CV examples


School Leaver CV


School Leaver CV

Isabella has selected the Wheaton CV template to showcase her relevant experience for her first full-time job after school. Its simple, one-page format displays work experience, skills and additional experience in a easy-to-read manner.

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"Seeking opportunities to gain valuable work experience and eager to expand skills. Committed to exceptional service as well as able to effectively contribute to team-orientated organisations."

Isabella Bennett - School leaver

School Leaver CV sample

Table of contents

How to Write a Successful School Leaver CV in 2024

Leaving school in the UK and entering the job market can be a challenge. You may have already put considerable effort into job applications with little or no response. If this is the case, knowing how to write a good CV, with limited qualifications or experience, can turn a job application into a job interview.

If you're applying for your first job, looking for school leaver apprenticeships, traineeships, or still figuring out your next steps after 6th form, this guide is for you. Choosing the right CV template as a school leaver and optimising it for application tracking systems (ATS) can be an extra hassle, but it will increase your chances of being shortlisted by hiring manager or recruiters.

Everyone's experience is unique when they leave school. We can help start you career journey on the right foot and stand out from the crowd.

Here’s what we cover in this guide:

  • Key sections of a modern CV for school leavers to include.

  • How to highlight educational achievements and transferable skills over experience.

  • Strategies for gaining relevant experience and skills to enhance your CV.

  • Advice on preparing for the workplace and developing professional skills.

Not sure what's next for you? Read our career advice for school leavers to discover the opportunities that await you!

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School Leaver CV example

School Leaver CV sample

In this school leaver CV sample, Isabella highlights her previous work experience. She has showcased her customer service and language skills to gain a competitive edge. The Wheaton CV template is well-structured, concise, and well-formatted, which looks appealing and is easy to read by recruiters.

Kickstart your career with a winning CV! Use our easy-to-follow guide and templates to create a CV for your first job!

What to include in a school leaver CV?

As a school leaver, you have many opportunities for employment across different fields, such as finance, healthcare, and travel. Even with little to no experience, the scope of opportunities for school leavers is getting wider with industries opening up more entry-level positions. Nowadays, even the NHS is offering school leavers to become doctors through apprenticeships.

Regardless of which job you are applying for, make sure to personalise your school or college leaver CV with these essential sections:

  • Contact details: stay reachable with up-to-date information.

  • Personal profile: summary including soft skills and achievements.

  • Education: list your academic background and qualifications.

  • Work experience: this can include any volunteer experience or part-time work.

  • Skills: highlight what you bring to the table such as technical and soft skills.

  • Achievements: highlight your accomplishments from school projects or related courses.

  • Additional sections:  include hobbies and interests, school projects, awards or language skills.

We recommend creating a master CV that details your professional and academic background. Then, use this to send a job-specific CV and letter of interest to employers.

Must-have sections for a school leaver CV

To discover more opportunities that await you, check out the additional resources listed below:

How to write a CV for a school leaver job in 5 steps

1. How to write a personal profile on a school leaver CV

Start your CV with an attention-grabbing positive, and energetic personal profile CV summary. Introduce yourself and highlight practical qualities like motivation, communication, organisation, and time-management skills, relevant to various roles. Focus on academic achievements, keeping this section to about six lines. Use it not only to reflect your qualifications but also to express your long-term career aspirations.

College leaver CV personal profile tips

A Level CV Personal Profile Example

Energetic and customer-focused school leaver with a passion for delivering exceptional service. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills demonstrated through previous volunteering and a work placement in the retail industry. Strong problem-solving abilities, with the ability to multi-task and manage time effectively. Quick learner, adaptable, and eager to contribute to a customer-centric team. Dedicated to providing positive experiences and building lasting relationships with customers.

Take a moment to explore related CV personal profile examples similar to customer service:

6th form CV with No Experience Education Personal Profile Example

Proactive school leaver with a strong desire to become a Teaching Assistant. Demonstrated leadership through community service and volunteering. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills from public speaking and debate clubs. Proven dedication and strong work ethic with consistent academic achievements. Additional experience includes tutoring, assisting teachers, and participating in mentoring programs. Eager to develop professional skills in education and contribute to a learning environment.

Refer to the tutor or teacher CV example for more inspiration.

