Are you getting ready to apply for your first-ever job?
Trying to create an eye-catching resume while you’re still in high school can be an intimidating task. It can be difficult to show that you’re a strong candidate if you have no work experience and limited skills. When you apply for a job, you usually have to fill out an application. In many cases, you will also be asked to supply a copy of your professional resume.
So, check out my in-depth high school resume guide, including tips for success.
- Why a High School Resume is Important?
- Sections To Focus On
- Tips To Follow
- Valuable Personal Attributes And Skills
- More Advice On Creating Your First Resume
- Final Thoughts
Why a High School Resume is Important?
Traditionally, resumes are used to reflect your work experience and skills. If you are applying for your first job, you might be struggling to find things to put on this document. This is likely to make you question whether or not it’s really necessary to create one.
However, a resume is a good way to introduce yourself to your future employer. If several people are applying for the same job, it can help to give you the edge. Let’s take a look at some other reasons you should take the time to create this document.
It shows you are serious
Creating a resume shows that you are seriously interested in the job. Instead of spending a few minutes to quickly fill out an application, you have crafted a professional document. This indicates that you are willing to go the extra mile and do much more than the bare minimum.
It helps you to focus
Creating this document helps you work out what your strongest attributes are. These are the elements that are sure to impress employers and will help you secure a job. This helps you understand your value and indicates what to talk about in the interview.
It helps you get strong recommendations
Teachers and mentors will often be contacted by potential employers to provide a reference. These people will be able to refer to your resume when creating references for you. Having an outline of your skills and achievements close to hand will make the process much easier.
It allows you to present your personality
Don’t be afraid to inject a little of your personality. The best place to do this is in the objective section. The skills and attributes you use to describe yourself also offer an insight into who you are.
It saves time later
Once you have created this document, you can go back and edit it anytime you want. You can update it each time you have gained new experience, skills, and accomplishments. It is a good idea to start working on the structure as soon as possible.
Sections To Focus On
Structure is very important when creating a resume. You need to create several distinct sections that present your information clearly and concisely. Let’s take a closer look at the different sections and what they should include.
This section tells employers who you are and how to contact you. Your first and last name should appear at the very top in slightly larger letters. This should be followed by your email address, phone number, and your general location.
If you don’t already have one, take the time to create a professional email address. This should feature some combination of your first and last name. You can use this email account to keep professional and personal correspondence separate.
This is a short and impactful paragraph that goes underneath your contact information. This should be a summary of your strongest skills and attributes that are connected to the job you’re applying for. This paragraph should convince employers that you’re the strongest candidate and make them want to meet you.
You can use this section to highlight the subjects that you excel at. This will show employers what you are interested in and what you have learned so far. You can use this section to show particularly strong grades and tell them what you are planning to study.
Ideally, the education you highlight should be connected to the job you are applying for. Revealing a strong grade in physical education will be useless if you are applying for an office job. You can also include extracurricular activities where you have excelled and learned valuable skills.
Types of education to highlight include:
- Relevant coursework
- School clubs
Experience or Activities
If you have previous work experience, you can dedicate this section to highlighting it. Go into as much detail as possible, choosing details that are relevant to the role you are applying for. You can include both paid roles and volunteer work in this section.
However, you might not have any work experience to add to this section. In this case, you can focus on other types of activities you have taken part in. Make sure they are relevant and include the skills the activities helped you develop.
Relevant experience and activities could include:
- Pet sitting
- Mowing lawns
- Taking part in church functions
- Community service
- Maintaining a personal blog
Awards and Achievements
Your achievements and awards let employers know that you strive for excellence and are far from average. These could be academic awards that help you stand out from the crowd. Take the time to work out how to highlight them in the best way possible.
Skills, Hobbies, and Additional Information
This final section should include anything else that makes you stand out from the crowd. This is your last chance to show that you have the skills to do the job you are applying for. You need to select at least three of your strongest skills that are directly connected to the job.
Instead of simply listing your skills, you need to present them in an interesting way. You need to demonstrate how you gained these skills and actively use them. This will show that you have valuable attributes that you will be able to apply to the job.
Use it as an ice breaker…
If you are part of a sports team, you may simply see this as a hobby. However, your participation shows that you have learned the value of teamwork and collaboration. This will also give you something to talk about to break the ice during interviews.
Tips To Follow
It is important to take the time to create a document that will impress employers. Every detail you include should count and will either add or detract from your application. Here are some ways to make sure it is as strong and compelling as possible.
Start with an outline
It is important to take the time to map out what you want to write before getting started. You might have a lot of information that you need to condense into a single page. Conversely, you might be having trouble working out how to fill the intimidating blank page.
Start by writing the heading for each section and brainstorming what you want to include. Make a list of at least three of your strongest attributes to highlight in each section. This will help to make sure these details do not get overlooked.
Use action words
You need to use active language when adding information to your resume. This makes the information more dynamic and helps to prevent it from being overlooked. These words also help to define your skills and help to make them jump off the page.
Examples of strong action words include:
Find out more with my in-depth look at Resume Action Verbs and Power Words.
