How to write a CV for a 16 year old
Crafting the perfect CV may seem daunting, especially when you’re just starting your professional journey at the age of sixteen. However, with the right guidance, you can create an impactful CV that effectively showcases your unique skills, experiences, and potential.
This guide will show you how to write a CV for a 16 year old, providing both good and bad examples to illuminate best practices and common pitfalls.
What format should I use in a CV for 16-year-old?
The format of a CV for 16-year-old should ideally be skill-based or a hybrid model. These CV formats are usually more beneficial for young job seekers who may not have an extensive employment history yet but possess a diverse range of skills and experiences than the traditional reverse-chronological format.
A skill-based format allows you to highlight your abilities and strengths upfront, demonstrating how these can add value to the role you are applying for.
A hybrid CV combines the skill-based approach with a chronological overview of your educational achievements and any part-time jobs or volunteer work you have undertaken.
Remember, a high-quality CV format will enable you to showcase your enthusiasm, potential and readiness to learn.
The structure of a CV for a 16 years old
A CV for 16-year-old typically contains several key sections, each serving a distinct purpose in showcasing your skills and experiences. Below, we’ve outlined the primary sections to include in your CV:
- Contact details/CV header: This includes your full name, contact information, and potentially a professional CV summary or objective.
- Personal statement (optional): This is an opportunity to provide a brief overview of who you are, your career objectives, and why you are a strong candidate for the job.
- Work experience (optional): This includes any part-time jobs, internships, or volunteer work you’ve undertaken.
- Education: Here, you document your educational background, including your school name and any remarkable academic accomplishments.
- Skills: A section dedicated to highlighting your skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Extracurricular activities (optional): A place to highlight any sports, clubs, or other non-academic activities you’ve participated in, demonstrating your interests and personal development.
These sections make up the fundamental structure of a CV for 16-year-old, and you can visualise them below.
What to put in a CV header
The CV header should include basic personal and contact information. It typically consists of your full name, home address, email address and optionally, your phone number. For example:
123 Baker Street, London, UK | firstname.lastname@example.org | Optional: 01234 567 890
Tip: Avoid using quirky, informal, or outdated email addresses which may form a negative impression. Instead, use a simple combination of your first and last names. Additionally, opt for a reputable email provider such as Gmail or Outlook for a professional appearance.
Personal statement examples for 16 year olds
Located right after your contact details, the personal statement in a CV is a concise summary of your skills, experiences, and career goals. It’s your chance to make a great first impression and attract the attention of potential employers. Your CV personal statement should be tailored to each job application, highlighting why you’re the best candidate for the position.
I am a highly motivated and hard-working individual with excellent communication and teamwork skills. I have gained valuable experience in customer service through volunteer work at a local charity shop, where I developed a strong understanding of handling customer queries and maintaining a positive store environment. I am now seeking a retail position to further enhance these skills and contribute to a dynamic team.
I’m looking for a job because I want to earn some money. I’ve done some volunteer work at a shop in the past. I like to work with people and I think I’m good at it.
How to list work experience (or lack of)
Work experience is a valuable section in a CV as it demonstrates your practical understanding of a workplace and can showcase skills such as teamwork, responsibility, and time management. However, it’s important to remember that for a 16-year-old, a lack of previous jobs is not a barrier to creating an effective CV.
Employers understand that at this age, you may not have had the opportunity to work in a formal setting yet. Therefore, they aren’t so much interested in your work history but rather in your potential, willingness to learn, and transferable and interpersonal skills that you may have developed through school, extracurricular activities, or volunteering.
Volunteer, Local Food Bank, Townsville, June 2020 – Present
- Assist with sorting and packaging food donations for distribution.
- Developed strong organisational skills and learned to work effectively in a fast-paced team environment.
- Did some (not so) voluntary work at my uncle’s café.
Sum up your education for employers on a CV for a 16 year old
The education section of your CV is particularly important when you’re 16 years old as it likely represents the bulk of your life experience to date. In this section, you should include your most recent education information, including school name, years attended, expected graduation date and any noteworthy accomplishments such as awards or high grades.
Moreover, subjects where you’ve achieved good grades can demonstrate your strengths and interests. Any extra courses or workshops you’ve attended that are relevant to the job can also be included.
Townsville High School, Townsville,September 2016 – Present
- Pursuing GCSEs in English, Mathematics, Science, Business Studies, and Spanish.
- Current predicted grades are all above B.
- Received the ‘Student of the Year’ award for academic excellence in 2020.
- Completed a weekend workshop on ‘Digital Marketing Basics’.
- Studying at a local high school.
- I have good grades.