School leaver apprenticeship CV Healthcare Personal Profile Example

Passionate school leaver eager to enter the healthcare sector through an Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) after GCSEs. Aspire to train as a healthcare support worker assistant and aim to advance to an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3). Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with experience engaging with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Previous volunteer work at local nursing homes and involvement in community outreach programs have instilled a genuine desire to support and improve the lives of others. Committed to positively impacting individuals’ well-being and pursuing a rewarding healthcare career.

Explore the following CV examples for more insights related to starting your career in healthcare:

College Leaver CV Sports Personal Profile Example

Dynamic and ambitious college leaver with a passion for continuous learning and growth. Eager to embark on a rewarding career journey after completing the BTEC National Foundation Diploma in Sport with distinction. Possessing a strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, and a proactive approach to challenges. Adaptable and quick to learn, with a keen interest in the sports industry. Committed to contributing positively to a team environment while honing my skills and gaining valuable experience.

Explore our range of CV examples tailored to different careers in the sports industry to kickstart your journey:

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2. What skills to put on a school leaver CV?

The skills you put on a CV generally depend upon the job you are applying for. However, there are a number of top skills employers look for. The general rule of thumb is Include a combination of hard and soft skills that covers everything mentioned in the job advert. These skills can be gained from your education, any volunteer experience, as well any personal interests such as photography or music.

Whether you've just finished your A-Levels or graduated with a college diploma, we recommend to opt for a skills-based CV to emphasise relevant abilities and competencies over work experience, showcasing your potential to prospective employers.

School leaver CV sample skills

Customer service skills:

Roles such as waiter/waitress or bartender requires cash handling, product knowledge, and time-management skills. Soft skills such as problem-solving, communication and active listening are important interact with customers, resolve conflicts, and manage transactions.

Administration skills:

An administrative, virtual assistant, data entry or office manager role requires proficiency in tasks like data entry, file management, and appointment scheduling. Strong organisational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to prioritise are crucial. Effective communication, problem-solving, and adaptability are also essential for smooth office operations.

Beauty and wellness skills:

If you writing a CV for a job within the beauty industry such as hairdresser, beauty therapist or make-up artist, showcase your any expertise in hair styling, skincare treatments, or makeup application. Excellent customer service abilities, creativity, attention to detail, and effective communication skills are just as important for this type of role.

Computer technology skills:

If you're applying for tech-related jobs, such as a developer or prompt engineer, key skills include knowing basic programming languages like Python or HTML, understanding IT basics, being eager to learn, solving problems, paying attention to details, and communicating well.

3. How to write work experience on a school leaver CV

Writing a CV as a school leaver may seem daunting if you have no work experience. If the experience you have is not directly relevant to the job you are applying for, it can still show your dedication, eagerness to learn, and motivation. Try to include any after-school or weekend jobs as well as any work placements during your college or school studies.

Here are tips for creating a CV for school leavers with no work experience:

  • Choose the right format: opt for a skills-based CV or functional CV template to show your strengths and qualifications from education or volunteering.

  • Highlight education: focus on your academic achievements, relevant coursework, projects, and extracurricular activities.

  • Incorporate keywords: tailor your CV by including keywords from the job description, ensuring it aligns with what employers are looking for.

  • Use strong action verbs: demonstrate your accomplishments and elevate your professional profile, captivating potential employers.

  • Showcase transferable skills: mention teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. Demonstrate how you can apply these skills with examples.

  • Keep it professional: use simple design elements to enhance readability. Ensure your CV is clean, organised, and visually appealing with a consistent format.

School leaver CV work experience format tips

Work experience CV examples

Apprentice, Ground Construction, Manchester, UK, 2021-2022

Gained hands-on experience in construction, assisting with various building projects under the guidance of skilled professionals. Developed technical skills in tool handling and materials management, while learning safety protocols and industry standards. Demonstrated strong work ethic and eagerness to learn, contributing effectively to team goals.

  • Enhanced practical construction skills through active participation in projects.

  • Received positive feedback for punctuality and dedication to learning industry practices.

Refer to the following related job types for more work experience examples:

Barista, Bean Scene Café, Brighton, UK, 2020-2021

Prepared and served a variety of coffee and tea beverages, maintaining high standards of customer service and product quality. Managed cash transactions, handled payments and maintained the cleanliness of the café. Developed excellent interpersonal skills interacting with diverse customers and contributed to a friendly atmosphere. 

