Ensure your CV format is structured to best highlight your unique experience and life situation.

School leaver CV template (text format)

PERSONAL STATEMENT

Personable individual with experience communicating with members of the public to achieve exceptional results for organisations such as the RSPCA. Highly adept at working within a team because of my experience as a secondary school football team captain and Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition leader. Seeking to deploy my communication and interpersonal skills to fill the Junior Customer Service Representative position at DVLA Swansea.

EDUCATION

Ysgol Maesydderwen Secondary School
YSTRADGYNLAIS (20XX–20XX)
A-Levels: Welsh (B), Maths (B), Geography (C)

GCSEs: English (7), Welsh (9), Maths (8), Double Science (5/5), PE (8), Geography (6), History (5), ICT (6), PSHE (5), DT (4)

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Captain, Football Club

  • Led 11+ member football team — including players and subs — on and off the pitch, using leadership skills and strategy skills to win 12 consecutive games against other schools in Powys
  • Contributed to Burton House’s House Cup victory through unparalleled football team success

Duke of Edinburgh Award (Silver Award)

  • Helped 17+ OAPs in the local community with their gardening
  • Collaborated with 5-person team to navigate Ebbw Fach Valley, set up a tent, and cook food for a 3-day, 2-night trek
  • Fundraised £107 for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), 47% higher than other DofE participants
  • Learned to play draughts for DofE skills section

KEY SKILLS

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Orienteering
  • Cooking
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Bilingual (Welsh/English)
  • Gardening
  • Driving licence (category B)

HOBBIES & INTERESTS

  • Football
  • Gym
  • Pub quizzes
  • Gardening
  • Jam making
  • Cars

How to write a good school leaver CV

Before you begin writing, make sure you know how to write a CV in a way that best emphasises your strengths.

If you’re a recent school leaver looking to start work in the UK, you may be wondering how to make a CV with minimal or no work experience — especially if you’re writing your CV as a 16-year-old.

In the rest of this guide, we provide free school-leaver CV examples and writing and formatting tips so you can create an effective school-leaver CV (or sixth-form college-leaver CV) and start applying for teen jobs.

1. Write a memorable school leaver personal statement

Your CV should begin with a personal statement, a 3–4 sentence paragraph outlining your major achievements and professional goals.

As you’re just starting your career, your school-leaver personal statement helps the employer understand what motivates you and why you want the job. It’s a great opportunity to summarise, in your own words, why you’d be a great fit for the opportunity.

If you don’t have work experience, you can talk about relevant accomplishments from:

For example, if you were writing a CV for a job at McDonald’s and have experience helping sell food at school fêtes and cake sales, you might write:

A school leaver CV example showcasing an entry-level applicant's personal statement.
You can write a great school-leaver personal statement without work experience.

This example is effective because it highlights key soft skills that a McDonald’s crew member needs (people skills and customer service) while also giving specific examples of the benefits the applicant can bring to the team if hired.

This sample also includes hard numbers (the number of people at the events). Quantifying your CV’s personal statement is an excellent way to get employers to notice your application because these numbers highlight your capabilities and the level of responsibility you’re ready for.

2. Highlight any relevant experience and skills you have

Adding a relevant experience section to your CV tells the employer in a little more detail about your previous responsibilities and achievements. Once you’ve worked in one or two jobs, this section will become your CV’s work experience section.

Especially as a school leaver, you don’t need work experience to write this part of your CV. You can impress the employer by highlighting your skills, achievements, and education details.

Here are some tips for writing effective CV experience statements:

  1. Focus on your specific skills and accomplishments: Instead of listing general responsibilities, highlight specific skills and achievements on your CV that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example, instead of saying ‘assisted with customer service’, say ‘guided and assisted visitors at my school fundraiser, providing exceptional customer service and achieving a 20% increase in sales’.
  2. Use action verbs: Action verbs — such as ‘developed’, ‘organised’, and ‘produced’ — help make your bullet points more impactful and confidently demonstrate your abilities.
  3. Keep your school-leaver CV concise: Aim for bullet points that are 4–6 lines long to keep your CV easy to read and allow potential employers to quickly scan your application.

