First Job CV Template: Good Examples + How to Write

Getting your first job typically comes at a time of many other firsts. Your first flat or sharehouse, first proper vehicle, maybe even your first adult relationship. Before you can get that first job and all the freedom it brings, though, you’ll need to sit down and hammer out your first CV. There’s no way around it.

 

There are many good reasons why your first CV is likely to be the toughest one you’ll ever write. Doing anything for the first time obviously adds to how challenging it feels. But you’ve got some pretty concrete obstacles on top of that here: a lack of work experience for one thing, fewer skills for another.

 

This article is here to guide you through the process of writing your first CV, from go to whoa. The first CV template below is better than nine out of ten first CVs out there. With plenty of good CV examples for a first job and up-to-date, UK-specific advice, your first CV will let you hit the ground running.

 

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First CV template (first CV example)

 

Finlay Knowles

070 1111 1111

finn.knowles@lcmail.co.uk

linkedin.com/in/finalyknowles

 

Personal Statement

 

Highly-motivated and organised second-year A-level student seeking part-time employment as a warehouse worker. Collected 10+ bonuses and 3 written commendations while working on a casual basis for retailer Pippy’s. Looking for opportunity to gain hands-on experience of logistics and dispatch while meeting and exceeding Sendipack’s targets and keeping fit.

 

Education

 

A-levels: Physical Education, English, Mathematics

Ivy High School, Birmingham, 2019 – 2021 (expected)

 

8 GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

Ivy High School, Birmingham, 2016 – 2018

 

Work Experience

 

Shelf Filler

Pippy’s, Birmingham

October 2020—December 2020

  • Completed 100% of all assigned tasks within the allotted time.
  • Stacked a total of over 40 large pallets of stock.
  • Picked up 97% of expired and borderline food products, based on the results of random spot checks.
  • Sorted and broke down over 500 boxes for recycling.

 

Skills

 

  • Teamwork: actively participated in 5+ competitive sports teams and 15+ academic teams.
  • Written communication: submitted over 10 written assignments at A level with an A- average grade.
  • Oral communication: practised public speaking with 4 assessed oral presentations and 3 speeches in front of audiences of 20–120 people.
  • Time management: organised own schedule, balancing studies, extracurricular activities, home duties, and leisure time.
  • Physical fitness: actively involved in sport, both team and individual, consistently scored over 9.1 on beep tests.

 

Licences

 

Full, clean UK driving licence

 

Languages

 

Gaelic – native speaker

 

Now that’s a modern CV template! Here’s how to write your own first CV step by step:

 

1. Start your first CV out strong with a personal statement

 

A CV for your first job is likely to have an aura of ‘do or die’ about it that’s mostly unjustified. Mostly. There’s a ‘sudden-death’ aspect to every CV you’ll ever send out: the main purpose of your first CV is to land you your first job interview. Your personal statement is the first thing recruiters will read in your CV.

 

Aim for three simple, direct sentences in your personal statement, strictly 50–150 words in total. Firstly, introduce yourself: state what kind of student you are if you’re currently studying and clearly state what you’re looking for. If you’re a school leaver, either state that or look into a school leaver CV instead.

 

In the next sentence, either describe one of your relevant skills and how you got it (see section 4) or, if you have some experience (including volunteer work), show what you have to offer by describing what you’ve managed to offer in the past. Do this by outlining a relevant on-the-job achievement (see section 3).

 

Your third and final sentence can also go one of two ways. Ideally, you should demonstrate that your work-related goals line up with the company’s business goals. You can do this by answering the question: what is that you hope to be able to achieve for the company in this potential new role?

 

Failing that, answer the much less compelling question of what is it that you hope to gain by getting this job. This is an understandable approach to take if you don’t have any experience, but think carefully if there isn’t in fact anything that you could achieve for your potential new employer.

 

You first CV (and probably every subsequent CV) is very likely to be parsed by an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) before a recruiter even lays eyes on it. An ATS uses various algorithms to sort CVs according to how relevant and suitable they are when compared to the job advert or job description.

 

To boost your chances of getting past ATSs every time, be sure to be mention the company and your target job title by name in your personal statement. Look through the job advert and try to match the keywords used there wherever possible. For example, you may need to change ‘team player’ to ‘teamwork’.

 

You might not feel ready to write this first part of your CV yet and there’s a good reason for this: you’re probably not ready. It’ll be much easier and you’ll be able to do a much better job of it if you leave writing your personal statement until after you’ve finished preparing your work history and skills sections (and that’s why it’s sometimes called a CV summary, too).