  • Learned coffee-making techniques, contributing to increased customer satisfaction.

  • Demonstrated strong time-management skills in a fast-paced environment.

  • Acknowledged by management for support and professionalism in customer interactions.

Explore similar roles within hospitality for more work experience examples:

Retail Customer Service Representative, Book Haven, Liverpool, UK, 2023- present

Supported the retail operations at a busy bookstore, assisting customers in locating books and handling transactions. Provided information on promotions and store events. Contributed to inventory management and organised displays, ensuring the store was organised and welcoming for customers.

  • Used effective sales techniques to engage customers on the shop floor.

  • Recognised for teamwork and ability to handle peak hours efficiently.

If you are looking for more specific work experience examples, explore these CVs:

Shop and Fundraising Volunteer, Mind Charity, London, UK, 2019-2020

Collaborate effectively with a diverse team to organise and execute fundraising events. Engage and interact with team members, beneficiaries, and visitors, demonstrating strong communication skills. Assist with event preparation, participate in training sessions, and contribute to a positive work environment. Motivate fellow volunteers, maintain morale, and provide customer support.

  • Successfully raised £800k through collaborative fundraising efforts, contributing to the charity's financial goals.

  • Assisted with implementing an efficient event planning system, resulting in a 10% increase in event productivity.

  • Received recognition from the charity for outstanding customer service skills.

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Pro Tip

If you have no work experience, use this gap as an opportunity to be proactive. Try volunteering with a local charity or business to gain some experience.

For more tips on this section, refer to our article on how to write work experience on a CV.

4. Education section on a school leavers CV: How to include it?

Including all relevant information about your education is essential, as this section often takes priority if you have little to no work experience. When adding education to your CV, you should include the following:

  • Name of your school or college

  • Year of attendance

  • Grades awarded from GCSEs, A Levels (England), or Highers (Scotland)

  • Any special awards you may received.

  • If applicable, add any other activities you participated in, such as sports teams, clubs or community volunteer work.

Make sure you keep this section brief and concise. If your school grades are particularly relevant to the job you are applying for, it may be worth expanding on them. Such as including your A Maths GCSE if you are applying for a bookkeeper role.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • List your most recent grades first such as GCSEs or Highers or BTECS.

  • Only include relevant education, such as GCSEs or A Levels, school name, and date. If you studied your GCSEs and A Levels at the same school, list them in one entry.

  • If you are still a student, you can put predicted grades on your CV.

School leaver CV education format tips

How to format education your CV with examples

A-levels, BTEC, and NVQ:

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

[Qualification] [Subject Name 1], [Subject Name 2], [Subject Name 3]

St. Andrews, Manchester, UK, 2016-2018

Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science


[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

[n] GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

Solihull High, Birmingham, UK, 2014-2016

10 GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

Scottish Highers:

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

Highers: [Qualifications]

N5s: [Qualifications]

Crest Peak School, Edinburgh, 2015–2020

Highers: Maths (A), Physics (B), Chemistry (A), Computing Science (A)

N5s: English (C), Maths (A), Geography (B),  (A), Chemistry (A), Computing Science (B)

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Pro Tip

We recommend gathering references from your school teachers, tutors, or career counsellors. Add these details to your master CV and use your references if requested during an interview.

For extra guidance on this section, refer to our article about how to write education on your CV.

5. Enhance your CV with additional sections 

Enhancing your CV with additional sections can significantly improve your chances of standing out to potential employers and getting your desired job. If you have the relevant information to add your CV, we recommend to include the following sections.

How to list courses and certificates on a school leaver CV 

Courses and certificates can show your potential, especially if you have yet to gain experience. If you’re targeting a specific industry or role, take a specialised course to develop your knowledge and skills. For more inspiration, find a course with the National Careers Service relevant to your career goals.

Courses and certificates CV examples for a 16-year-old CV

  • First Aid Certification, St. John Ambulance, 2021 

  • Health and Safety in the Workplace, Online Training Institute, 2020 

  • Digital Marketing Fundamentals, Google Digital, 2019 

  • Introduction to Coding, Codecademy, 2018.

