter of quantity. Talent does not write one page, it writes three hundred.

I bet if I could ask him, he’d agree that talent actually writes 300 pages, and then keeps going. Talent writers 300 pages, then does it again. And again.

If you you want to become a good writer, you have to write a lot.

“A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin.” — David Eddings

I get how hard that is to absorb.

Because the idea of writing starter books no one will read is like the idea of locking your starter babies in the attic so you can gestate a better one. Unthinkable. Barbaric.

I love the idea of early writing as an apprenticeship.

There are so many resources out there, where you can learn from masters without ever meeting them. Without them even needing to be alive.

Ray Bradbury spelled out exactly what an aspiring writer should do to gain mastery. I wrote about that here:

The 1000 Day MFA
medium.com

He also collected essays that are a master class in writing in his book Zen in the Art of Writing.

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity
"Bradbury, all charged up, drunk on life, joyous with writing, puts together nine past essays on writing and creativity…amzn.to

Stephen King gave simple, concise, intensely useful advice in his book On Writing.

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft
Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King's critically lauded…amzn.to

Chuck Wendig’s blog Terrible Minds is full of great advice. This article changed the way I write.

Nuts and Bolts: "Thought" Verbs
In six seconds, you'll hate me. But in six months, you'll be a better writer. From this point forward - at least for…litreactor.com

Hugh Howey gives aspiring authors advice about indie publishing.

My Advice to Aspiring Authors - The Wayfinder - Hugh C. Howey
Yes, that's an ambitious title for a blog post. It might even be seen as egotistical (it feels egotistical to me). But…www.hughhowey.com

Here’s one way you could put together your own DIY novelist apprenticeship.

  1. Make an agreement with yourself to write five books in five years, even if none of them are published.
  2. Learn as you write, so that each book is more well-written than the last.
  3. Find another writer at about your level of skill and experience and develop a partnership with them. Be critique and accountability partners. Exchange work weekly and pay particular attention to improvement.
  4. Follow Bradbury’s advice: read a poem, an essay, and a short story everyday for 1000 days, and write a short story every week.
  5. Read a writing craft book once a month for a year. You can start here.

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Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She lives in Reno with her husband, three superstar kids, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes, isthe author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation, and the original Ninja Writer.

Are you interested in doing an apprenticeship? You should be, they are a marvellous way of starting a career. Apprenticeships are available in 1500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries.

If you are considering applying, swing by our jobs page. It is a place of dreams. ​

How to write an apprenticeship cover letter?

A cover letter for an apprenticeship… NOOOOO!

It’s a massive blow. You’ve put an unholy number of hours into your CV. You spent your weekend attacking, and being attacked by the apprenticeship application. It has 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. Not one of those horrible fruit teas. A camomile tea won’t help you here.

But we can! An apprenticeship cover letter shouldn’t be the cause of so much distress. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to writing a cover letter for an apprenticeship application.

We’ve slipped an apprenticeshipcover letter example/template in too!

Did you know, you can do an apprenticeship that gets you a tuition-free degree? Degree apprenticeships are a government funded scheme that were introduced last year. Degree apprentices are employed full-time, earning a competitive salary, as they work towards a full bachelor’s degree on the side!

Read our Guide to Degree Apprenticeships, they are a cracking opportunity for school leavers.

Before we begin...

Before we begin, and all get way too excited, we should probably identify what a cover letter actually is. A cover letter is a formal letter that accompanies a CV, outlining who you are, and why you are sending your CV to the company.

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

A cover letter should not be an overload of information, of why you are a perfect candidate for an apprenticeship. A cover letter should tease the recruiter, to tempt them, so that they are forced to read your CV.

Quick tips!

  • Your apprenticeship cover letter should be 3-4 paragraphs(definitely shouldn't exceed a side of A4)
  • Tailor it to the role you are applying for
  • Be honest!
  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Use clear and concise content

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.

You need to address your cover letter to the name of the person who will read it. If you address your letter to John, or to Steve, and the person who is reading it is called Barbara, you’re in trouble. Barbara is going to be livid.

