If you have never created a resume, now is the time to try it. For this exercise, you will need the following materials:
Read the resume tips below and review the resume examples. Begin to draft the information that you would like to include on your resume.
When you feel you have written everything you need for your resume, begin typing it on a computer. If you are writing it in a class, save and share it with your teacher in the format that they would like to receive it (printed or email).
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 that 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, and academic and athletic pursuits than actual paid employment. Include any challenging advanced academic projects, since this shows employers that you are intelligent and a hard worker.
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 or 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 (rather than passive language) when describing your experiences so you portray yourself 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.
Keep it to one page
Use short, concise phrases in a clean, easy-to-read font such as Calibri, Cambria, or Arial. This is a document that will be skimmed, scanned, and glanced at, so you want your future employer to be able to find what they are looking for right away.
Proofread your draft. Review your draft very carefully before finalizing your document and make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors. Ask your guidance counselor, parents, or a favorite teacher to critique your resume.
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.
This content was created in partnership with the Financial Fitness Group, a leading e-learning provider of FINRA compliant financial wellness solutions that help improve financial literacy.