How to create your first CV

Submitted by Suzaan Beneke on Thu, 12/17/2020 - 12:35

Building your first CV as a new high school graduate can be a real challenge but it’s such a crucial part of job hunting that you simply can’t go without it.

That’s why you’re here – to learn how to create your first CV – so let’s get started.

First, let’s look at the format, this is what your CV should consist of:


See this as a short introduction. Include:

  • Your name
  • Your address or, preferably, general location
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address, and
  • Your personal website and LinkedIn profile (if applicable)

Note: it’s not necessary to include details such as  your gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion


In this section, the goal is to write a short description of what your professional goals are. This could be to learn a new skill, gain work experience, get your foot in the industry’s door etc. You can also touch on what you have to offer during your time there.

This section should usually be around 50 – 200 words long.


This is where a learnership comes in handy – it will help you build a skill set that will make you all the more appealing to employers in the future.

Skills should be grouped into categories to keep everything neat and organised. Since you’re only getting started, your skills list will likely include things like a willingness to learn, hard worker, punctuality, problem-solving, and more.

Work experience

Filling in the Education category is pretty straight forward, but what will you say in the “work experience” category when you just graduated high school?

Well, this section will probably be quite short since you haven’t really had time to work but since the legal working age in South Africa is sixteen, some people have been working during the school holidays for some extra spending money.

If this is the case, make sure you include the following details:

  • Your job title
  • Dates of employment
  • The business’s name and location; and
  • Key duties and accomplishments

If you’ve never had a job though, talk about an internship or some volunteer work you’ve done in the past.


List all the places you’ve gone to school in reverse chronological order (most recent jobs are at the top of your resume and your least recent jobs are down below). This wouldn’t apply if you’ve attended the same school from grade 1 to grade 12 since it would be your only entry.

Make sure you use the following format:

  • College/school name
  • Dates of study
  • Grades (if you’re still waiting for exam results, you can mention mock/expected grades, though this isn’t essential)

Hobbies and interests

You don’t have to include this section in your CV but it’s a good idea to talk about the things you do when you’re not at school.

It’s especially helpful to include this section if you don’t have any noteworthy work experience, so talk about your interests and what you do for fun.


This is another optional section. You probably won’t have a reference if you’ve never worked or volunteered before. Unfortunately, you can’t put your mom down as a contactable reference.

If you have worked before, make sure you ask your previous employer for their permission before listing them as a reference.

Note: Don’t list more than three referees

Use this format to list a reference:

  • Contact’s name
  • Their job title and company name
  • Their address
  • Their phone number
  • Their email address
  • Their relationship to you (colleague, classmate or employer etc.

Quick tips

  • Research the position you’re applying for and note the requirements and whether you meet them.
  • Edit the document before sending
  • Don’t lie, hiring managers and recruiters research candidates before the interview.
  • Use the job ad as a guide
  • Include a cover letter

In conclusion

It’s your first impression, so make it a good one. Tell the employer that, although you don’t have previous experience, you are willing to pull up your sleeves and work.

If you can impress recruiters and hiring managers by showing them you have the right skills for the job, you’ll be more likely to be invited for an interview and move one step closer to landing your dream job.

Read also: 

Can a learnership contract be terminated?

8 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Learnership