How to write a CV for a summer job
Looking for a part-time job over the summer? From experience to skills – find some helpful tips for writing a CV for a summer job…
If you’re looking to write a CV for a summer job, we’re here to help! Writing a CV for your first summer job might seem a little daunting, but if you follow a simple structure and cover all the right bases you could have a part-time job in no time.
What is a summer job CV?
A CV is a short document, usually no more than 1-2 pages, that shows off your work and education history, along with any other qualifications you have. A summer job CV does exactly that, with the only major difference being that you’ll be using it to apply for work over the summer.
How to write a CV for a summer job
Working over the summer is a great way of preparing for future jobs after school, so you want to make sure you write the best CV you can to impress employers.
Your CV is the first opportunity to introduce yourself to an employer, so you need to format it professionally and with all the right details so they can contact you. Let’s take a look at how to write a CV for a summer job.
CV format and structure
When your write a CV it should follow this structure to ensure it’s easy to follow for hiring managers and potential employers:
- Your name and contact details
- A short personal statement
- Your work history
- Your education
- Any other relevant experience, like volunteering
- Your hobbies and interests
- Your skills
- Your achievements
- Your references
That might seem like a lot when you maybe don’t have much work experience yet, but this CV format will be a good one to follow throughout your career as you build your experience.
For now though, let’s take at each of those sections that should be included in your summer job CV.
This is probably the most important section, as it’s how hiring managers and potential employers will get in touch to offer you an interview!
So make sure you include:
- Your name
- Your e-mail address
- Your phone number
Remember, if you’re including an e-mail address, create that sounds professional. That can simply be your full name, eg. [email protected]. If it’s taken, try a variation, like putting your surname first, adding your middle name if you have one or adding the year you were born.
If you don’t have your own mobile phone, ask your parent or guardian if it’s okay to use the landline or their mobile phone number.
A personal statement for a CV should be a few sentences or a paragraph that introduces who you are. Try to make it sound interesting, and don’t be afraid to put a bit of your personality in there. Write about what you’re good at, the skills you have and your ambitions for where you want to be.
Be sure to take a look at the job description that you’re applying for and see if you can make your personal statement sound relevant for that. Take a look at the skills they’re looking for, so that if you have those skills you can put them in your personal statement.
Education and training
This section is quite straightforward, you just need to make a list of the schools and colleges you’ve attended, when you finished there and the grades you’ve achieved.
At the moment, you’ve probably only got your current school to list so it should be easy to write this section. You may also have some training that your school has offered to help students get into work. In future, as you gain more education and training qualifications you should include this information:
- The name of the institution you studied at
- The date you finished studying there (or list it as “current”)
- The qualification (GCSE, A-Level, degree, etc.)
- The course or courses you studied and the grade for each
If you’re writing a school leaver CV and you already have your GCSEs make a list of them and the grades you achieved in each one.
Work experience and volunteering
Like the education section, this section is quite straightforward. Simply make a list of your work experience and the positions you’ve held, including voluntary positions. Under each position, write a little about what you did there and the skills you developed. Don’t be worried about writing in bullet points if it’s easier for you, long paragraphs are actually quite difficult for hiring managers to read through.
Like with your education, make sure you list the dates that you worked there, employers like to see what you’ve been doing and when (and they’ll usually ask you to explain any gaps in your time working, which is why it’s important to list dates). Just the month and year of when you started and finished a job will do.
Hobbies and interests
This is a good section if you’re really struggling to get your CV up to a full page, as it gives you a chance to show a potential employer what you’re good at and what you’re interested in getting better at.
If you show you’re passionate about writing, for example, an employer knows that you’re creative and can develop good ideas. If you enjoy sports they’ll see that you’re a good team player and know how to work alongside other people well.
Try to think of ways that your hobbies and interests could be useful for a job, particularly the job you’re going for, and put that in this section.
Skills and Achievements section
This section is good to really point out the skills you have in a clear way. It can just be a list section, or you can detail how you use those skills. You can also link the skills you have to the achievements you’ve gained in this section. Have you won a prize for writing a short story or gained some kind of sporting achievement? Have you done any extra courses at school, or learned an instrument? Anything that shows you’re willing to go the extra mile.
Remember, look at the job description of the jobs you’re going for and tailor your CV here. Put more focus on the skills they’re looking for, either by listing them first in this section or by writing specifically about how you’ve developed those skills.
Good skills to include on a summer job CV include:
- Customer service, or good with people
- Strong teamwork
- Active listening
- Time management
- Computer skills, including specifics on what you can do (are you good with Microsoft Work or Excel?).
This is another really important section in any CV! Most potential employers like to get a bit of an understanding of you through people you know professionally.
At first, that might just be teachers, coaches or club leaders, then as you get more experience you’ll be able to list people you’ve worked with as references.
Be sure to ask someone if it’s okay before you put them as a reference on your CV. Remember, they need to be professional contacts. Either someone you’ve worked with directly or a teacher whose class you’ve been in.
For a reference you’ll need to provide:
- The person’s name
- How do they know you (ie. Teacher or Manager)
- Where they know you from (The name of the school or the place you worked together at)
- A contact phone number if available
- An e-mail address.
How to avoid making mistakes on your CV
Always, always, always double-check your CV before you send it to anyone! Put it through a spell-checker to make sure there aren’t any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.
If you’re not the strongest writer then use bullet points instead of writing paragraphs anywhere on your CV. That way you can more easily avoid grammatical errors and a hiring manager can still easily scan your CV for the skills and experience they’re looking for.
