Write a retail CV that’ll get interviews coming at you like a customer stampede on Black Friday. Here’s how.
You’re probably reading this because you’re 16 and looking for your first job. I’ve been there and I remember it well. It was confusing, unfamiliar and downright scary at times. I had no idea how to write a CV and even less idea how I could get any job with no experience.
The one thing I didn’t have was a clear and straightforward guide to writing a CV for a 16-year-old. But you’re in luck, because that’s exactly what I’ve created for you here.
Read on and you’ll see a CV example for 16-year-olds you can adjust and make yours. Plus, you’ll learn an easy formula for writing a CV for jobs for 16-year-olds that will land you 10x more interviews than any other CV template for 16-year-olds out there.
Here’s a CV for a 16-year-old made with our builder.
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Sample CV made with our builder—See more templates and create your CV here.
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Sample CV for 16 Year Old Template
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Mature and hard-working first year A-level student seeks part-time employment in supermarket retail. Enthusiastic, with an appetite for hard work and a team player mindset gained through my passion for sporting pursuits. Looking to gain hands-on experience in a busy retail environment.
A-levels: Chemistry, Mandarin, Economics. September 2019–June 2021 (expected graduation date)
South Haringay Comprehensive, London, UK
9 GCSEs including Mathematics and English, September 2017–June 2019
South Haringay Comprehensive, London, UK
- Team work
- Interpersonal communication
- Time keeping skills
- Attention to detail
- Computer skills—G Suite and Python on Raspberry Pi
Hobbies and Interests
- Cricket. Spin Bowler for NW London Amateurs U-16 team.
- Running. Keen participant in various 5k and 10k events including acting as voluntary steward for Park Run.
- Programming. Raspberry Pi aficionado with my favourite projects including a twitter bot and weather station.
Another thing I remember about writing my first CV is that I didn’t really know what a CV is. In fact, I didn’t even know what CV stood for. So here’s a quick explanation in case you have any doubts.
CV is short for curriculum vitae. Your CV contains information about your education, skills and experience that helps employers judge your suitability for a job.
So when you make a job application, you send off your CV, the employer reads it and uses the info you included to decide whether or not they want to interview you.
So that’s the boring part over, now for what you came for.
Here’s how to write a CV for a 16-year-old:
1. Use the Best Format for Your CV for a 16-Year-Old
Interestingly, the number of 16-year-olds in employment today is around half of what it was 20 years ago. And it’s not all down to more people continuing full time education. Most of that fall comes from lower employment levels for 16-year-olds who are at school or college.
That Saturday job is much harder to get than it used to be, so your CV needs to be spot on. Here’s how to make a first impression that’ll get you off on the right foot.
- Choose the best CV format. For a CV for a 16-year- old’s first job, use chronological format. It’s the most common format that every employer is familiar with and it’ll have no problems with the ATS software that scans your application.
- Get your word processor settings right for your CV layout. Page margins should be one inch on each side, text should be left-aligned with no justification and there should be a double space between each CV section. This creates plenty of white space and makes your CV easy to read, helping employers find everything they need.
- Choose a professional CV font. Calibri, Helvetica and Arial all look great.
- Keep your CV short. The best CV length is no more than two pages, and for a 16-year-old you’re best keeping it to one page.
- Unless the job advert says otherwise, save your CV as a PDF to keep your formatting intact.
- Don’t include your photo or any personal info like your date of birth.
Pro Tip: Check your CV for mistakes after you write it. There’s actually lots of people who search ‘how to right a cv for a 16 year old’, and I’m sure you can see the problem there! Use a built-in spell checker, use a writing app like Grammarly and have someone else check your work. You’ll have the added bonus of instantly proving your writing proficiency, one of the top soft skills employers want.
2. Put Your Contact Details in Your CV Header
Your CV header is the very first lines of your CV that contains your contact info. Here’s what to include.
- Your full name
- Phone number
- Email address. And make sure it's a professional looking one based on your name.
There’s no need to include your home address. It’s irrelevant and uses up page space you could use for more important information.
3. Write a Personal Statement for a 16-Year-Old CV
Whether it’s your favourite film or a viral video on YouTube or TikTok, they all have one thing in common. An exciting introduction. This grabs the viewer’s attention and holds it, so they’ll keep watching. That’s exactly what your personal statement for a 16-year-old CV does. It acts as the attention-grabbing intro to the rest of your CV.
3–4 sentences is all you’ve got to make the employer take notice. But don’t let that scare you, just use these three simple questions as your formula and you’ll make them hungry for more.
- Who are you?
- What can you offer to the employer?
- What are your career goals?
Answer these questions differently depending on whether you have any experience or not. If you’re like most 16-year-olds and you have no work experience, then do this.
- Write a list of your skills, strengths and experience. Focus on your education and any extra-curricular activities you participate in, such as sports. Highlight anything that would help you do well on the job you’re applying for.
- Now choose 3–4 items from your list that match up with what’s listed in the job advert. Then combine them with passion for the role, and knowledge about the employer to prove that you’ll be a good fit.
- This is called ‘tailoring’ your CV to the job, and it’s the best way of creating a CV that will get you interviewed.
If you’ve had some work experience already then do this.
- Write a list of all your selling points as an employee. This includes all the experience, skills and abilities you have that make you a ‘must hire’ candidate.
- Then re-read the job description in the advert, list the skills and experience it demands and match these up with 3–4 points from your own list.
