Application packet guidelines.
Apprenticeship is a great first step to a fulfilling career, and before getting started there are some things you should know about building a strong application. Apprenticeship requirements will vary depending on the position, and understanding what makes a strong application is a great place to start. Explore our Application Packet Guidelines below to learn about requirements and recommendations to becoming a competitive apprentice applicant. There’s a lot to know about applying for an apprenticeship, and you’re already on your way.
Let’s get started.
Before applying, you should have a solid understanding of the industry and occupation you’re interested in.
- Get started by researching apprenticeship industries on our Explore Occupations page. You’ll also find Sample Industry Roles with brief descriptions on the apprenticeship program.
- Having an understanding of your career goals will help plan the path you need to get there.
- Use Google or YouTube to research the occupation or industry you’re interested in. If you know someone who’s employed in your desired industry, ask if they’d be willing to chat with you and give their first-hand perspective.
- Application requirements will vary by occupation, so plan ahead by researching what’s required. You can learn about specific requirements by exploring occupations on our Search Program Openings page. Make sure to select the option to “Include Programs Without Currently Open Opportunities” to see all programs in Oregon.
- It might be helpful to keep a spreadsheet to track occupations and requirements in one place.
- Getting to know industry terms will be helpful for your Application Packet and interview down the line. It’s a great way to demonstrate your understanding and interest in your chosen industry.
PRO TIP: Most apprenticeship programs will require a drug screening at the end of the application process when the apprenticeship position is offered to you. Although marijuana is legal in Oregon, it is still federally regulated and not allowed in construction. You won’t pass the drug test if marijuana is found during the screening.
It’s important to know which documents will be required versus recommended for your Application Packet. A good rule-of-thumb is to look at the specific apprenticeship posting to know exactly what’s required of you. You can find more detailed information in the following section on Experience & Qualifications, but generally, you should expect to provide the following:
TYPICALLY REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
- Proof of age (e.g., valid driver’s license, ID card, passport)
- Proof of high school degree, modified diploma, or GED attainment
- Proof you meet math requirements (e.g., transcripts showing completion of high school/college algebra with a C or better, OR a qualifying math placement test score, OR in process of taking a math test as part of the application)
POSSIBLE ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS
- Portfolio of photos of past projects
- Proof of past employment
- Proof of any certifications (e.g., OSHA 10 or First Aid/CPR)
- Cover letter
- Letter of recommendation
- Assessments (e.g., Workkeys, math placement tests)
PRO TIP: A letter of recommendation is a great supporting document that can help demonstrate your past experience and highlight your strengths. Reach out to current or former colleagues and ask if they would be willing to support you with a letter of recommendation. Some apprenticeship programs may require proof of past employment, which is usually a document on company letterhead from a past employer outlining your experience and timeline of work.
EXPERIENCE & QUALIFICATIONS
As an apprentice, you won’t be expected to know how to do everything right away. You’ll learn on the job, but having certain experiences or qualifications beforehand can help you stand out on your application.
- Having a good attitude and willingness to learn are top qualifications hiring managers are looking for in applicants. If you’re lacking experience, make it clear that you’re a quick learner and are willing to dedicate the time to improve your skills.
- Relevant work experience can include paid job experience, volunteer experience, career and technical education and training, industry-related certifications, and classes you have taken.
- A resume may be required to document past experience. You can also take photos of past work and compile them into a portfolio. Sometimes a letter of recommendation is needed, be sure to ask people ahead of time to provide them time to write you one.
- Some roles may require proof of work experience from a previous employer. If so, they will need to create a document on their company letterhead that details your time worked and tasks you performed.
PRO TIP: Pre-Apprenticeships can be helpful if you’re looking for experience in the trades. Learn about Pre-Apprenticeship here.
SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION
After you’ve carefully reviewed the requirements for your application and compiled all necessary documentation, it’s time to submit your application for apprenticeship! Application submissions and deadlines can vary by program. Carefully review the application deadline and procedure to see if your application should be submitted in person, by mail, or online/email.
- Your application will likely be tallied using a point system. You’ll receive points for relevant documents, education, experience, and certifications. The more you can provide, the more points you’ll receive.
- Be sure that you have carefully followed directions and have completed all parts of the application before submitting. Failure to do so could mean that your application is automatically disqualified.
- Proofread your application several times to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Have a friend, family member, teacher, mentor, or coach review your application to catch any errors you might have missed.
- It’s important to know that apprenticeship programs can be competitive, and there may be a wait before you hear back about whether you’ve been accepted for apprenticeship.
PRO TIP: When submitting your application in person, be sure to dress professionally and in a way that demonstrates readiness to work.
Most registered apprenticeship programs have an interview component to their hiring process. An interview is a great opportunity to market yourself for the position. Make sure not to make common mistakes that could hurt your chances at landing the apprenticeship.
- Do your research on the occupation you’re interviewing for. Be ready to talk about the qualities you like about that occupation.
- Practice how you’ll talk about your strengths and how you would apply them to particular aspects of the role. If you lack any skills, express your excitement to develop those skills in the prospective role.
- Common interview mistakes include using one word answers or not showing genuine interest or knowledge in the apprenticeship. Answer each question as thoroughly as you can so the hiring panel knows you’re invested.
- Research behavioral interviews and practice questions about your personal approach to common workplace scenarios.
- When choosing what to wear, make sure to dress in clean, professional clothing that’s still suitable for the role you’re applying for. You may be asked to perform tasks as part of your interview, and may even be asked to start your apprenticeship immediately.
- Getting to your interview on time is critical. Play it safe and aim to show up 10 minutes early.
- During your interview, shake hands when greeted, make eye contact, and practice good posture.
PRO TIP: Research common interview questions and practice a mock interview with a friend, family member, teacher, coach, or mentor. You’ll feel more prepared (and more confident) if you’ve planned what you’re going to say ahead of time.
DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLIST
Download a printable version of the Application Packet Guidelines here.