CV Writing Tips for Teenagers

The long summer holidays are upon us, and it might just be a good time to find something different to do over summer – like a part-time job or an internship.

The first step in gaining any sort of work is to send out a CV (Curriculum Vitae), which is Latin for ‘course of life’. You might call it a resume, but whatever you call it, creating one can seem a bit daunting, especially when you’re just starting to build your professional experience.

At Swiss International School Dubai, we encourage our students to document all their experiences from grade 9 onwards. This includes achievements in school, internships, sporting accomplishments, and any work experience. Utilising the Unifrog online platform, students can log each experience in real-time, eliminating the guesswork involved in reflecting on past internships when applying for university in grade 12.

By documenting their experiences as they occur, students ensure the accuracy and completeness of their CVs, making their applications more robust.

And to further support our students, we offer CV writing workshops and one-on-one meetings to help them identify their strengths and tailor their CVs to their desired career paths. Additionally, we host guest speakers throughout the year to provide valuable insights into various courses and career paths. These sessions also cover the planning and content of CVs, as well as strategies for seeking internships.

You might not want to ask for your parent’s help, especially if they haven’t actually updated their own CV since 2002. However, with the right approach, you can craft a CV that highlights your potential and sets you apart from the competition. Here’s a few helpful tips.

Personal Information

It might be a no-brainer, but begin with your contact details at the top of your CV. Include your full name, phone number, email address, and home address. If you have a professional online presence, such as a LinkedIn profile or a personal website/portfolio, include these links as well.

Don’t include your personal social media tags…unless your online presence is highly professional, or career oriented. Some people like to include a small, passport sized image of themselves at the top of their CV, too.

Objective or Personal Statement

Write a brief, focused statement about your career aspirations and what you hope to achieve. This should be concise (just two or three sentences is enough) and tailored to the specific role or industry you are targeting. For example:

“I’m an ambitious and dedicated high school student with a passion for AI, technology and innovation, seeking internship opportunities to develop skills in software development and project management.”

Education

List your current school and any previous schools, including the name, location, and dates attended. Highlight any honours, awards or notable projects. If you have taken any other courses, be sure to mention these as well. Potential employers like to see a well-rounded educational experience.

Experience

Even if your work experience is limited, include any part-time jobs, internships or volunteer work you might have done. Use action verbs to describe your responsibilities and focus on your contributions and achievements. For example:

Role: Intern at XYZ Company

Dates: June 2023 – August 2023

Responsibilities: Assisted in managing social media accounts, created engaging content, and analysed user engagement metrics.

Put your most recent work experience at the top of the list.

Skills

Include both technical and soft skills. Technical skills might include proficiency with computer programs, software or tools (like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, programming languages). Soft skills could include communication, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership. Think of times at school when you’ve used any of these sorts of skills, like on a project, a sports day or involvement in a club or society. If you are a master at creating TikToks, that’s worth mentioning, too. Social media skills are in demand at many companies!

Extracurricular Activities

Mention any clubs, societies or sports teams you are part of, and highlight any leadership roles. It’s a great idea to highlight any participation in competitions, fairs or events that demonstrate your interests and skills. If you play chess in a school club, for example, mention it.

Projects

Describe any significant projects you have worked on, whether personal or school-related. Focus on your role and the outcome. For instance:

“Developed a mobile app for a school project that helps students track their homework and study schedules, resulting in a 20% increase in homework submissions.”

Languages

Indicate the languages you speak and your proficiency level (e.g., native, fluent, intermediate). In Dubai’s multicultural environment, multilingual abilities can be a significant advantage.

Hobbies and interests

Sometimes sharing a brief list of hobbies and interests can help you stand out from the crowd. For instance if you really want an internship at a vets, it’s cool to mention that you’ve always had pets, raised money for an animal charity and endlessly watch animal documentaries and films.

References

It’s common to say references are available upon request instead of listing them on the CV. But make sure you have a list of potential references ready if an employer asks. This could be a teacher, or someone you know in your community like a doctor, lawyer or mentor. Your mum and dad don’t count.

Additional Tips

Keep It To One Page: your CV should typically be one page long, focusing on the most relevant and impressive information.

Formatting: Use a clean and professional layout. Stick to a simple font and avoid unnecessary graphics or colours. Remember, there is a host of apps and templates out there that can help you ensure it’s looking good.

Proofread: Ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Ask a teacher, parent or friend to review your CV for any mistakes you might have missed. Fresh eyes often spot things you didn’t.

Tailor Your CV: Customise your CV for each job application. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position you are applying for.

By following these tips, you can create a CV that effectively showcases your skills, experiences and potential. Whether you’re applying for an internship, a volunteer position or part-time job, a well-crafted CV will help you make a strong impression and take the first step toward achieving your career goals in Dubai and abroad.

SISD is proudly part of the Nord Anglia Education family.

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