- Use these points to write a personal profile tailored to the job you’re targeting
Whether you’ve got experience or not, this section is easier to write if you leave it until last. It’s much faster when you’ve got everything else written and ready to refer to.
Check out this guide for even more tips on how to write your personal profile: How to Write a CV Personal Statement [20+ Examples]
When making a CV in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your CV here.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
4. Include an Education Section
Usually this section would come after your work experience. But on a CV template for a 16-year-old it’s best to put your education first. At this stage of your life it carries more weight than your work history, which is probably pretty thin.
- Include the name of the school you attend, its location, and the dates you attended as in the CV example at the start of this guide. Also include the date you expect to complete your education.
- If you’re currently pursuing your A-levels, list individual subjects.
- For your GCSEs you only need to list Maths and English, many employers look for passes in these subjects as a minimum requirement. But—
- If you completed a GCSE subject that’s directly related to the job you’re applying for, then do mention it.
5. Complete Your Work Experience Section (If You Have Any)
If you have no experience whatsoever then you can just skip this section. However, it’s essential you include any experience you do have. Any sort of work experience at all is a huge plus for a CV for a 16-year-old. Here’s how to do it.
- List your most recent job first and work back in time from there listing any previous jobs if you have any. That’s why this type of CV format is also called reverse chronological.
- For each job, write your job title, the name of the employer, your dates of employment (use “present” as the end date if you’re still working there), then include up to six bullet points describing the job.
- Start each bullet point with a CV action word like assisted, contributed or cooperated to give them added impact.
- Try to include measurable achievements, not just your duties. Don’t just say what you did, prove how well you did it.
- Always tailor your CV work experience section to the description in the job advert. Highlight what the employer is looking for and match your experience to what’s needed.
- Use the CAR (Challenge Action Result) formula to structure your bullet points.
Let me explain that last point in more detail. If you write your bullet points like this it gives them more impact. Take a look at this example.
- Trained and guidednew staff members to ensure excellent customer service was delivered.
There’s a challenge, new staff members don’t know what they’re doing without guidance. There’s an action, training and guiding them. Then there’s a result, the new staff members gave excellent customer service.
Pro Tip: If you want to get some experience then be proactive. It doesn’t have to be paid work. There are plenty of ways too. Try volunteering for a local charity. Check if your school or college organises work experience placements or try the Prince’s Trust. Any experience you can get as a 16-year-old will look good on your CV.
Want even more good CV advice? Check out our guide: 20+ CV Tips and Advice for Job Application Success
6. Show Off Your CV for a 16-Year-Old Skills
When writing a CV for a 16-year-old you need to highlight your skills. And not just any skills. This is all about the skills you have that employers will want. Here’s what to do.
- Refer to the job advert again, read the job description and list the skills that are mentioned.
- Now write a list of your own skills, refer to your education and work experience sections for inspiration. But also include skills gained from other parts of your life experience too.
- When you’re done you’ll need to list 5–10 skills on your CV. Include your skills that match those in the job description but don’t be afraid to also include skills that are important for every job, like interpersonal skills.
- Aim for a mix of soft skills and hard skills.
These skills would look great on a CV for a 16 year old.
Skills for a CV for a 16-Year-Old
- Team work
- Time management
- Interpersonal communication
- Written communication
- IT skills (name the programs you’re familiar with)
- Problem solving
7. Add Additional Sections to Your CV for a 16-Yer-Old
A CV for a 16-year-old can look pretty flimsy if you’re not careful and you risk looking the same as every other job seeker your age. With no career history it can be tough to stand out. But there’s an easy way of adding some weight to your CV and giving more insight into your unique abilities. Add some additional sections. Here’s how.
- Mention language skills. Foreign language skills are needed across the workforce and are a great choice for your CV.
- Include hobbies and interests on your CV. They’re a great way of making you more relatable to the recruiter, we like people who are like us. It can also demonstrate your abilities. E.g. playing a musical instrument shows you’re focused and dedicated.
- You could also include projects, achievements, awards, and volunteering. Anything that’s relevant to the job and makes you stand out as a good candidate.
Read more: Best Hobbies and Interests to Put on a CV
8. Consider a Cover Letter
You’re right, almost nobody writes letters these days. But when it comes to applying for a job, writing a cover letter is still important. More than half of employers say they’re a must-have. Writing a professional cover letter to accompany your CV will make your job application stand out even more.
This is how to write a cover letter.
- Use the right cover letter format.
- Put a ‘hook’ in your cover letter opening. Show energy and passion, and include an impressive achievement that’ll make you stand out as a candidate.
- Show how your skills and personal attributes will help you to excel in the job you’re applying for. Like your CV, tailor your cover letter to each new job you apply for.
- Put a call to action in your cover letter ending asking to meet or schedule a phone call to discuss the job further.
- Stick to the right cover letter length.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your CV will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
And one last tip. Follow up your job application. If you don’t get a reply within a week, contact the employer by email or phone about the status of your application. It’s an easy way of improving your chances of getting an interview. In fact, 22% of hiring managers are less likely to hire a candidate who doesn’t follow up.
And that’s it. You’re all set to write a CV for a 16-year-old that’ll help you get your first job.
Thanks for reading. What else would you like to know about writing a first CV for a 16 year old? Are you writing a CV for a 16 year old still at school or have you left school already? Ask me anything at all about what to include in a CV for a 16 year old in the comments section and I’ll be happy to help.