For many high schoolers, the concept of a resume can be foreign. A resume is a formal document that lists one’s qualifications for a job—which includes their education, work experience, and skills. It is an essential part of any job search, so it is important for high school students to have one on hand. Resumes provide employers with an overview of an applicant’s experiences and gauge whether or not they would be a good fit for the position. Once you start taking on more roles and responsibilities, your resume can be easily edited to include those new ones. The challenge comes with crafting a resume for the first time, but we’re here to help!
What Should You Include In Your Resume?
Resume sections can vary, but the most common resumes contain these 6 things:
- Personal/contact information: This can include information like your first name, last name, phone number, email address, and/or address. This provides employers with an easy way to follow up with you since important contact information is listed.
- Education: This section lists your education history and any relevant academic achievements. High schoolers will usually list their high school, along with their graduation year, GPA, or any standardized test scores (like the SAT or ACT) taken. Other things that can be included are class rank, relevant college courses, etc.
- Work experience: Depending on whether one has work experience, this section is optional. Many employers do not expect high schoolers to have work experience at all, so this section is usually added on during your college years. Experiences listed under this section are usually formal paid positions, as informal work falls under a separate section. Summer jobs or part-time jobs are common forms of employment that high schoolers put in their resumes.
- Volunteer/extracurricular experience: This section should be the most fully fleshed out one in a high school resume. Involvement in school activities like sports teams and clubs would go here. If you hold a leadership position, it is important to note that as well. However, this is not limited to school activities; things that you do outside of school-related functions count as well.
- Skills/Interests: Adding your skills can make you a more diverse and appealing candidate. Some jobs require specific skills, so make sure to pay attention to what those skills may be and include them if they apply to you. For instance, many roles in the healthcare and education fields require employees to be CPR certified, so indicating that on your resume is key. Knowing how to speak different languages is also an important asset to employers. Including your interests helps humanize you as an applicant and provide some talking points during the interview. It is possible for employers to receive hundreds of resumes, which translates to less time spent reading each one. Thus, listing your interests can help make you memorable among the sea of other applicants and you never know—some employers might have the same interests as you!
- Awards and recognitions: Another way high schoolers can spruce up their resume is with this section, which includes any awards received. Examples of these could be being a merit scholar, completing a Girl Scout Gold Award, winning a state championship, etc. The list is endless. As you advance in your career, this section will ultimately be replaced with other experiences.
How Should You Format Your Resume?
There are a multitude of ways you can format the layout of your resume. Depending on the industry of the role you are applying for, there might be a standard format to follow. Traditional business—like finance or consulting—tend to favor more professional and minimalistic resumes. More creative industries like design, however, allow more flexibility in layout and color. Even so, it is important to have your name and contact information at the top of the page.
When it comes to the content and order of sections, there are 3 resume main types: chronological, functional, and combination.
Chronological: In this format, experiences are organized in chronological order with your most recent experience at the top. This emphasizes your work history and career progression.
Functional: Unlike the chronological resume, the functional one highlights skills over work history. Experiences are grouped under different skills. This type is usually not favored by employers or recruiters, but can be useful for applicants who took a break in their career and/or are changing industries.
Combination: As its name suggests, this type is a combination of chronological and functional resumes. It includes both a work experience section, as well as a skills section.
Tips for Writing a High School Resume
- Use bullet points: Bullet points make the information easily digestible and skimmable. :This helps employers save time when going through resumes. The nature of bullet points themselves also helps organize the page into clear sections, which increases readability. Try to keep the number of bullets under each experience consistent.
- Use quantitative descriptions when possible to demonstrate impact: By using numbers and statistics, recruiters are able to gauge the impact you had in that particular role. For instance, if you helped plan a club event, you can say “Organized club event for 20+ attendees in 2 weeks”. These numbers help provide measurable results to the experience.
- Use action verb: The goal of your resume is to showcase your accomplishments, rather than simply stating your responsibilities. Action verbs help set your resume apart from ones that use standard resume words, which are common words that hiring managers constantly see. Using action verbs can help give context to your experience by adding specificity and varied language. An example could be using “spearheaded” instead of “led”.
- Tell a story: Your resume is a cumulation of all the work you have done. Whether or not you have the right qualifications and experiences shouldn’t matter as long as you are able to connect the experiences you do have to the job you are applying for. Being able to identify related skills and relating it back to your own journey is crucial. If you want to work in customer service but have no prior experience, you can start off by pinpointing skills needed to work in that role, such as communication. Then, you would find an experience where you were able to showcase your communication skills to tie it all together.
High School Resume Template
Download a free high school resume template here. The formatting has been created for you, so all you need to do is fill in your information. Sections can be added or removed per your needs.
Student Hires aims to educate students in areas related to career development. We provide one-of-a-kind programs for students to explore different careers and gain relevant experience before transitioning into entry-level roles. Our vision is to transform communities—and that includes providing support to parents who play crucial roles in a student’s development. We hope to provide educational articles for parents that will help them understand their place in their student’s development not only in school, but in life as well.
To get a head start in your career, you should have a resume by the time you graduate high school. It also is a great way to keep track of and reflect on all your accomplishments during your time in school. Creating a resume is as easy as 1, 2, 3!