Seven Steps to an Awesome School Leaver’s CV

careers Jul 09, 2018

That’s it! School’s out! For… summer, for… ever!

You might have booked that road trip, that holiday, and planned that EPIC night out. Or maybe, you can’t quite afford it yet. Maybe, you are fired up with passion at the very start of your career.

Because right now, it is time.

Time to enter the real world, find a job, earn some money, and make your mark on the world.

Time to create your first, school leaver’s CV.

Yet, your CV is a very different beast to that of an old man like me at 39. 

I have half a lifetime of work experience to sing about, you, oh dear my sweet summer child… Unless you worked your way through school or college, it might be a little bit lacking.


don't panic school leaver cv

We can make it sing.

Whether you finished your studies at school, college, or university, it’s time to make that CV work for you.


I am going to cheat here a little, as your school leaver CV is going to echo any other CV in many respects.

This is a piece of marketing. A piece of marketing to sell you to your potential employer. A piece of marketing with the sole purpose of getting you an interview.

That means it needs to look good, it needs to have correct spelling, it needs to scream: “Employ me because I am great at these things, these things that you want”.

Grammarly is awesome and free, it comes highly recommended by CfG.


Yours, dear school leaver, also needs to say: “Also I’m willing and eager to learn new things”.

young puppy school leaver cv
Young pups learn the best new tricks. You tell ’em.

And depending on your experience your school leaver CV needs to say these things on either 1 or 2 sides of A4.


The 7 Steps To The Best School Leaver CV… EVER!

Don’t get tripped up by trying to bulk it out, here’s all that needs to go in:

1 – Personal Details – Your name and contact details, pretty bloody important if they’re going to be able to contact you and let you know that you’ve got an interview.

2 – Personal Statement – Tailor this to every job you apply for. EVERY JOB. Essentially you are answering three questions in your statement – Who are You? What can you offer the employer? What do you want in terms of career goals?

3 – Skills – THIS IS IMPORTANT. Anyone with minimal work history needs to emphasise the skills they’re bringing to the party (I really want to make a Mario Party joke but this is too important for japes and tomfoolery).

Anything relevant to the job goes inhere; Word, web design, organisation, communication, public speaking, typing, graphic design, social media…. – what will help you get THIS job? Tweak it for every job.

4 – Education & Qualifications and/or Training – In reverse chronological order, so that’s the most recent at the top. Go back as far as your GCSEs. If you’ve done training for a job, add that here too.

5 – Volunteering – OH, THEY LIKE THIS! Voluntary work shows that you are a good, decent, sort. That you are willing to help others, your community.

Voluntary work can wash away a few sins on your report card.  

6 – Employment History – If you worked your way through education, bump this one to the top of the list. For most school leavers, this won’t have a huge amount in, so move it down. If it’s super relevant to the job you’re applying for, move it up!


They imply ‘drinking and drug-taking’ and they may fear the tell-tale bleary red eyes on a Monday morning where the quality of work drastically dips. Not that I’m talking from experience…

But! Your blogging or social media, your social and interest groups (creative? sporty? musical?) and do you read a lot about certain topics – again, think what will help you get THIS job or internship? Tweak it for each application. 

If the job requires making things, winning that cosplay competition may be relevant. If the job involves writing, your blog may be relevant. If the job involves customer service, volunteering for that convention may be relevant. 

And that’s about it!

See more details in our in-depth ‘How To Write A CV’ for more guidance on each of these sections, and I’ll talk about personal statements a bit more soon – for they are tricksy beasts.


Grab a free guide on how to grow your stream or podcast from scratch. Or perhaps a guide on creating your social media content?

Check Out Our Free Guides!