Addressing an apprenticeship cover letter to the wrong person suggests you haven’t done any research of the company. It suggests you don’t care for the role you are applying for.

The correct way to start an apprenticeship cover letter is:

Dear Full Name,         e.g. Dear John Smith,

Dear Mr Surname,      e.g. Dear Mr Smith,

Dear Ms Surname,     e.g. Dear Ms. Smith

(always go for Ms instead of Miss/Mrs, don’t presume marital status)

Employers often include the name of the person who you are sending apprenticeship your cover letter to in the job vacancy. You will see something along the lines of…

Please include your CV, with a cover letter and send it to Barbara Smith - barb.smith@company.co.uk

However, if the name of the recruiter is not given in the job vacancy, you have a few options...

  • Call up the company, and ask for the name of the person who will be reading the cover letters for that specific position, You can email them too. 

Some companies have a ‘no name’ policy for confidentiality reasons, so if they can’t give you a name…

  • Address your apprenticeship cover letter to the manager of the department your apprenticeship is on. If you are applying for a marketing apprenticeship, put down the name of the head of marketing. 
  • If you are unable to find the name of the person who heads up recruitment, address your letter to someone you can find that works in human resources (HR), or someone in the team you are applying to join. 

They will then forward your CV and cover letter to the relevant person. Although your cover letter may not reach the recruiter immediately, they will recognise the effort you have put in trying to find the correct recipient.

DO NOT address your cover letter to Dear Sir/Madam OR To whom it may concern.

It gives the impression you are sending out fifty CV’s to fifty different employers. It doesn’t look good. Barbara will not be impressed, and she probably won’t read your application.

Step 2: First words

Once you’ve addressed your apprenticeship cover letter correctly, you want to specify what position you are applying for, and where you found the vacancy in the first place.

Employers are often hiring for multiple positions at the same time, so you want to make sure you are being considered for the right role. If you are applying for an engineering apprenticeship, it would be terrible if your CV and cover letter were sent to the person hiring security guards. Unless of course, you have a secret passion for standing guard and looking dangerous. Start with this…

I am writing to apply for the engineering apprenticeship with GSK,

After that, just mention where you found the apprenticeship advertised. Employers like to know what channels school leavers use when they are looking for work.

as advertised on RateMyApprenticeship.

Tell them you have enclosed your CV, so there is no confusion.

Please find my CV enclosed.

Step 3: Why are you interested?

Now that they know why you are writing to them, it’s time to explain to the recruiter why you are interested in the apprenticeship. It is here, that you will use your research of the employer. Before you start writing your cover letter, you need to do some research of the company that is running the apprenticeship. If you haven’t already done this, don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.

Below, we’ve put together a little list of the most important areas for you to research…

It’s also important to have done some in-depth research about the apprenticeship you are applying for. Are there any case studies, or reviews written by previous apprentices?

RateMyApprenticeship has thousands of reviews of apprenticeships, written by the apprentices themselves about programmes with some of the UK’s biggest companies. It’s a great place to start your research of an apprenticeship and the company that’s running it. You can find our reviews page here…

(Get researching!)

So now you’ve done your research, it’s time to pick up the pen and declare why you are so drawn to this company, and this apprenticeship. This is an opportune moment to mention company values. Begin this paragraph with something like…

I am particularly interested in the engineering apprenticeship offered by GSK because of the programme’s focus on chemical engineering.

This is a smashing opening, you have specified why you’re attracted to the course, and shown that you have researched the course content. After this…

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.

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. If you could then comment on a project or a scheme that they are currently working on, the reader will lose their mind, (and then read your CV).

I see from the recent news coverage that GSK are focusing on local COPD care, and I feel that my work experience in my local hospital makes me an ideal candidate for the apprenticeship.

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

Watch the video below for a recruiter's expert guide on writing cover letters.

Step 4: Experience and qualifications

You’re on a roll, so it is time to start describing your background, and why it makes you ideal for the apprenticeship. Remember to always keep the content relevant to the role you are applying for!