 

First job CV personal statement

 

Highly-motivated and organised second-year A-level student seeking part-time employment as a warehouse worker. Collected 10+ bonuses and 3 written commendations while working on a casual basis for retailer Pippy’s. Looking for opportunity to gain hands-on experience of logistics and dispatch while meeting and exceeding Sendipack’s targets and keeping fit.

 

A strong CV summary will convince the recruiter you’re the perfect candidate. Save time and choose a ready-made personal statement written by career experts and adjust it to your needs in the LiveCareer CV builder.

 

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2. Give your education pride of place in your first CV

 

As you write your first CV that’s likely to also be a CV for your first job, your education is probably the biggest relevant thing that’s been happening in your life. So put it front and centre as your first CV section. This will make your CV follow a modified chronological CV format—the best CV format for the job.

 

A chronological CV format, contrary to what the name might suggest, means that you list things like your educational background and work experience (if any) in reverse-chronological order. In other words, starting from the most recent elements and working your way back in time to the least recent.

 

If you’re studying a university degree, diploma, NVQ or other tertiary qualification, then use the following first CV template with your expected graduation date as the end date:

 

[Degree Type] [Degree Name](Degree Class), [Years Attended]

[Institution Name], [Institution Location]

 

Use the following first CV templates to detail your high school education, but don’t mention your high school education once you have a university degree and at least a year of work experience. Do explicitly state the fact that you’ve completed GCSEs in Maths and English, though.

 

A-levels: [Subject Name 1], [Subject Name 2], [Subject Name 3]

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

 

[Number of GCSEs completed] GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

 

Consider adding 2–3 bullet points that detail your areas of excellence while studying. This should not be any kind of ‘padding’, though. Include these bullet points only if you have some truly relevant and impressive things to mention. If not, then a lack of clutter and more white space will always win out.

 

First job CV – example education section

 

A-levels: Physical Education, English, Mathematics

Ivy High School, Birmingham, 2019 – 2021 (expected)

 

8 GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

Ivy High School, Birmingham, 2016 – 2018

 

3. Your first CV need not include a work experience section, but flaunt it if you’ve got it

 

It should go without saying that it’s perfectly normal not to have any work experience when writing a first CV—in that case just skip over this section entirely. But before you do that, remember that volunteer work most definitely counts as work experience, as do placement work and internships.

 

Stick to a reverse-chronological order for any work experience you do list. It’s what recruiters expect to come across and it’s more easily processed by ATSs. Use the following first CV template to create a subheading for each of your job descriptions:

 

[Job Title]

[Company Name, Location]

[Dates of Employment]

 

Add up to six bullet points to each job description, with each bullet point being a separate on-the-job achievement. An ‘achievement’, in this context, is a description of an action you took at work and the benefits that your employer scooped up as a result. Achievements are best started with a strong verb.

 

The most important thing to keep in mind when writing your bullet points is that you quantify the benefits you brought to your employer, the scale at which you operated (including how many times or how often you did something), and anything else to which you could put a number. Estimate if you need to, but keep it realistic.

 

My first job CV – example job description

 

Shelf Filler

Pippy’s, Birmingham

October 2020—December 2020

  • Completed 100% of all assigned tasks within the allotted time.
  • Stacked a total of over 40 large pallets of stock.
  • Picked up 97% of expired and borderline food products, based on the results of random spot checks.
  • Sorted and broke down over 500 boxes for recycling.

 

You don’t have to be a CV writing expert. In the LiveCareer CV builder you’ll find ready-made content for every industry and position, which you can then add with a single click.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

4. Experienced or not, you’ve got skills—let them shine in your first CV

 

You might not have finished with your education yet and you mightn’t exactly be suffering an excess of experience, but that’s far from the same as you having nothing to offer an employer. Your most valuable assets are your skills, you have plenty to offer, you just need to get that across in your CV for your first job.

 

Start by flipping, clicking or swiping through the kinds of jobs adverts you’ve been looking at, paying attention to the skills they mention. Set them aside and make a list of all your skills. Add a sentence onto each skill that describes how (and possibly where) you’ve demonstrated that skill on a regular basis. Make sure to add IT and communication skills.

 

You could draw upon your school work, extracurricular activities, club or society activity, competitions you’ve entered, sports you play, even your personal hobbies and interests. Treat any volunteer work you’ve done like paid work—that is, give it priority over all of the above skills-development contexts.

 

You need to make it clear that you actually do possess each CV skill: anyone can claim anything they want, the trick is to show recruiters that you’re the real deal. Save this list in a separate file. It’ll be your skills master list—you can add to it as your skills set develops over time and use it in other applications.

 

Go back to the job advert to which you’re responding. Copy 5–10 skills from your master list and paste them into your first CV. Make sure that you at least cover what’s required in the advert. Substitute synonyms to match the keywords used in the advert, e.g. ‘team work’ might need to become ‘collaboration’.

