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A CV for a Teenager

By: Garry Pierrepont - Updated: 7 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
Cv Teenager Job Employers Skills 17

The summer is approaching and you have just finished your GCSEs. You hope you will be successful, and will attend sixth form college next year, take ‘A’ levels, and eventually pass them and go to university. Getting a job might not be easy, but, armed with a degree, you should have a better chance.

Your wistful thoughts fade away, and you realise summer is approaching and you’ve got virtually no money. Pocket money isn’t enough; you want to enjoy your summer! You need a job. Smartly dressed, hair neatly combed, you walk, head held high, into your local supermarket and ask a supervisor if there are any jobs. She tells you that, yes, there might be – just leave your CV with her and she’ll be in touch. CV?

Yes, even teenagers of 16 and 17 need a Curriculum Vitae these days. The literal meaning of curriculum vitae is ‘course of life’. At 17, you really haven’t had much course of life at all, have you? CVs tend to be filled with two pages of skills, achievements, previous jobs and the like. At 17, yours could be fairly empty.

What Should Teenagers Put on Their CV?

Let’s be clear, employers are not going to expect a long history of jobs from a 17-year-old. What they will be looking for is some indication that they are going to get someone who is keen, sensible, likely to carry out the tasks they're set, and not cause more trouble than they’re worth!

A CV is a chance to promote yourself as a person someone else would like to employ. Many teenagers are a little reluctant when it comes to promoting themselves, but that’s what you have to do.

Questions like: “What can you do?”, “What do you like to do?”, “Where do you like to go?” are likely to feel like prying to them and be met with answers like: “Nothing”, “Dunno” or “Nowhere”. So what can a teenager say in a CV?

Have a think about these points:

  • What do you enjoy doing at school? No, not nothing! If you don’t have a favourite subject, then it’s usually easiest to enjoy what you are good at. So what’s your best subject? Art, PE? No problem. “I’m interested in art”; “I enjoy taking part in sport”. If you like geography, say so.
  • What clubs are you a member of at school? The answer to this may indeed be none. However, have you ever been in a club at school? Have you ever been on a committee (e.g. the Prom committee)? Have you been a prefect, or a monitor of some sort?
  • What trips have you been on? Calais, Isle of Wight, London, the local museum, the nearest Roman villa? Most school children go on a trip or two while at school. Get them written down.
  • What do you enjoy doing outside of school? Not nothing! How about: playing football, playing computer games, watching Eastenders, socialising with your mates. Some of these are a good start point. Translate into: member of the school/local football team; interested in computers; enjoy TV drama; member of local youth club. Only ever tell the truth however; if you’re not a member of a club, don’t say you are.
  • Where have you been with your family? Have you been on holiday abroad? If so, what did you find interesting (apart from the sun and the pool!)? You’ve probably been on days out with your family. Where did you go? What did you enjoy?

The point is to try and draw out things from your experiences that may be of interest to a potential employer. No, it’s true: they’re not particularly interested that you’ve been to the Isle of Wight. However, they are keen to see that it was of some interest to you, and what you enjoyed and what you learnt. That may be a person they could use in their business.

Transferable Skills to Add on Your CV

Think of the general skills you have. Everyone has got them. What do people compliment you on? What do they say you’re good at? Are you good with numbers? Can you draw? Are you a good listener? Are you a quick learner? Can you solve problems well? Can you communicate well – either written or verbally? Do you work better on your own or in a team?

Ambitions, Goals and Future Dreams

As a youngster, you may not have a great deal of history to talk about… but you have a long future to think about. What are your ambitions, your aspirations? What do you dream of doing or becoming? What do you hope to achieve? Will the job you’re going for help you reach your goals?

CV Layout and Sections

The layout and accuracy of your CV is important. Get an adult – your parents, your teacher – to read it, and make sure it’s error-free. There’s nothing more off-putting than a CV filled with incorrect spellings and bad English.

Try these sections headers:

  • Personal Details
  • Education (to date, and your next step)
  • Skills and Achievements
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • Objectives and Ambitions
  • References (adults who know you and can vouch for you)

Graduate CVs

If you have just graduated from university and are looking for a job, read our feature How to Write a Graduate CV for help and guidance on creating a winning CV.

