Writing a resume is a challenging task for most individuals – the plethora of online resume builders, resume writing professionals and how-to books that are available is a testament to this. Effective resume writing requires the ability to identify one’s key work experiences and skills, and then to highlight and tailor these experiences and skills to the employer needs. This is challenging enough for adults who have real work experience under their belt, however for high school students who neither have any work experiences nor any marketable skills — this can be a daunting task. The good news is: it needn’t be so at all.
High schoolers tend to overlook many experiences and skills they already possess – things that can easily impress potential employers, and should certainly go on a high school student’s resume. Just because a teen may not have held a “regular” job doesn’t mean he hasn’t acquired the skills necessary to succeed at it. Employers that are looking to hire high school students are fully aware that teenage applicants may not have any high value skills or experiences.
The jobs that high schoolers are hired into tend to be low-skill, low-paying customer facing roles such as in the food service, or retail industry. Employers who hire high school students into these positions are looking for clues as to how this individual has worked with others in the past — has he been able to take orders from authority figures, has she been able to follow instructions, and has he been demonstrating reliability etc. And this is what a good high school resume should be highlighting via commonly found teen experiences such as babysitting, lawn mowing, or volunteering.
Here are some tips on how to structure a teen resume:
- Create an outline: This can be best done by looking at examples of high school resumes. These examples will provide guidance on structure, flow and formatting for a teen resume.
- Include informal work experiences: Make a list of every paid work the teen has ever performed — even gigs like dog walking, lawn mowing, snow-shoveling or babysitting.
- Mention volunteer work: This section is the opportunity to highlight qualities such as trustworthiness and reliability. Mention any tasks the teen was involved in at a place of worship, volunteer facility, summer camp etc. Ensure you get in a couple of sentences about what the student did, along with the name of organization.Add these to the resume in reverse chronological order (start with the most recent and work backwards).
- School activities: Club memberships, athletics and the like go in here. If the high schooler is active in clubs mention those – especially if she is in a leadership role or hold an office. Same goes with athletics, any accomplishments will need to be listed of course, in addition, any team captaincies should be highlighted if applicable.
- Academics: This is a dicey one for many, the rule of thumb to use is: if the student’s grades are very good (GPA of 3.0 or better), then it should be mentioned, else this information can be excluded. Additional information that goes in this section include classes taken at high school – advanced placement classes are good to mention, so are math, calculus and the sciences. These “harder” classes can signal a desire to take on challenging work. This doesn’t mean one can’t list classes in the arts, music or writing. As a matter of fact, there are jobs where these would be more advantageous – for instance, if the teen are applying for a job at a store that sells musical instruments, proficiency in music will be weighted far above high school calculus skills.
- Resume Objective: This is another section where high school students might get tripped up, a good resume builder can help since it usually has a collection of pre-written high school resume objectives. If you do not wish to pay for a high school resume builder, the high school student should be able to craft the resume objective with the help of a teacher or parent.
By following these tips listed above and referring to preexisting high school resume examples, it should be possible to assemble effective, good quality resumes for the high school job seekers.