With a good strategy and the right mindset, you can learn how to write the high school resume that scores you your first job.
Whether you are applying for a prestigious internship or an entry-level job, you probably already have what it takes. It may seem like you don’t have much experience, but many high school students underestimate their own skills.
With these five tips for writing a great high school resume, your resume will be ready in no time.
Paid work should of course go on your resume. If you have held entry-level jobs, like bussing tables, stocking shelves, or sweeping floors, these should all be included. Even if they are unrelated to the job you are applying for, they show that you have experience working with people and getting things done.
But the most common concern that high school students have when they write their first resume is that they don’t have enough experience. If you have never had a job before, how could you have a work history?
Fortunately, there are many ways you can gain important skills and experience, even if it isn’t formal paid work. Skills that you developed before you had a “real job” can be appropriate for a high school resume.
Informal work that you do for friends and family is fair game for your first resume. Babysitting, mowing lawns, tutoring, and shovelling snow for your neighbours all show that you can do a job when asked.
Volunteering experience can also be featured on your resume. Any time you did community service or volunteered at an event, you were gaining important skills. Collecting donations, running a bake sale, handing out pamphlets or snacks, checking tickets, running a raffle—these are all important experiences that you can add to your resume in high school.
You should also think about your participation at school, including extracurricular activities. Are you a member of any clubs? Do you do the lighting for the school play? Are you on any sports teams? Yearbook club, theatre production, and the football team can all show that you are involved in your community and a good team player.
Academic experience can also be an asset. If you have taken any classes that seem like they might be relevant to the job, feel free to include them in your resume. Business class, computer class, shop class, and art class can all teach you useful skills for the right role. Consider what skills you will need for your next job, and which classes helped prepare you for it.
And remember, even if you don’t have experience, it’s never too late to get some. You can always join (or start) a club, volunteer, or start raking leaves for your neighbours.
You may be young, but you still have skills. Plenty of useful skills are taught in high school. You should have learned time management, Microsoft Word, and written communication. You may have learned food safety in home economics, and tool safety in woodworking class. If you have been in a club or worked on large projects, you may have leadership, communication, and teamwork skills. Think about what clubs you enjoy and what classes you excel in to figure out what skills you have.
If you are writing a resume in high school you probably don’t have any degrees or diplomas to add to your resume, but you are still receiving an education. Your resume can include your GPA if it is higher than 3.0, and should note if you have received any academic awards, such as honour roll or perfect attendance. You can also include any important projects or assignments that are relevant to the job you apply to.
It’s important to customize your resume for every application. A resume for a journalism internship will look different from a scholarship application, which will look different from an entry-level job as a dishwasher. Your dishwasher resume should show that you will be a skilled and dedicated employee, but you can save the writing samples for your scholarship application.
Don’t forget to include your contact information in your resume. Your phone number, email address, and city should all be easy for the employer to see.
Make sure to include any other information required by the application as well. Some applications require a writing sample or admission essay, and most jobs will require a cover letter. Double-check the requirements to ensure you aren’t forgetting anything.
If you have any online profiles that will help you get a job, you can include them as well. An impressive Github account, an Instagram profile showing off your design work, or even a well-curated Twitter feed can make you look hireable, as long as it is professional and shows that you are dedicated to the field. For example, if you are interested in computer science or graphic design, your online profiles could show you engaging with that community and sharing relevant articles. Keep in mind, however, that the profile must be entirely professional. Even one party picture or off-colour joke can end your candidacy.
Your high school resume should be no longer than one page, and should use a professional template that shows that you will take your first job seriously. Here’s an example to help you get started creating your own high school resume:
Motivated honour role student and team player with a passion for people. Skilled with multitasking and interacting with customers. Dedicated to meeting expectations and deadlines.
Ben is a writer and customer support specialist with 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume and the power of coffee.
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