When your weekly pocket money fund has come to an end, you need to find another way to make some income, and that income will often come in the form of a part-time job. But in order for hiring managers to take you seriously and offer you a position, you need a well-written CV to prove your worth.
So, whether you’re looking for a summer job, a part-time gig or even a work placement, you’ll need to highlight your skills and educational achievements in a professional document.
And to make sure you have the very best CV for your first job, we’ve created this handy guide to help you build the perfect teenage résumé that will ensure you secure that position and get a well-deserved paycheque!
1. Begin with Your Career Objective
Your career objective is a critical part of your CV, so you’d do well not to skip it. It’s the perfect opportunity to tell the hiring manager who you are and what it is that you can offer. That said, you don’t need to go into immense detail as you will talk about this further in an interview.
For now, focus on your skills and interests and on how you want to develop them through a work placement or part-time job. For example, you could say: ‘A fashion enthusiast with a passion for pairing garments and identifying emerging trends. Great with customers and eager to develop my skills further by working for a high-street brand’.
2. Keep Your Formatting Consistent Throughout
When it comes to formatting a CV, there is no one right or wrong way. Instead, the key here is to ensure there’s consistency and fluency throughout, something that many teens tend to overlook when creating their first CV.
So, how do you get the formatting right the first time around?
Quite simply, you need to be sure that you use the same font, size and structure throughout. For example, you can set your headers to Arial Bold at 12 points and all other text to Arial at 11 points. And don’t forget about spacing and indentation - according to Resume-Library, the ideal CV should have a 2-point space after a paragraph to improve overall readability.
3. List Your Goals
As a high school student, you probably don’t have too much experience to talk about. What you can do Instead, though, is mention your goals and aspirations. Think about what it is that you want to achieve in life. What do you dream of doing? And what job will help you achieve those goals?
Once you’ve identified the answer to these questions, include them in your summary or within a supporting cover letter. A good example is: ‘I am a 14-year-old student currently completing my GCSEs. I am looking for a weekend job that will teach me discipline, and customer service and transferable skills that will be useful in the future’.
4. Highlight Your Educational Accomplishments
Since you’ll likely have little to no work experience at all, you really need to make your educational accomplishments stand out. Similar to an early-career CV, your educational acheivements should be referenced towards the top of the page, listed from your most recent achievements and working your way back.
If you’re currently preparing for your GCSEs, you can list your predicted grades. Just be sure to show that you’re working towards achieving high grades, which in turn will prove that you’re dedicated and eager to work hard.
5. Include Extracurricular Activities
A great way to boost your CV is to list any extracurricular activities that you were involved in. If you’re a team captain for your high school football club, for example, or if you participated in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, be sure to mention it on your CV.
Furthermore, if you pursue any hobbies outside school (like dancing, acting or learning another language, for example), make sure you include this information, too! It’ll show that you’re eager to acquire additional skills and take on new responsibilities outside your schoolwork.
6. Focus on Your Skills
Besides your achievements, you should let a potential employer know about any special skills you can bring to the table. This could involve computing skills, design or administrative skills, or anything else that you’ve learnt outside the classroom.
Even if you’re a social media whizz who has managed to build a large following, be sure to include this as a skill. Many companies look for young talent who can handle their social media presence and drive a new type of audience to their platform.
7. Include Any Relevant Employment History
As a teen, you most likely won’t have a long list of meaningful work experience, but any experience that you have had will count for something! Even if it’s a job like babysitting, dog-walking or lawn-mowing, each position is valuable in its own right.
When listing these jobs, be sure to expand on the skills that you developed during your employment. For example, underneath ‘mowing the lawn’, you could say: ‘Established a small lawn-mowing business and learnt how to work towards tight deadlines’.
8. Check with Your References First
If you’re going to include references in your CV, be sure to check with them first before sharing their contact details. You wouldn’t want a potential hiring manager to call someone who doesn’t remember working with you now, would you?
Instead, think carefully and only include contacts that can vouch for your abilities. If you’re in high school, you can include a school teacher or an out-of-school instructor as a reference – just make sure it’s not a family member as their bias doesn’t make them a very reliable source for employability.
9. Don’t Include Photos
There’s a lot of confusion on whether you should include a photo in your CV or not, but generally speaking, it’s best to be avoided. Photos not only take up valuable space, but they also distract the reader from the information that you’ve provided.
Additionally, if an employer really wants to know what you look like (which legally shouldn’t be factored into a hiring decision), they can complete a social media search and find one of your online profiles, which is why it’s so important to maintain a professional presence across all platforms!
10. Proofread Your CV
Proofreading is the last and most important step when creating your CV. You don’t want to hand in a CV full of errors, and we all know how hard it is to spot mistakes when you’ve been staring at the same page for hours on end.
To make sure your CV is error free, revisit it after 24 hours and then ask a family member or a trusted friend to look over it, too. They might also be able to offer constructive feedback on its content and overall structure!
Now that you’ve learnt how to create a CV from scratch, it’s time to make your own! Check out the following template to get a general idea of what your CV should roughly look like.
So, now you’re fully equipped with a killer CV, go out job hunting and wow the hiring managers with your professional skills. And don’t forget to keep a few spare copies on you to hand out when you’re out and about; you just never know when you’ll run into a perfect hiring opportunity!
Are there any sections that you’re not sure about? Join in on the conversation below and let us know your thoughts.