Statistics were released this week about applications for apprenticeships in 2012. The good news is there are plenty of vacancies, the bad news is that there are a lot of people going for each spot. There's no denying that compeition is stiff. So now more than ever it is necessary to make sure you are marketing yourself well, and showing that you are an outstanding candidate that would be an asset to the business you are applying to work for. So how can you stand out from the crowd? Submit better applications There is plenty of help available to make sure you submit a good application. Want to do it yourself? The internet is your best friend! For example, type "improve your job application" into google and away you go! Have a read through all the information and use it to make your applications better. Want to get help and support in writing you application? Contact your local connexions centre or try ringing the council to find an organisation that can help. There's plenty around and they're free for young people to use. Want to speak to someone now? The national careers service have a variety of ways to get in touch with them to ask for advice. Make yourself presentable If you get offered an interview, congratulations! But there's still a lot of hard work to be done. First the easy stuff: Put on your best suit, arrive early having got a good nights sleep. The interview will be designed for you to talk about your achievements, best qualities, experience and other reasons why they should hire you. Make sure you're prepared with good examples to bring up. Research the most common questions online, and write down some bullet points to rehearse what you would answer. Try running through a mock interview with a friend or relative. You'll feel much more confident and prepared for anything they might throw at you. And remember to be yourself and let your personality shine! Interviews are as much about how you will fit in with your colleagues as your skills and experience. We hope these tips help you to start thinking about what you can do to make your applications better. Good luck!