Write your CV in the wild

Top tips for UCAS personal statement, college and apprenticeship applications.

Every year, 17 and 18 year olds across the country face the daunting prospect of having to sell themselves in their UCAS personal statement, college or apprenticeship applications. Knowing what you want to do is one thing, but knowing how to get there can be a whole different kettle of fish.

Having to sell yourself and your skills to an unknown academic or employer with only a couple of sides of A4 to play with is hardly a relaxing Sunday afternoon job. Worse still, if you're short on tales of academic glory or exam success, it can seem a whole lot harder.

But fear not! Report after report shows that employers are increasingly looking for far more than just book smarts. With the BBC reporting that ‘soft skills’ may have an economic value of up to £88bn. Skills like self-confidence and self-belief, the ability to communicate well, self-management, team work and leadership qualities are now considered vital.

More Than Grades Jetty

How do you show that you’ve got these skills in your application?

Even if you’re the star player of the school netball club or volunteering at a local charity shop, it can be hard to explain how these activities translate into useful skills that are appealing to a university or employer.

If you volunteer your time or are a budding sportsperson, the best way to stand out from the crowd is by demonstrating how your experience has developed transferable soft skills. Think of real-life situations in which you've applied those skills. After all, the person reading your application doesn’t just want to know that you have them, but that you can put them to the test too.

For example: Manning the checkout at a charity shop can give you the confidence to talk to and meet new people, like customers. Whereas playing in the local Netball team can test your team-work and communication skills in order to compete.

Other things universities and employers may want to read are:

  • Your achievements outside of school 
  • Your ability to cope under pressure
  • Your ability to adapt to different situations or a new routine

Of course, there are many ways to gain these soft skills, but sometimes people need a little extra help coming out of their shell. The ability to understand and appreciate how far you’ve come is a skills in itself, most people have achieved far more in life than they realise.

How can Outward Bound help?

If you’re stuck, staring blankly at a screen, or not quite sure what to put when it comes to your application then perhaps it's time to consider an Outward Bound summer adventure.

More than just a summer camp, a summer adventure with Outward Bound can help equip you with a host of positive behaviours; habits and soft skills that are on the top of every employer and universities wish list.

By placing you in unfamiliar environments you'll get to test your grit, confidence and team working skills, so when you're faced with a problem back home, you'll know exactly how to overcome it.

Download our quick guide to writing a stand out personal statement with the Skills for Life Award now.