Recruiting someone straight from school who has little, or no, relevant experience can be difficult. Looking at academic qualifications is one thing, but what else does someone’s CV say about them?

We’ve listed some tips for things you can look out for on a school leaver’s CV, to help you invite the right people in for interview.

Personal statement

The personal statement should be a short piece about the candidate. A great one will focus on achievement. It could talk about being nominated for an award at school or at a part-time job. Other accomplishments could be personal, like completing a challenge for charity. These things show commitment, focus on goals and a willing to improve. If the candidate makes a claim about themselves in the personal statement, make sure they back it up. Rather than ‘I am reliable’, a better statement will read something like, ‘I am reliable, which is shown by my school making me a prefect’. The personal statement is also an ideal chance to check the candidate’s spelling and grammar.

Career history

For school leavers, this section will probably be brief. If the applicant has had any part-time jobs while still in education, those could give you an indication of their strengths. Look into what their responsibilities say about them. If they worked in a shop and one of their responsibilities was cashing up at the end of the day, it shows they were deemed honest and trustworthy. Often, characteristics are more important than skills because the right person can easily learn tasks if they have the right traits. At best case, they’ll have some experience working with children, showing that it’s a passion, rather than them not knowing which career to pursue. Voluntary work is also a good thing on a CV, as it shows passion and the drive to get out of bed and work, even without a paycheque.


For a school leaver, you’ll be checking for GCSE results and any other exams they may have taken anyway. Look out for extra-curricular qualifications because they suggest a dedication to personal development. These could be piano grades, Young Enterprise or Duke of Edinburgh awards. Official sports coaching qualifications show they have an interest in working with younger children and perhaps experience interacting with them in a more formal way.

 Personal and contact details

Make sure the CV includes the necessary personal information, so things like name, address and contact details. Keep an eye on email addresses; professional looking ones (just plain name, rather than nicknames) are better and show they’ve given thought to first impressions. Candidates are no longer required to include date of birth or age due to a change in age discrimination rules.


More people are realising how important personality is in recruitment. As we said before, most people can pick up skills more readily than they can change their character! An interesting personal life with plenty of hobbies says a lot about someone’s personality and how they’ll fit in at your setting.

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