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Pro Tip

Looking for courses can help you reach your career goals faster. Research the job requirements and determine if a course could leverage your application. Consider taking an online course if you would prefer to gain a certificate at home.

How to list hobbies and interests on a school leaver CV

Choose activities that align with your skills, interests, and career goals. Ensure you keep your hobbies and interests section relevant and professional. Focus on highlighting transferable skills employers list in job descriptions, such as teamwork, organisation, creativity and attention to detail.

School leaver CV examples for hobbies and interests include: 

  • Music

  • Gaming 

  • Volunteering 

  • Writing and blogging 

  • Chess and strategy games 

  • Travel

  • Cooking

  • Singing and dancing.

If you have interests such as Duke of Edinburgh or volunteering, you can include them in a separate section under the heading 'Additional experience' to allow for further elaboration.

School leaver CV template

How to include references

At the end of your CV, consider adding a references section. You can list teachers, sports coaches, or leaders of any groups you’ve been involved in who can speak positively about your character and work ethic. Add these details to your master CV and use references if requested during an interview.

School leaver CV references format

Key takeaways

Follow this guide to crafting a well-written CV and cover letter to make finding a job less of a job. With this guide, we can help bridge the gap between schooling and professional employment, even without work experience. Navigating the current job market and calming pre-interview nerves is much easier if you have a professional CV for school leavers that includes transferable skills, achievements and relevant experience.

Next steps?

If you need some additional help, explore our CV Writing Service to save time. Our team of experts can assist in crafting a professionally polished school leaver CV tailored to your career goals. Need some more help with your job application? Learn the best tips for writing a cover letter with little to no experience. Explore our blog for more ideas on how to track your job applications and templates for sending your CV via email.


Do school leavers need a CV?

Yes, you need a CV if you want to apply for a job. The applications requirements can vary depending on the type of job you are applying for but it's always beneficial to provide potential employers with a snapshot of your skills, education, and work experience. From your CV, they will be able to determine if you are a good fit for the role.

How long should your school leaver CV be?

In general, your CV should be no longer than two pages. For a school leaver CV, one-page is enough. Avoid unnecessary details and only include relevant information, such as your education, transferable skills, and any relevant experience or achievements. Remember to use clear, concise language and highlight key points effectively. Learn more about CV length.

How much do school leavers earn?

The earnings of school leavers in the UK can vary widely depending on factors such as the type of job, industry, location, and level of education or qualifications obtained. National minimum wage depends on when you leave school. If you are under-18, you can earn up to £6.40 per hour and above-18 is £8.60 per hour. If you are looking for a part-time student job or considering your next steps, explore the best jobs for students to help guide you in your career choices!

What not to include on a school leaver CV?

You might find yourself adding irrelevant information to your CV to make up for a lack of experience or skills. Try not to overthink it. In general, it's good practise to only focus on the important details and not include anything that could be considered unnecessary. We recommend to avoid the following:

  1. Avoid including personal details such as your date of birth, marital status, or nationality, as these are not relevant to your qualifications or suitability for the job.

  2. You don't need to include references on your CV. Instead, you can provide them separately if requested by the employer.

  3. While it's fine to include hobbies or interests that demonstrate relevant skills or qualities, avoid listing unrelated or generic hobbies that do not add value to your application.

What is the best CV template for a school leaver CV?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the best school leaver CV UK template. It ultimately depends on your personal style and the job you're applying to. We recommend a clean and professional template with a clear structure.

How to add work projects to a school leaver CV?

Adding work projects to your CV is a practical way to showcase their relevant skills in a practical context. Include educational projects completed in secondary school for GCSEs or A Levels (England), Highers (Scotland), if relevant to your job application. We recommend adding work projects from school in your education section or additional experience.

How to write a CV for a 16-year-old school leaver in the UK?

Writing your CV as a 16-year-old school leaver can be challenging. Focus on emphasising your educational background and any transferable skills you’ve developed. Since you might not have work experience or a GCSE certificate, it's important to highlight other strengths and competencies.

How to write a CV for a 16-year-old school leaver with no experience?

Writing your CV as a 16-year-old school leaver can be challenging. We suggest using a skills-based approach focusing on key skills and core competencies. Bring them to the top of the document instead of your employment history. Ensure the details are concise, easy to read, and relevant to the job you are applying to.

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