To give you an idea of how this section should look, here are two examples from first-job CVs that show how to write a relevant experience entry professionally. The first example shows how to format your skills as experience entries — which is useful if you’ve never had a job.

An example relevant experience entry from a school leaver CV that shows three examples of customer service skills.
You can list skills like work experience on your school leaver CV.

And this second example demonstrates how to format an experience entry if you’ve got some informal work experience or on-the-job training, such as a Year 11 work experience placement.

A relevant experience entry that shows a short veterinary work experience placement and three bullet points detailing the applicant's responsibilities within the role.
List work experience placements, internships, and volunteering like this.

3. Include your education details

Whatever position you apply for, employers will want to see how you did in school.

A CV education section is where you should list your GCSEs, Scottish N5s, or Irish Junior Certs.

If you’ve completed further education, such as A-Levels, Scottish Hires, Irish Leaving Certs, or vocational qualifications, you should add them too. List your highest level of education first, followed by your earlier qualifications.

An example of a school leaver CV's education section
If you have a low grade that you’re embarrassed about, leave that result off.

If you don’t have much relevant work experience or your education is highly relevant to the job, use a professional CV template that puts the education section near the top of the first page.

4. Write a targeted hobbies and interests section

An important tip for writing a good CV as a school leaver is to share what interests and motivates you outside of school.

Your hobbies and interests section on your CV provides a valuable opportunity to highlight your personal interests and activities, which can help to round out your profile and give employers a sense of who you are.

Keep this section concise and relevant to the job by focusing on interests and activities that demonstrate skills or qualities that are valued in the role you want.

For example, if you’re applying for a customer service role, you might mention hobbies that require you to interact often with others (like volunteering or playing a team sport).

Or if you’re applying for a role in a technical field, you could mention any hobbies or interests that demonstrate your problem-solving or analytical skills (programming or playing chess, for instance).

Here’s an example of an applicant’s hobbies and interests section showcasing their interest in a creative role:

An example of a school leaver CV's hobbies and interests section for a candidate applying for a creative role.
Your hobbies and interests reveal more of your character to employers.

5. Look at other school leaver CV examples for inspiration

It can be helpful to look at other school-leaver CV examples to get some ideas while you’re creating your own.

Here are a few tips for finding and using CV examples effectively:

  • Look for CV examples that are related to the field you’re interested in: Find CV examples relevant to your situation, such as student CV samples and CV samples for 16-year-olds.
  • Use the examples as guides, but don’t copy them: You can use CV examples as templates, but ensure you personalise the information to your own experiences and skills.
  • Get creative: Showcase your personality by changing your CV’s layout or format. Try experimenting by downloading pre-formatted blank CV templates with readable fonts and striking (but still professional) colours. Here’s another well-written school leaver CV (from an applicant with some work experience) to help point you in the right direction:
A school leaver CV example on a template with left-aligned orange lines to divide each CV header.
This school leaver’s CV uses a colourful but professional UK CV template.

Download Free CV Example

Your application will be twice as effective if you include a cover letter outlining your strengths and motivations for applying. You can use a cover letter builder to generate a personalised letter in minutes.


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Written by

Seb Morgan

Seb Morgan is a Careers Coach and Digital Content Writer for CV Genius, where he helps job seekers and professionals get more out of their careers. With over 7 years of experience in business and lifestyle journalism, he's written for a stack of careers-focused publications, including Oxbridge Home Learning, Study International, theHRDirector, and Employee Benefit News, and his expertise includes skill development, interview preparation, and CV and cover letter writing. West Midlands born and raised, Seb has since lived, worked, and studied in 4 countries across 2 continents. He speaks 4 languages and has survived job interviews in 3 of them. He currently also freelances as a travel and culture writer. Reach him at [sebastian] @ [cvgenius.com] or via LinkedIn.