This is a standard part of any job application and helps employers gain an idea of what skills you might bring to a role. A CV needs to be easy to read and cover some essential subjects, but you can format it to suit your needs if you fancy.
Of course, you might be wondering: ‘but if I’ve just left school, what do I have to put on a CV?’. Where here to tell you that there’s still plenty that can prove to employers you have what it takes to take on an apprenticeship and succeed!
It doesn’t have to be lengthy, a page of your top qualities is enough to impress, so have some confidence! Take a look at our tips below on how to perfectly put together your school leaver CV.
This is a really important part of any CV, but especially if you’re trying to sell yourself without heaps of experience. The personal statement is about setting out the key skills that’ll make you an excellent employee right away. Include a few key details about the qualities you have and the role you’re looking for and why. It should be no more than 100 words or just a few sentences.
Tailoring this part to the role will also help you stand out. This might be a bit of a pain to do every time, but will let an employer know you’ve spent time thinking about the position and how you can fit in. To structure your statement, include a bit about who you are, what skills you have to offer, and what you’re aiming to achieve in your career from the apprenticeship.
See below for an excellent example:
“A recent school leaver with a good academic record and experience in customer service from part-time work. GCSEs in English and Maths, and an active member of clubs and societies, I am confident interacting with the public, managing my own time, as well as working independently and as a team. Strong communication skills and my friendly outlook make me well-suited to a role within hospitality. Currently seeking a Front of House Team Member Apprenticeship to develop my skills further and progress within a role.”
If you don’t have much work experience, you might want to include the details of your education higher up on your CV. If you’re applying for an apprenticeship, this has the added bonus of allowing a recruiter or employer to see which level of qualification might be the most beneficial to you. after all, if you’re just leaving school, they aren’t expecting you to have LOADS of experience.
You should list your qualifications from GCSE level onwards. Just state the number you have and general grades you received, or at least what you received for English and Maths. For example, “9 GCSEs 4 – 9, including English and Maths”.
If you haven’t received these yet, you can just put down your expected results. Even if the course might not seem directly relevant, still include it as it will show that you’re prepared to be involved in the academic element of an apprenticeship!
Focusing on skills you have can be incredibly effective if you have minimal work experience. That’s why making use of your transferable skills is particularly important if you’ve just left school. Though they sound fancy, these are just the abilities which you would have picked up in life – at home, at school, or as part of a hobby.
These skills can be great examples for an employer to see why you may be the perfect fit for a role. Make sure these are tailored to the role you’re applying for. An apprenticeship at a charity might require you to be dedicated and committed to your values, whereas a role with a construction company might expect you to be a team player with good attention to detail.
These are all skills you might have picked up in a sports team at school. Get inventive about how your skills can apply across to the working world. For more ideas, check out our blog on transferable skills here.
This can look a bit different to the ‘typical’ CV. You might want to include any short work experience placements you performed while at school, even if it’s just for a few weeks, it still counts! Also, any online courses or roles you took on at school, like being a Head Prefect or having a position on a school council can look impressive here.
If you do have some experience, great! Make sure to include your job title, name of the organisation, as well as the dates you worked there with a few bullet points that describe your responsibilities. It's important to show what you've gained from your experience, rather than just listing what you did. Relate each point to the skills it enabled you to build or the accomplishments that you achieved from it.
This is a great opportunity to try to be proactive. If you don’t have much work history and you know you’re about to start looking for an apprenticeship, this could be a great opportunity to get a part-time role or volunteering experience to bulk up your CV.
This section is optional but can be nice to include so an employer gets to know you a bit more as a person instead of a simple ‘applicant’ in a sea of many others. Try and avoid anything too general – ideally you can use this section of your CV to boost your skills further. If you include any hobbies, link these back to the skills you have gained that are relevant for the apprenticeship you’re applying to.
For example, if you’re applying for a role in data analytics, mentioning that you do gaming can show that you’re analytical, resourceful, and adaptable. That means instead of just mentioning ‘socialising with friends and going for walks’, mentioning you used to captain your hockey team is a bit more notable for a role that might require teamwork and leadership qualities. You can see more advice about using your hobbies on your CV here.
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