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[Add a Comment]
As son is still revising for GCSE's, thought I'd reccie a few sites to get the ball rolling for him.This site is helpful and friendly without being patronising, and talks a lot of sense.This is the one I'll send him to!
joya - 7-Nov-17 @ 8:36 AM
Kac - Your Question:
Im trying to write my CV now how am I supposed to start talking about my education?

Our Response:
The article: Writing Your First CV may help here. Also, Google images here will give you some basic templates and formatting styles that may be applicable to you.
GreatCVs - 27-Jul-17 @ 12:02 PM
Im trying to write my CV now how am i supposed to start talking about my education?
Kac - 25-Jul-17 @ 4:44 PM
Love this, helped a lot! Thank you very much
ani - 17-Oct-16 @ 8:58 PM
demi - Your Question:
This has been so helpful now I know how to write a cv

Our Response:
We are glad it has helped.
GreatCVs - 11-Oct-16 @ 10:42 AM
this has been so helpful now i know how to write a cv
demi - 10-Oct-16 @ 9:17 AM
Mel - Your Question:
This is quoted helpful it's just annoying that my mom never had to write a cv and I have left school so I can't find anyone to help me with the layout and no one to check if Iv done right

Our Response:
If this guidance doesn't help you, there are various free CV templates online that should help you further. Or if you have a friend who has managed to complete theirs, they may let you view what they have done in terms of layout. Your mum, or any other friend or relative may help by checking it over for grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. We all need someone to help us do that! Good luck.
GreatCVs - 26-Jul-16 @ 2:15 PM
This is quoted helpful it's just annoying that my mom never had to write a cv and I have left school so I can't find anyone to help me with the layout and no one to check if Iv done right
Mel - 26-Jul-16 @ 12:40 AM
@charllp - Have you undertaken any part-time work? You could use your employer for this one. Are you a member of any clubs? As the organiser could give you a reference. Even a family friend of your parents may give you a reference.
Jenny - 30-Nov-15 @ 12:37 PM
im not sure how to reference or who even do i put as my reference?
charllp - 29-Nov-15 @ 5:52 PM
this was very helpful, thank you.
Zamo - 23-Jul-15 @ 9:42 AM
@edsmum - we are glad to be of help!
GreatCVs - 29-May-15 @ 10:54 AM
As son is still revising for GCSE's, thought I'd reccie a few sites to get the ball rolling for him.This site is helpful and friendly without being patronising, and talks a lot of sense.This is the one I'll send him to!
edsmum - 26-May-15 @ 4:46 PM
I'm a fast learner, I have good communication skills, I love working with people. I love to work freely not under pressure, I'm able to manage time.
SLAM KID - 14-Jan-15 @ 9:34 PM
Very helpful.Been helping out my younger sister with her cv as she was convinced she had to write out paragraphs for everything! It's really helped
Littlerawer19 - 5-Jan-15 @ 10:49 PM
Thank you so much for giving this information and tips. As a 16 year old with no previous experience of work, this is very helpful in determining what to fill my empty page with.
Lia - 5-Sep-14 @ 12:26 PM
thankyou so much i had never thought about my cv before and so i never new what to put in iti thought your website was quick and easy i will tell me mates about your website as it is very helpful thankyou you helped me alot :):):):):);};};};}
Beth.x - 29-Jul-13 @ 2:25 PM
I'm a teenager and this website was so helpful- i had no idea what to put on my CV but i've now written one. Thanks!
Kate :) - 8-Oct-12 @ 4:40 PM
As an employer, I know that there’s not a great deal teens can put on their CV; they simply haven’t had the chance. What I do appreciate is one who’s put some thought into putting a CV together, and does have interests that can be included. The experience of a paper round is good, as it show commitment, but even involvement in clubs and sports helps.
William - 20-Sep-12 @ 2:55 PM
Loved the website it has been so usfull and i can now get a job<3
Ellie - 16-Apr-12 @ 2:16 PM
This has really helped me understand how and what to put things on my cv, so thank you! :)
Ashley - 5-Feb-12 @ 4:58 PM
Would work experience go under skills and acheivement or would it be best to put it under education?
Em - 14-Jul-11 @ 11:30 AM
Thank you so much, I have been looking for a helpful website like this for ages that takes into consideration my lack of qualifications (atm...!) So thank you for this it was a lot of help! :)
meg - 25-Jun-11 @ 8:26 PM
This website is so helpful! I can now modify my previous CV in order to find myself a job.
Keigh.x - 23-Jun-11 @ 10:43 AM
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