Finding a job or any part-time work as a teenager looks easy. It seems like every teenager is seeking a job opportunity or internship, either to fill up their college application or to earn some money. Unfortunately, as if searching for a job wasn't hard enough on its own, one of the things required to obtain one is a resume. So, how does a high school student properly make a resume?
Shockingly little yielded when I searched for this answer, but fear not! I'll give you some insight into the tips and tricks I learned along the way when making mine, as well as how this can help you in your job search.
Pick a Good Layout
Just the way your resume looks can either make or break a potential chance of being hired. As a good friend of mine once said, "presentation is key." Remember, your resume is a reflection of you.
Employers don't want to hire someone who appears disorganized and messy. Having a neatly designed, clean-cut resume is a better indication of who you are, and what you'll contribute to any business. Adding too many details may distract from your skills and appear unprofessional.
You may be wondering where you can find a template to help you, or what the right program to design your stuff on may be. I highly recommend the software I used: Canva, a free graphic design program that allows users to make anything from documents to presentations, all for free!
Not satisfied with the options on Canva? Many templates for resumes follow the same style, so I'd recommend looking online for some inspiration.
Know How to Format a Resume
The next important thing to remember is how to format a resume. The templates above should've given you a good idea, but the best template in the world isn't going to stop you from making mistakes. That's okay, it's all part of the learning process, but keep the tips this article goes through in mind when crafting a resume.
Your resume should have "sections," or ways to organize your information. The basics include education (i.e. where you're attending school), contact information, experience, and skills. Others can include...
A short description outlining your career objectives.
Additional credentials or awards.
These will each be explored further in depth, but this is good general knowledge to build the base of your resume.
Write a Short Paragraph About Your Goals
I know not everyone does this on a resume, but I find it especially helpful to state out what your objective is. This not only helps you identify what you're looking for in a job, but helps employers better select who they want as a candidate.
Consider this as a way to share more about yourself. Are you seeking a position solely for experience or are you looking to get paid? Do you want to improve the skills you already have or build new ones? All this can be addressed in a simple paragraph.
Depending on what you're looking for, employers can more easily select you for potential positions. This also saves you time applying for a job or earning one you may not want.
Every Activity Is Important
It may not look like you have work experience, especially if you're applying for your first job, but you do have experience. Do you tutor your neighbors' kids? Have you participated in an internship?
Are you involved in a club at your school? These things may not be "job" experience, but these activities show dedication and determination, two very important qualities in the workforce.
Keep in mind that these should be organized a certain way on your resume:
List them from your most recent experience to your oldest.
Have your job title as your heading, with the organization you work for as a subheading underneath it.
Underneath each activity, provide a short description of the responsibilities you had and what you did in this position. Write in the present tense if you're still doing these activities!
I know these things seem tedious to remember, but on a resume everything must be done perfectly.
Mention Additional Credentials
This is the section that'll help your other accomplishments that may not qualify as experience shine the most. If you're a strong student, here's where you can talk about your GPA, extracurriculars, or any honors you might've earned.
"Honors" is a loose term that can encompass a lot of different things. An acceptance into the National Honors Society, perhaps? Or maybe it pertains to an AP Scholar award.
Not academically inclined? That's okay, there are plenty of other things this section can highlight. If you're an active community member or excel in other endeavors, show that to potential employers. This proves to them that you're not only hard working, but someone who seizes opportunities.
Use Buzzwords to Emphasize Your Skills
We often don't think about the skills we have; at least, not in the context of a job search. But the whole point of this section is to emphasize what you're good at (or as I like to say, hype yourself up!). So, phrasing your talents a certain way can really impact your whole resume.
Are you good at writing? Well, chances are you have "strong written and verbal communication skills." Are you an artist? Employers would see you as a "creative thinker." Taking basic skills that may not seem applicable to a job-related context and just rephrasing them is key to stressing the importance of what you can bring to the table, and differentiates you from other applicants.
Even practical things can be put in this section! If you speak another language, here is the place to highlight that. If you're good at meeting deadlines, mention that.
For as much as employers like to see unique skills, falling back on the good old reliables isn't a bad idea either. The most important thing is to balance both.
Don't Forget the Tiny Details
Only when you've finished the bulk of your resume can you skim through it for all the little details. Be sure to add your contact information, like your email, phone number, and location. If you're a student, include the name of your school and your expected graduation.
Additional points may include...
Never give your real address! Just the general location of where you live (ex. Manhattan, New York; Nashville, Tennessee; etc.).
If you're enrolled in a specific program or track in school, be sure to list that under the "education" section of your resume.
A picture of yourself isn't needed, so don't put one. Privacy is important!
I'm not going to deny that making a resume isn't easy. It involves a lot of planning, time, and commitment in order to finish. Trying to make sure that every miniscule detail is perfect can be exhausting at times, but is ultimately beneficial in the long-run.
Getting a job itself comes with its own perks: you get paid, it looks good on college applications, and it demonstrates leadership. That being said, developing these resume crafting skills now will ensure that you have them in the future when you're seeking employment as an adult. Plus, appearing very professional and put-together (despite your limited experience) shows current employers your maturity, and can put you ahead of your peers.
To any high schoolers out there searching for their first job, or any teens in pursuit of an internship, good luck! Hopefully this article is able to help you, and can guide you through the resume-building process. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but once you have your foot in door you will feel ready to take on anything.