How do you write a CV for a school leaver?

These can be a tough CV to approach as the backbone of most CVs is a person’s employment, and school leavers don’t tend to a lot of that! When referring to school leaver I’m referring to anyone that has left full-time education, whether that be after GCSEs, 6th Form, College or University.

There are 3 keys areas that need to be focused on:

Education – make sure that all qualifications are listed, including grades, and in reverse chronological order. It’s also important that you sequence them as Qualification, Establishment, Year – that’s the order of importance the reader attaches to them.

Key Skills – what Key Skills does a school leaver have to offer an employer? Well, look at it the other way round and ask “What does an employer want from a school leaver?”. They want someone who can communicate well and isn’t afraid to talk to people in a polite and courteous manner. They want someone who is able to organise their time and their workload without them having to micromanage you. Can you solve problems and take ownership of them? Are you familiar with Microsoft Office and have good IT skills? Finally, are you reliable? employing reliable people who will turn up for work is a key point for most employers.

There will be other skills that you possess but these will be the ones of principal interest to a potential employer. It’s important that you don’t list them just as single words, but rather that you flesh them out a little. For instance:

 Communication – Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, able to quickly build rapport with others.

That tells a story and paints a little picture of you in the mind of the reader.

Extra-curricular

Without work experience you need to highlight the other things you have done whilst growing up. List all the sports you were involved in, charity work, fund raising, scouts, cubs, cadets, etc, etc, and show the reader that you have some life experience.

In conclusion, it’s not easy to write a decent CV for a school leaver but there are things that you can do to make yours stand out from the rest.

Good luck!