Get someone else to look at your CV too. A parent, guardian or teacher can help you by pointing out any errors or anything that doesn’t make sense.
Student summer job CV template
We know your first CV can be a little bit daunting, which is why we’ve added our summer job CV template to our summer resources, so you have one less thing to worry about when looking for a summer job.
Just download our template below and fill out the sections with your own personal statement, work history, education, skills and interests, or use it as inspiration to create your own CV.
How do I write a CV for my first part-time job with no experience?
Most employers like to look for people with good experience, but for your first job you probably won’t have any experience, so how do you write a CV? Well, luckily, there are some ways around it.
- Work out your most impressive qualities! Talk to your teacher, your parents or guardians about the skills you have that employers need. Are you good at following instructions? Good at listening? Are you creative and good at problem-solving? These are all good skills to have and to highlight early in your CV.
- Write a good personal statement! Open with your education level and your top two skills that an employer will be looking for. Employers often see “hard-working” on CVs, so think of a more exciting way you can say that. Tell them that you’re “goal-oriented” or “ambition-driven” to do your best in anything you work towards.
- Even if it’s a voluntary position or as part of your school work experience, list it! Chances are your school has at some point arranged for you to have work experience, or you’ve done extracurricular activities that can be listed in place of work history. So list those, they still count and demonstrate the skills you have. Remember to write something about each one as if it were a paid job, so you can show where your skills are.
- Focus on your skills! Before you have a lot of work experience, write about the skills that you have instead. List your top skills, and how you put those to use in school and the work you do. Link your problem-solving skills to your maths work. Make sure you tell an employer that you’re good with a computer if you know your way around one. Working well as part of a team is always good too, so think of a time that you worked well in a team to give as an example in your skills.
Advice for finding a summer job
Don’t get too stressed trying to find your first summer job. You’re probably not going to be looking at the first step in your career in between school years. Instead just think of it as something to show future employers that you were willing to look for things to learn in summer and that you’re hardworking even outside of school.
With that in mind, here’s some advice for finding a summer job.
- Start with voluntary positions. Do you live near a charity shop? It’s likely they’ll need people to help out and it’s an easy way to get some retail experience early on. It’s also worth seeing if there are any local charitable organisations that need volunteers. While they’re not paid positions, they will help fill out your CV with experience.
- Check local job boards. Some shops still have job boards for part-time work, and usually the jobs listed don’t require much or any experience.
- Visit your local job centre. Job centres are there to help you find work when you need it, and they usually have job listings available. You can find your local job centre and head in, or create use the government website to browse listings.
- Check StudentJob. Like the websites listed above you can search for jobs through StudentJob, who specifically cater to jobs for students like yourself. They even have a whole section dedicated to summer jobs.
- Check shop websites. Most retail shops have careers sections on their website, so if you live near a retail shop why not see if they have any jobs available. Don’t be afraid to go in and ask too, though most times you will need to apply online.
- Get back in touch with your work experience placement. If you’ve done a work experience placement through school and it went well, why not get back in touch and see if they need you over the summer? Particularly if they’re a small, local business they’d probably enjoy the extra helping hand.
- Don’t worry about finding your dream job first. You’re often told to aim high in your studies and your goals, but when it comes to your first job you need to set your expectations realistically. Very few people start out with a dream job, and that’s absolutely okay. You’ll have plenty of time to get there once you finish school. For now, focus on applying for jobs that’ll help you gain some experience.
Interview tips for your summer job
We know your first interview might make you a bit nervous but if you just cover a few things, you’ll do great!
- Figure out an answer for why you’re interested in the job. Any hiring manager is going to ask you why you want the job, and just saying you want the money or the experience won’t always cut it. Do some research on the company and figure out if there’s anything that really interests you about them, that makes you want to work with them. Or talk about how you want to get a headstart in the working world and you believe this is the best place to do that.
- Prepare and practice. Think of successful experiences you’ve had as a student that could show your skills and your suitability for the job. Practice the interview with a parent or guardian a few times and see if they have any feedback for you that could help.
- Be ready to talk about your experience. Review everything you’ve listed on your CV and be ready to answer questions about it. You’ll be asked things like what you did at previous jobs or volunteer roles, and you’ll want to talk about them in a way that shows you’re skilled enough for this job.
- Show enthusiasm. Try to sound excited about the role and making a start on your career. If the interviewer doesn’t believe you’re excited for the job, they’ll probably go for someone that sounds happier to do it, so show them you are happy to do it.
- Ask questions. This is a big one that most people forget in their first interview, as they often think only the interviewers should ask questions. Asking your own questions shows that you’re keen to learn more about the role and the place. Try things like “what are the biggest challenges with this role?” or “how many people will I be working with? What are they like?” and the ever important “how soon can I expect to hear from you?” so they know you’re eager to start.
- Try to be yourself. It’s a bit of cliche but being yourself in an interview is important. Of course, you need to be professional, but the interviewer needs to see some of who you are. So try to give them an indication, don’t answer questions like you’re reading from a script, be honest and open. It shows a lot of confidence in yourself, which they’ll really appreciate.
Keep learning this summer!
While it’s good to get some work experience over the summer, it’s also important to keep on top of your learning before the next school year. If you want a bit of help getting ready for your GCSEs, why not take a look at our online tutoring? With our online learning, you can fit your GCSE maths tuition around a summer job and make time to enjoy your summer break.