Keep it short
No employer wants to read a resume that rambles on without getting to the point. You need to make sure that all the information you include is relevant and adds value to your application. If the sentence or paragraph isn’t relevant, consider leaving it out.
Tell a story
You can relate to the reader by connecting your skills and experiences with the requirements of the job. Rather than simply stating your skills, try to create short paragraphs that illustrate them. Demonstrating how you have used them in certain situations will make them more memorable. This will help the employer to picture you doing the job you are applying for.
It is important to present your skills and experience realistically. Employers will know that your experience will naturally be limited if you are still in high school. Exaggerating or outright lying about it is likely to be very obvious. Any hints of dishonesty on your application are likely to cost you the job.
Make it clear what you want
All the information you choose should present particular skills that are related to a career path. If the aspects you present seem unconnected, it may look as though you are unfocused. All elements should show that you are focused on the future and are working on skills that support your personal goals.
Your resume always needs to be tailored to the job you’re applying for. This means that you will need to adapt it slightly to present your most valuable skills. You can do this by carefully reading the job description and working out what the employer is looking for. You then need to include elements that clearly show you are the perfect person for the job.
Choose the right format
You need to make sure that this document is as easy to read as possible. You can start by selecting a professional-looking font. Times New Roman, Arial, and Verdana are all good options.
Ideally, your resume should consist of a single page. However, the paragraphs need to be properly spaced to make the information stand out. And there should be between two and four short and punchy sentences per paragraph.
Look online for resume formats…
Each section of your resume needs to be separated and clearly presented. The best way to do this is by putting the headings in bold. Making the headings slightly larger will also help them to stand out. It is a good idea to spend time looking at different resume formats. There are a few professional styles to choose from. Check out the different options and follow the format that presents your information most effectively.
For more info, check out our Best Resume Format Guide.
Edit and proofread carefully
You need to take the time to carefully read through the document and make sure all the information is clearly presented. All the details should be correct and free from grammar and spelling mistakes. It is also a good idea to ask a family member or teacher to proofread it for you. This person should be able to provide constructive criticism and suggest ways to improve the document.
Valuable Personal Attributes And Skills
Trying to fill out a resume without work experience can be a challenge. However, you can make it look impressive by focusing on your personal attributes and skills. When working out which skills to highlight, make sure they are connected to the role you are applying for.
One of the concerns employers have about hiring people in high school is that they won’t take the job seriously. Highlighting reliability indicates that you will arrive on time and get the job done. This is sure to put employers’ minds at rest, and it will help you secure an interview.
Customer service skills
Many entry-level jobs involve talking with customers and serving their needs. Highlighting these skills shows employers that you understand this duty and can perform it well. It also demonstrates that you are likely to be a valuable employee if given the job.
Highlighting this attribute shows that you have confidence and can motivate other people. Instead of simply waiting to be assigned tasks, you are not afraid to take the lead. This skill also shows that you are ambitious and willing to work hard.
This is the ability to work well with other people as part of a team. This is a valuable skill in most entry-level roles. You need to be able to get along well with employees from all walks of life and establish a productive environment.
This covers a range of abilities that are useful if you are applying for a job in an office. This covers everything from having a professional telephone manner to being able to make photocopies. Highlighting these skills shows that you have considered the needs of the role and can meet them.
This shows your ambition and the desire to work hard to achieve your goals. Highlighting ambition and drive can easily make up for a lack of work experience. It implies that you know your value and are eager to show what you can do.
Employers appreciate candidates who can rise to the challenge and adapt to different situations. Highlighting flexibility shows that you can take the initiative to solve issues as they arise. You can put the needs of the job first and can remain calm under pressure.
This is an important skill to highlight if you are applying for a sales role. It shows that you understand the role involves convincing customers to purchase certain products. This ability allows you to speak with authority and convince customers to take your advice.
More Advice On Creating Your First Resume
We have put together an excellent selection of guides to help you, such as the Best Font for a Resume, the Best Free Resume Builders, as well as the Best Resume Introduction Examples, and the Best Opening Statement Examples For Resumes.
Next, because you might not have much work experience yet, check out How To List Volunteer Experience In A Resume, the top Leadership Experience Examples For Interviews And Resumes, and Top Entry Level Resume Objective Examples. Or, depending on the job you’re applying for, the Top Waitress Resume Objective Examples for 2023.
Lastly, let’s get that resume to stand out with the best Resume Accomplishments Examples, How to Tailor Your Resume to a Specific Job Description, the Top Hard Skills to Put on a Resume, and How Long Should A Resume Be?
You might also be interested in taking a look at the top Jobs That Will Hire You Today Even With No Experience, to give some insight and ideas!
It is a good idea to start applying for entry-level roles while you are still in high school. These jobs will allow you to gain some work experience, which will prove to be valuable in the future. Landing your first job can be hard.
Instead of focusing on your lack of experience, it is important to highlight your strong skills and personal attributes. You need to take the time to work out which of your characteristics will appeal to hiring managers. You may also have other types of achievements that can help you stand out from the crowd.
Good luck with your exciting adventures that lie ahead!