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 special skills that show 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, even if it isn't specifically asked for. Follow our top tips for creating a high-school resume and you'll make a good impression.
Information to Include
A resume for a high-school student should include the following sections:
- Contact Information: Include your full name, address, phone number, and a professional-sounding email address.
- Objective: You don't have to add an objective but in a resume short of experience it is an opportunity to explain why you are qualified for the job.
- Education: Include your GPA if it's a 3.5 or above. You can put achievements, awards and honors into a separate section, if appropriate.
- 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 can be used to demonstrate initiative and leadership skills, so be sure to list it.
- 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.
- Special Skills: Use this section to highlight computer skills, proficiency in a foreign language, customer service experience, or other employment-related talents.
References do not 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 supervisors from a job, teachers, 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.
Formatting Your Resume
You can find free resume templates online or use the one included in your word-processing software, but there are some general formatting tips you should follow to ensure that 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. A two-page resume is only appropriate for someone who has been working for 10 years or more.
Sample High School Resume
527 North Maple
Arlington, NY 12133
Seeking a retail position with a dynamic brand where I can use my customer service skills and gain valuable insights in a career in retail management.
North Jackson High School, Arlington, NY
2016 - Present
Waitress, Jack's Pizza Place
April 2017 - Present
Greet guests, take orders, serve food, and process payments. Assist with cleaning and other tasks as required.
Camp Counselor, Monarch Summer Camp
Supervised a group of 15 elementary students during week-long summer camp. Provided guidance during athletic events, nature hikes, and arts and crafts activities. Served as a positive role model helping children to develop confidence and life skills.
Fundraising Committee, Arlington Animal Rescue
October 2017 to Present
Helped organize a silent auction fundraiser, raising a total of $25,000 to support efforts to find homes for shelter animals. Solicited donations of goods and services from local businesses, created event invitations, and photographed items to be featured on the organization website.
- North Jackson High School Yearbook Editor, Fall 2017 to Present
- North Jackson High School Student Council, Fall 2016 to Present
- North Jackson High School Varsity Volleyball, Fall 2016
- Microsoft Office
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe Photoshop
- Customer service
- Conversational Spanish
Make a Strong First Impression
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.
Think of the time you spend creating your resume as an investment in your future. This is excellent practice for the many resumes you will write over the years. A properly prepared resume, even in high school, can go a long way towards making a strong first impression with a potential employer.
If you also need to include a cover letter with your resume see our examples of cover letters to get some inspiration.