 

First CV skills

 

  • Teamwork: actively participated in 5+ competitive sports teams and 15+ academic teams.
  • Written communication: submitted over 10 written assignments at A level with an A- average grade.
  • Oral communication: practised public speaking with 4 assessed oral presentations and 3 speeches in front of audiences of 20–120 people.
  • Time management: organised own schedule, balancing studies, extracurricular activities, home duties, and leisure time.
  • Physical fitness: actively involved in sport, both team and individual, consistently scored over 9.1 on beep tests.

 

5. Use additional sections to give your first CV a fighting chance

 

A standard first CV template includes, unsurprisingly, a pretty standard set of CV sections: education, work experience (which you may not even have), and skills. There’s not much here to set you apart from the crowd. Most applicants going for the same jobs as you will look pretty similar to you on paper.

 

You can get around this problem by simply adding extra sections to your first CV template. Choose things that will cast you in a good light and that don’t fit under any of the standard headings. There’s one rule that you have to stick to no matter what, though: everything has to be relevant to the job at hand.

 

Being a long-distance running champion in high school is something worth mentioning if you’re applying to a warehouse job that’ll have you keeping up a brisk pace all day, but probably won’t be relevant in the context of a call-centre job. Keep it directly and obviously relevant to the job and you’ll be fine.

 

Keeping this one cardinal rule in mind, you can add sections that list awards you’ve won, additional qualifications and licenses you’ve got, even your hobbies and interests. The ability to speak languages other than English is highly valued even in jobs that won’t directly require it, so you should always mention it.

 

CV for a first job example additional sections

 

Licences

 

Full, clean UK driving licence

 

Languages

 

Gaelic – native speaker

 

6. Your first CV will need to be accompanied by a cover letter

 

You shouldn’t be focused on sending in your first CV but rather your first job application. Your CV is just a part (usually one of two parts) of the story. A job application is most commonly made up of both your CV and a cover letter. Don’t leave the job half-done, that’s a great way to get eliminated early.

 

Write an effective cover letter. An effective cover letter is simply one that gets your CV read. Otherwise, all the effort you’ve put into writing your first CV could go to waste. A good guide will show you how to start your cover letter and how to end your cover letter the right way.

 

An effective cover letter opening starts making a case for why the recruiter should read your CV and consider you for the position right away. If you get the main body paragraphs of your cover letter right, they’ll end up being compelling showcases of your achievements, skills, and general suitability for the job.

 

The length of your cover letter will typically end up being around 250–400 words in total. It should nicely fill an A4 while leaving you plenty of white space with which to work. Do not, whatever you do, go over a single A4 page in length. Make sure the overall look matches that of your CV.

 

7. Some things to keep in mind before sending out your first CV

 

You’ve heard a lot about having a good phone manner and looking smart during a job interview. And no wonder—first impressions are important, especially during a recruitment process in which recruiters need to eliminate as many candidates as possible early on. More than that, you need to show your attention to detail.

 

Attention to detail means absolutely no spelling or grammar mistakes anywhere in your first CV and cover letter. So proofread both your first CV and cover letter and then proofread them again. Don’t ignore your spellchecker, use a grammar app or web app, and get someone to read over your work.

 

Show your professionalism by paying close attention to the overall appearance of your CV. Do this by using plenty of white space to clearly separate sections and headings. Go with an understated CV font like Noto, Liberation, Arial or Calibri and leave the font size at 11–12 points. Keep the margins at 2.5 cm. 

 

The overall length of your CV should not exceed a single A4 page. Having no experience does not mean not being able to nicely fill an A4 page, but you will have more white space than someone with several years’ experience. Always attach your CV and cover letter in PDF unless you’re asked from something else.

 

If it’s been a week after you sent in your CV for your first job and you haven’t heard back, follow up. You can do this with a quick phone call or brief email. It’s a small gesture that could really pay dividends and make a huge difference to your chances of getting an invitation to a job interview.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Just follow our wizard and fill in every CV section with ready-made content. Get started by choosing a professional CV template.

 

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The LiveCareer online CV maker lets you build a professional CV fast and download it as a PDF or DOC.

 

Create your CV now


Do you feel ready to stop stressing about writing your first CV and start stressing about preparing for your first job interview? Drop us a line in the comments section below if you’d like me to elaborate on anything I’ve covered here. Leave any other comments or job-hunting stories there as well.

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Adam Joyce

Adam Joyce

About the author

Adam is an enthusiastic career expert dedicated to providing job-seekers with resume building and job hunting advice. He draws on his extensive employment history to write content that is informed and which can be actionable in real life.

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