When looking to move into the world of work, your CV is your first impression in the recruitment process and your opportunity to display what makes you a strong candidate.

Highlighting all aspects of your educational background as well as the skills and strengths that make you applicable for the industry you are looking to transition into, is key to your success.

Below are the five main aspects you need to be incorporating into your school leaver CV.

Education and qualifications

As a school leaver, your education should be featured heavily throughout your CV. Representing the qualifications you have achieved as well as describing any school projects you have been involved in, examples of coursework completed and including any specific accomplishments from your educational history.

Highlight your education in all aspects of your CV including your personal profile, using this to demonstrate your suitability for the sector you’re applying to and showcasing how you will transfer from an educational to working environment.

Positions of responsibility in school

When applying for your first full time role after school, you may have limited work experience so consider all positions of responsibilities you had whilst in education. Whether you supported with school open days, parent events or if you were a school prefect or champion, document what your duties where and any accomplishments gained through this experience.

Structure these experiences by providing the length of your involvement, any functions you were assigned and any skills or qualities you obtained.


Girl sitting on edge of bed with phone


School teams or clubs

Emphasise involvement in any clubs or teams, documenting your part within that group. Describe the impact and contribution you had to the team, providing any result driven examples.

Consider sports teams, theatre groups or subject specific clubs you participate within and never assume a recruiter’s wouldn’t be interested in a particular club just because it isn’t relevant to the sector you’re applying to work within. Showcase the skills set that the club helped you develop and how this would be valuable to the sector you’re applying to.

Personal passions and interests

Displaying your passions in your CV is essential as this gives a recruiter an insight into what drives you as well as your commitment and ambition.

Even if your interests don’t directly relate to the sector of work you’re applying to, reveal how you can use any experiences or skills gained within the industry you plan to work within. For example, if you have a passion for technology and working on computers then use this to exhibiting skills such as the ability to follow processes, work logically and solve problems.

Transferable skills

Workplace skills aren’t just skills obtained within a working environment, portray the skills you have obtained throughout your experiences in education, placements or extra curriculum activities, explaining how these can transition into a work environment.

Skills such as communication, organisation or team work would be applicable in any role so consider examples where you have demonstrated these abilities and how you can further develop them as you convert into employment.

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV Advice Centre StandOut CV and a regular contributor to sites such as CV Library, The Guardian and Business Insider. Check out Andrew’s School Leaver CV guide with example CV for more guidance in creating your own winning CV.

Share this article

Popular posts