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Resume Tips for High School Students

Resume Writing Advice for HS Students


Close-up of a girl writing on a blackboard in a classroom

Include your school and extra-curricular activities on your resume.

ONOKY - Brooke Auchincloss/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

You might be wondering if high school students even need to create a resume. It does depend on the type of job which you are targeting. Most service sector jobs do not require a resume.

High school students pursuing internships will need to furnish a resume when competing for those positions. I prefer to frame the question differently - what are the benefits or advantages for those high school students who do develop a resume?

Since most high school age applicants will not supply employers with a resume, those that do will gain an immediate edge by appearing more motivated, mature and professional in their approach.

Students who have a resume in hand can canvass employers in person and leave a document with managers as a reminder of their credentials. If the hiring authority is unavailable when candidates stop by, the student can leave a resume for later review by a manager which might result in a call back for an interview.

Finally, students who develop a resume during high school will be more comfortable documenting their experiences during college and readier to apply for jobs or internships as they become available.

Here are some pointers for high school students who decide to compose a resume.

Resume Tips for High School Students

Include All Your Activities. Since most high school students haven't held lots of jobs, it will be important to draw upon all aspects of your life which show you have the right character, work ethic, skills and personality to succeed in a job. This means that your resume will likely be devoted more to school activities, volunteer work, academic and athletic pursuits than actual paid employment.

Make an Outline. Make a quick list or outline of all possible experiences to include in your resume before you try to craft the right language for your descriptions.

Promote Your Attitude and Performance. Employers for basic service jobs will be most interested in your work habits and attitude. If you have a perfect or near perfect attendance or punctuality for school or jobs you might include language like "compiled a perfect (or near perfect) record for attendance and punctuality" when describing an experience. If supervisors or teachers have recognized you for a positive attitude or outstanding service you should make reference to that in your resume description. For example, you might say "recognized by supervisor for providing outstanding service to customers". If you received a bonus, a raise or were given added responsibility like orienting new staff or athletic team members make sure you reference that distinction.

Use Action Verbs. Use active language when describing your experiences so you are portrayed in a dynamic way. Start the phrases in your descriptions with action verbs like organized, led, calculated, taught, served, trained, tutored, wrote, researched, inventoried, created, designed, drafted, edited and so on. Employers look for staff who have a history of making positive contributions. Review each of your experiences and ask yourself if there were any minor achievements in class, clubs, sports or the workplace as you carried out your role. If so, use verbs like enhanced, reorganized, increased, improved, initiated, upgraded, expanded and so on to point to the value that you added.

Proofread your Draft. Review your draft very carefully before finalizing your document and make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Ask your guidance counselor, parents or a favorite teacher to critique your resume. Include any challenging advanced academic projects since this shows employers that you are intelligent and a hard worker.

Review Resume Samples. It's always helpful to review resume samples to see what the final version of your resume should look like. Here are resume samples specifically for high school students.

Ask for Recommendations. Ask teachers, coaches, volunteer supervisors and activity advisors for written recommendations when you develop a positive relationship. You could create a simple personal website with copies of these recommendations and place a link to the site on your resume. You can also bring paper copies of recommendations with you when you visit employers and speak with managers.

Follow some of these suggestions so you can pull together a killer resume and separate yourself from the competition for jobs and internships.

High School Job Search Advice

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