Even at 16, the education section of your CV can help you stand out by showing your dedication, commitment to learning, and areas of knowledge. It paints a picture of who you are as a student, which helps employers envision you as an employee.
Showcasing your skills in a CV for 16 year old
The skills section is a crucial part of a first CV. It highlights your abilities that are relevant to the job and shows potential employers that you have what it takes to succeed in the role, despite your limited work experience. You can include both hard skills – such as computer literacy, technical skills, or any language skills – and soft, interpersonal skills like communication, problem-solving, or teamwork.
- Teamwork: Acquired strong teamwork skills through participation in the school basketball team, leading to improved communication and collaboration.
- Communication: Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with a diverse range of people while volunteering at a local charity shop.
- Problem-Solving: Regularly faced and overcame challenges while participating in the school’s science club, honing my skills.
- Good at sports
- Can talk to people
- Can solve problems
Here are some top skills that can add value to a 16-year-old’s CV:
- Communication: Ability to express thoughts clearly and effectively.
- Teamwork: Ability to work effectively with others to achieve a common goal.
- Problem-Solving: Ability to identify and overcome challenges.
- Time Management: Ability to use time effectively and efficiently.
- Adaptability: Ability to cope with and adapt to changes.
- Positive Attitude: Ability to stay positive and motivated, even when faced with challenges.
Remember, the key is to provide evidence for each skill you list. If possible, relate it to a real-world example when you demonstrated the skill.
Extracurricular activities can demonstrate a variety of soft skills, including leadership and teamwork. This can include clubs, sports, music, drama, or any other relevant hobbies or activities participated in outside of school.
- Debate Club Member, Townsville High School, September 2019 – Present
- Regular participation in local and regional debates, enhancing my public speaking and critical thinking skills.
Additional sections on a CV for a 16 years old
Additional sections on a CV can provide a unique glimpse into your personality and interests, setting you apart from other candidates. Let’s explore three of the most popular additional sections that can further enhance your CV.
For a 16-year-old, volunteering experience can be an excellent way to showcase important skills and experiences. This can include community service, charity work, or volunteering at local events.
- Event Volunteer, Local Charity Run, Townsville, May 2021
- Assisted in setting up and managing the registration desk, honing my organisational and communication skills.
If you speak more than one language, it’s worth including a language section in your CV. Multiplicity of languages can demonstrate cultural awareness and adaptability, and may be particularly appealing to employers with an international presence.
- Spanish: Intermediate (B1)
- French: Basic (A2)
Writing a cover letter to go with your 16 year old CV
A well-crafted cover letter can significantly enhance a CV for 16-year-old by providing a platform to elaborate on the skills, attributes, and experiences in a more personal and engaging manner.
This personal touch can impress recruiters. Your cover letter also allows you to explain why you are interested in the job, how your abilities align with the job requirements, and why you would be an asset to the company, despite your limited work experience. It’s an opportunity to tell your unique story in a way that convinces the employer that you are the best candidate for the job.
From highlighting your enthusiasm for the role to showcasing your potential, a cover letter can make a significant difference in lending more credibility to your CV and boosting your chances of getting a new job.
Find below a sample cover letter tailored for a 16-year-old applicant that conveys enthusiasm, competence, and commitment, despite the lack of extensive work experience.
CV for 16 year olds – top tips
- Be honest: It’s crucial to be truthful about your experiences and skills. Exaggerating or lying could lead to problems down the line, especially if an employer decides to check your references or credentials.
- Focus on your achievements: Whether it’s an award at school, a significant project, or even a personal accomplishment, highlighting these can demonstrate your potential to employers.
- Tailor your application: Adjust your CV to fit the specific job you’re applying for. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the role.
- Proofread: Ensure your CV is free of spelling and grammar errors. These mistakes can give a bad impression to potential employers.
- Keep it concise: As a rule, your CV should fit on one page if possible, and be no longer than two A4 pages if not. Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity.
What to avoid in a CV for a 16 year old
- Being vague: Avoid generic phrases or statements that do not provide concrete information about your skills or experiences. Be specific and detail-oriented about your achievements and roles in various activities.
- Including irrelevant information: Every piece of information on your CV should serve the purpose of showcasing your suitability for the job. Avoid including irrelevant personal information or experiences that do not contribute to this narrative.
- Using unprofessional language or formatting: Your CV is a professional document. Avoid using slang, abbreviations, or casual language. Additionally, maintain a clean, easy-to-read format and font.
- Neglecting to mention interpersonal skills: While you may lack professional experience, you likely have developed soft skills like teamwork, communication, or time management through school and extracurricular activities.
- Sending without a second review: Errors and typos can significantly detract from the professionalism of your CV. Avoid sending your CV without proofreading it or having someone else review it for errors.