Creating a School Leaver CV and What to use it for

At some point during secondary school or college (or most likely both), you’ll be asked to create a CV (or curriculum vitae). Why? What’s a CV for? And why do you really need a School Leaver CV?

You may ask yourself some of these questions and feel like a CV at this stage in your life is a bit unnecessary. After all, you’ll likely have little or no work experience to put on it and might not even have completed your qualifications yet either. So why bother?

Why you need a CV when you’re leaving school or college

There’s plenty of reasons you should spend some time creating a School Leaver CV right now. Here’s just a few:

Learning to create a CV is an essential skill

Writing your CV forces you to start thinking about lots of things – like what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing and what interests you. You’ll learn how to describe your strengths in different ways, give examples of when you’ve used them and consider how they are transferable to other things.

People will start asking you for one

Whether it’s for a college or university application, as part of the interview process for a part-time job or apprenticeship, to help you find volunteer work or work experience, lots of employers and providers will ask for a copy of your CV. Whilst Video Applications are becoming more popular, for now most prefer to have a digital copy for their records.

Once you have one, it’s there for the future

It doesn’t really take long to create a CV and once you have one, you’re all set. It’s a good idea to save it on your phone and multiple devices so it’s there when you need it. You can update it any time or even have a few different versions to use for different things (like one for your Uni applications and another for a part-time Summer job).

CV Templates and what to include

As a school or college leaver, your CV doesn’t need to be more than one-page long (unless you have plenty to say!). Make sure you start with your name and contact details so the person you’ve sent it to knows how to get back to you.

You then need to add in a personal profile. This is 3-4 short sentences that describe your key skills and explain what you’re looking for.

Next, add in your education and qualifications (including the dates, place of study, subjects and any grades if known). You may then want to include any work experience, volunteering or achievements (such as extracurricular activities or awards). Sometimes you may prefer to make a list of 3-4 key skills that you know are relevant for the job or course you’re applying to, and write a short description of how you have demonstrated that skill.

View and download our free CV templates here or, if you’re applying for an apprenticeship, check out our top tips for an apprentice CV

What to use your CV for

Once you’ve created your CV, you can start using this to make applications – to college or university, or to an employer for example. You’ll likely attach it to an online application form or to an email and may need to include a brief covering note, email or introduction to go with it.

This should simply explain the reason for your application, why you are interested in submitting it, any relevant information they should consider and a request to hear back as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to repeat your phone number so they have a quick way to get back to you.

Using Job Boards to find work, apprenticeships or volunteering jobs

You may also want to upload your CV onto job boards like Stockport Jobs Match, CV Library or Total Jobs for example. Rather than applying directly for a job vacancy, uploading your CV onto a job board is a great way to improve your chances of finding work. Here’s why…

You’ll be able to sign up for job alerts

This means you’ll receive an email with jobs that match your search criteria – saving you time and allowing you to apply quickly to multiple opportunities. If you’re looking for something particular (close to where you live, specific hours or in a certain sector), this helps you avoid missing out when new jobs get posted.

You can save your CV (or even multiple versions)

Once it’s uploaded to your account, you can apply for jobs in a couple of clicks whenever or wherever you are. (Plus if you lose your CV, you’ll have a copy stored online!)

Access the hidden jobs market

Finally, employers and recruiters use job boards to search the database for suitable applicants. This means that if you have the skills and experience that match their search criteria, employers will be able to find you and contact you about the jobs they’re recruiting. This is a great way to find out about jobs even before they are advertised elsewhere and access the all-important hidden jobs market.

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