How to write a CV for a 16-year-old
No matter what kind of job you're looking for or how old you are, you have to have some form of a resume or CV. At its most basic, it makes filling out job applications easier.
At more advanced levels, it helps you get better jobs, both in terms of pay and hours. Resumes come in three basic forms: functional, chronological, and combination. We'll focus on the functional resume/CV since at 16 your job experience might be limited.
So you need a CV
Before you sit down at the computer to start writing your resume/CV, you need to be sure you have all the information you might need. This includes where and when you have worked, school activities (including and especially offices you have held in clubs) and dates, and any hobbies and interests you have. These can translate into work experience. Given UK law, It's likely that this will be your first job so you should focus on responsibilities at school.
Now you have the information you need and you're ready to write your resume. Some word processing programs, like Microsoft Word, have resume templates you can use. That's fine, as long as you realise you probably won't use all of the headings they include and might even add some of your own. For now, just open a blank document. At the top of the page, type your name, address, and phone number. Put each part on a new line, so it would look like this:
Susie Smith 123 N Abc Rd. Nowheresville, OK 55555
Centre it on your page.
Depending on who you ask, some people recommend including an objective on your CV. You don't have to do this, but if you do, it should look like this:
OBJECTIVE: To work in an office environment to use my word processing skills.
Or like this:
(centred) OBJECTIVE (not centred) To work in an office environment to use my word processing skills.
One disadvantage of using an objective is this: If the job you're applying for is filled, the employer might think you wouldn't be interested in a different one in the same company because you put that objective on the top of your resume.
It's up to you whether or not you want to use it.
After you've made your decision about using an objective or not, you're ready to get into the meat of the CV. At 16, the chances are pretty small that you have much work experience. This is where your hobbies and interests come in. Your heading is "EXPERIENCE" and can be either centred or on the left.
Look at everything you do and are interested in. What is there that you can use in your resume?
Suppose you are on the school newspaper. You help with laying the paper out, writing articles, and gathering information to include in the paper. Sometimes you even take pictures.
Start typing what you do. You can put it into different categories later. For example, you would start with:
Wrote articles for school newspaper. Assisted in reporting school news. Assisted in layout and design of the school paper. Edited articles as needed. *Photographed school events for inclusion in the paper.
Look at all of the groups you are in and do the same for each one of them. When you are done, you can break them down into categories so it doesn't look like your mom's grocery list.
(underlined) Office/Clerical: (not underlined) Assisted in collating copies for teachers. Operated office copy machine. *Entered data into Microsoft Excel.
(underlined) Writing/Editing: (not underlined) Wrote articles for school paper. Edited articles as needed. *Assisted in layout and design of school paper.
Your next heading is "Clubs/Organisations." Follow the formatting for this as you did the "Experience" section. All of your headings should look the same. What clubs are you in? It doesn't matter if they're in school or not. Everything counts. List them in reverse order with most recent first. It's OK to go back a couple years, but you don't want to go back to middle school or earlier.
Did you serve as an officer in any of these clubs? Your next section should be "Positions Held." List all the offices you've been in through your school and extra-curricular activities.
If you have had a job before, include a heading for "Previous Job Experience" and list your job title, company where you worked, city and state, and dates. Your job duties should already be listed under "Experience" above.
There is one more section. "Education."
Since you're still in school, this should be last on your resume. It should look something like this:
Nowheresville Grammar School Nowheresville, Manchester GCSEs: pending 2013
Now your resume is finished. How long is it? It should be only one page. If it's longer than that, look at it and see where you can trim it. Perhaps there are some clubs/organisations that you included when you were in middle school or some experience you included that doesn't really apply to a job setting. Take them out. Keep doing that until you get to one page. Double check your spelling before your print it.
- Don't rely on spell check to catch all of your mistakes. Sometimes a misspelled word is spelt correctly but is not the one you need. Don't use "I" on your resume. The "I" is understood. Use active verbs that show you were involved and not just an observer.
- Never include your age or birth date on your resume/CV. All an employer needs to know is that you are legally old enough to work. Other than that, they cannot use your age as the only reason not to hire you. If age is the only reason, it's discrimination and illegal.
- Computer with word processor (such as Microsoft Word)
- List of hobbies
- List of school activities
- List of interests
- List of previous jobs