By background, we don’t mean your life story. An employer doesn’t need, or want to know where you were born, whether or not you had a happy childhood, or about your severe allergy to hummus.

Talk about your qualifications and work experience, and how they link to, or have led you towards applying for this apprenticeship. Whether it be a module you studied or a short work experience placement you completed, explain how they have prepared you for the position.

Leave out extra-curricular activities and your interests. Especially if you’re interests are boring. These things are for your CV – an apprenticeship cover letter is a teaser for your CV, it shouldn’t spoil it.

It is in this section of your apprenticeship cover letter that you discuss what skills you can bring to the company. Just one or two things, your cover letter needs to spark their interest, not compel them to write an album about you.

You cannot just write, ‘I am a great team player,’ and reel off a list of skills that have no basis. There is no need to try and portray yourself as being more talented than Kevin, the kid from Home Alone.

Don’t try to be Kevin. Explain how your unique skills, qualifications and work experiences make you an ideal candidate to be considered for this apprenticeship.

Below is an example of how to explain what relevant skills you can bring as an apprentice.

As my CV describes, my three years working at Carlos’ Cakes have given me team-work skills, as well as the ability to work confidently as an in 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.

DON'T!

  • DON'T undersell yourself. As Christina Aguilera tells us, you are beautiful. Your cover letter shouldn't be a list of things you don't have.
  • DON'T oversell yourself. It's a bad idea to say you are the best swimmer, the best runner, the best at football, the best at everything. If you don't have extra qualifications, in fire safety for example, mention but don't exaggerate it. Nobody cares. 

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 is hard to trip up here.

Avoid inflammatory remarks, slang, and anything the reader might find a bit fruity. Do this, and you should be fine; in apprenticeship cover letters and in life.

In a few sentences, thank the recruiter for considering your application. It’s the polite thing to do. It all sounds very formal – thanking the recruiter for their consideration. It doesn’t exactly get the heart racing, like Jenga does.

However, the heart of your application is in the second and third paragraphs (Steps 3 & 4). It is there that your cover letter will fly or die.

So be sensible, don’t ruin anything. Also highlight your interest and availability for attending an interview.

Write -

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

Step 6: So long, farewell

You’re at the end now. Soon you can return to the sofa and watch eight episodes of The Hairy Bikers.

If you started the letter with a personal name, like Barbara, end the letter with Yours Sincerely. If you didn’t manage to find Barbara’s name, and put ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, and end your apprenticeship cover letter with Yours Faithfully.

That's it. You have just finished writing your apprenticeship cover letter. It's biscuit tin time.

Cover letter example

Using the examples from each step in this guide, we’ve put together a full 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. 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 are 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 team-work skills, as well as the ability to work confidently as an in 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.

Just before we finish

Before you return to your game of Connect-4, here are two quick things to remember about 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), and copy and paste it in. This way, you can check your spelling and grammar before sending off the cover letter
  • Some employers will ask you to email a CV and cover letter to them. If this is the case, write your name and the title of the apprenticeship you are applying for in the subject line. An example of this would be - YOUR NAME, GSK ENGINEERING APPRENTICESHIP. 

Employers and recruiters receive an unnatural number of emails each day, writing this in the subject line will ensure they know what the email contains, and doesn’t get lost in the mass of other enquiries.

Remember, it is crucial that you write a unique cover letter for each apprenticeship that you apply for!

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DON'T!

  • DON'T include a picture/headshot, unless requested to
  • DON'T write the wrong name, good luck to you if you make this mistake
  • Company values/vision
  • Origins of company
  • Background of directors or the manager of the team you are applying to join
  • Has the company been in the news recently?
  • Any major projects the company has been involved in

DON'T!

  • DON'T lie about work experience/qualifications. Recruiters find out, they always find out. They have people everywhere.
  • DON'T overshare. A cover letter (and CV) shouldn't include anything too personal.

DON'T!

  • DON'T forget to proof-read
  • DON'T use cliches, or describe yourself using application buzzwords, such as 'conscientious' + 'dynamic'

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