Creating your first resume doesn't need to be a difficult task. Even though you may have minimal work experience as a high school student, you can use your resume to highlight activities and skills that demonstrate your value to a potential employer or college interviewer.
Including a resume in an internship, scholarship or summer program application is often a good way to show off your skills. Follow our top tips for writing a high school resume that'll make a great first impression.
When you don't have a lot of experience, it's important to focus on what you do have: the ability to succeed in a given role. As such, it's important to have a strong objective that highlights your interests and present skills. For example:
Artistic student with a 3.7 GPA looking to use her dedication and education in graphic design as an integral part of your team
For more like this, follow one of these Examples of Resume Objectives to craft a winning statement of your own.
Rather than worry too much about what you haven't done yet, focus more on what you can do. You do have marketable skills that employers look for. A resume for a high school student doesn't have to be a dull, blank canvas.
There are two main types of skills: soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are generic, such as "great communicator." Hard skills are more focused and specific. These skills might indicate something like coding knowledge, social media management, or word processing skills. Here are some sample skills that, if true, can be listed in bullet points:
Team player (soft skill)
Problem solver (soft skill)
Critical thinker (soft skill)
Organized (soft skill)
Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (hard skill)
Manages YouTube channel (hard skill)
Types 75 WPM (hard skill)
Fluent in French and Japanese (hard skill)
Take a look at these Best Skills to List on a Resume. See if any of them translate to your current experience in life.
You have many years of valuable education. When you look at it this way, there are a lot of important details you can include on your resume.
GPA: If you can advertise a high GPA, that'll express your strong work ethic.
Honors: Have you taken any honors or AP classes? This can help you stand above the rest.
Related Courses: Consider pertinent classes that relate to the line of work you'd like to do, like visual art, computer design, or English composition.
Clubs: Being a member of a school club can signal your ability to function on a team or, perhaps, even serve in a leadership role. It can also substantiate a relevant interest.
Volunteer Work: Do you and your family volunteer through church? Have you spent any time volunteering with your classmates? Be sure to include this, as it not only functions as real work experience, but it also shows you are a well-rounded, giving member of society.
In most resumes, a "Work Experience" section is par for the course. But, what if you don't have any experience yet? We all have to start somewhere and, even if you've never clocked into a job before, you still have major achievements.
Perhaps you created a masterful project in chemistry that received an honorary mention from your teacher and principal. Or, maybe you designed the new layout for your high school yearbook. Did you have a hand in any major projects with classmates that were displayed proudly throughout the school or local community? Did you contribute to a charity event?
As you formulate your major achievements section, see if you can include some of these Examples of Strengths in your bullet points.
The segments above are the standout sections you'll see in a high school resume example. Let's sum it all up with what you should include on your own resume:
Contact Information: Include your full name, address, phone number, and a professional-sounding email address. Fullname@email.com is much better than firstname.lastname@example.org.
Objective: In a resume short on experience, remember this is an opportunity to explain why you're qualified for the job.
Education: Include your GPA if it's a 3.5 or above, as well as the related classes you've taken. You can list achievements, awards, and honors in a separate section.
Experience: This can include part-time jobs, as well as seasonal or temporary positions, babysitting, pet sitting, or mowing lawns. Include internships in this section, if applicable.
Volunteer Experience: Volunteer work demonstrates initiative and leadership skills, so be sure to list it. You might choose to merge this with the main experience section.
Activities: Participation in athletics, drama, music, and other school or community activities shows that you're well-rounded, a team player, and able to manage your time well. Don't forget to mention any leadership roles such as serving as team captain or club president.
Skills: Use this section to highlight computer skills, proficiency in a foreign language, customer service experience, project management, or other employment-related talents.
References don't need to be included on your resume, but you should have the contact information for three references ready to provide upon request. References can be teachers, supervisors from a job, or adults who are familiar with your volunteer work.
You should never include your photo, age, race, sex, or religion on a resume, since this information can be used to violate Equal Opportunity Employment legislation. Identifying information such as your social security number or driver's license number should not be added either, to reduce the risk of identity theft.
You can find resume templates online or use the one included in your word processing software. But, there are some general formatting tips that'll ensure your document is both attractive and easy to read.
Choose a conservative, easy-to-read font. Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, and Cambria are widely regarded as the best choices for a resume.
Your body text should be between 10 and 12 point. Your headings should be slightly larger and in bold type.
Bullets can be used to make the text easy to scan, but they aren't necessary unless a section has three or more items.
Color is sometimes used in modern resumes, but this can come across as messy and unprofessional if you're not careful. If you want to add color, use a single color to highlight your name and/or headings.
Limit yourself to a single page of text if you can. A two-page resume is only appropriate for someone who's had a lot of experience or achievements.
Before submitting your resume, it's always a good idea to have two or more people proofread the document. This will help you avoid embarrassing typos and ensure that the relevant details of your background are presented clearly. Also think about words that are often overused on a resume, like "hard worker", and try to avoid them.
You should think about your social media accounts too before submitting resumes. Interviewers are likely to look at your online presence. Is there anything embarrassing there you would rather they not see? Clean up posts if you need to, and use good judgment about what you post online in future.
Your first resume is a major step in a lifetime of success and happiness. Whether this is for a job interview or a college admissions application, having a well-formulated resume on hand will serve you well. And, if this is part of your journey to the college of your dreams, we can help you with your SAT prep today. Start with this free SAT Writing Practice Test and let the college adventures begin!