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As the parent of a high school student, you realize that the application process has changed a bit since you looked for a job as a teenager. While you remember walking into a retail store, filling out an application and leaving with a job, you know that kids today are often having to provide resumes and cover letters, along with their application.

You would like to help your teenager in creating their first resume, without doing it for them, however you are not sure how to go about it.

This blog post will cover:

  • Steps to take to help your teenager create their first resume
  • Talking about education, skills and activities
  • Putting it all together

First Steps to Help Your Teenager Create Their First Resume

It is likely that the idea of creating a resume will sound pretty horrible to your teenager. You may get some eye-rolling and a lot of procrastination. There will be times when you think it would be easier to create the resume yourself than to work with your child on putting it together.

Helping your teenager build their first resume is all about helping them to gain the tools that they will need for their future and it is important to remind yourself that this is worth the effort.

A good first step is to familiarize yourself with what a resume for a teenager should look like. Click here for an example of a resume for a teenager with minimal work experience.

It is a good idea to set aside some time that will be specifically for working on their resume. Depending on where you live, you might choose to spend a few hours at a coffee shop, away from the distractions at home.

A notebook and a laptop computer (if one is available) will be helpful to bring along. Have some links prepared that may be helpful to your teenager.

Once you and your teen are sitting down together, encourage them to begin by making a list of any work experience they have. Your teen may argue that they have never had a job. While they may not have had a formal paid job, it is likely they have experience that belongs on a resume.

Their list can include any paid or unpaid work that they have done over the last few years, for example:

  • Volunteer work
  • Babysitting
  • Yard work
  • Chores done for family and friends
  • Pet sitting
  • Work done as a member of a club or team

Once they have completed their list, you can then ask them to write down all of the tasks that were involved in the experience they listed. For example, let’s say your teenager has done a lot of babysitting over the last few years. They can write something like the following:


  • Responsible for providing supervision for up to three children from infant to age eleven
  • Developed creative activities to engage children
  • Provided light household assistance to include cooking for children
  • Transported children to scheduled activities

You will want to encourage your teenager to do this for each experience. They should list as many things as they can think of; they can narrow things down when they put the information on their resume.

Remind your child that employers are not expecting teenagers to have years of paid work experience and many have no problem being a teenager’s first employer.

Once your teenager has completed their list noting each task under each experience, you can let them know that they have completed the hardest part of building their resume.

Talking About Education, Skills and Activities

After creating a list that includes their experience, you can next work with your teenager detailing their education, skills and activities.

First, you can start with education. Employers are expecting that teenagers have completed some education and they will appreciate that they are taking it seriously.

Education or courses taken that are relevant to the job the teenager is applying for will be very appealing to a potential employer.  If your teenager has received any awards in school, they will want to list these as well.

In their notebook, your teenager can write “Education” and list the school they attend, their anticipated graduation date, any awards received, their GPA if it is high, and any training or coursework that might be relevant.

For example, if they have taken a computer course over spring break or a class on CPR and/or first aid, they will want to note that here. This information may or may not seem important to your teenager, however employers like to see that a potential employee is making efforts to learn.

Next, encourage your teenager to list any skills they possess. Have your teenager think of the things that they are good at. Perhaps they get along with other people and try to help solve problems among their peers.

If your teenager is comfortable working with people and feels they are good at that, encourage them to list “customer service oriented” as a skill. This is particularly beneficial because a lot of jobs that are available for teenagers are in the service industry.

Does your teenager know another language? Even if they are not fluent, this is a skill that can be helpful in a variety of job opportunities. Have your teenager focus on skills that are fairly general and would be applicable to a variety of jobs.

As far as activities, this is your teenager’s opportunity to show a potential employer all of the things that they have been involved in, which is a great way to demonstrate commitment. This can include sports, clubs, playing a musical instrument, being a boy/girl scout, etc.

Ask your teenager to list the activity, and then provide information on what they did or are doing when involved in the activity. If they are in the marching band, for example, they can list that they have played the drums for five years and have been a member of the marching band for two years.

It’s great for a potential employer to see that your teenager has been committed to something like an instrument, activity, or sport as it shows that they are consistent and loyal to things that they care about.

Having had the chance to list all of their education, skills and activities will help your teenager realize how much they have to offer.

Putting it All Together

Your teenager should have a lot of notes about their experience, education, skills and activities. It is now time to put all of this information together in a resume.

To get started, choose a resume template. This will make it easy to create a resume; your teenager will just have to fill in their own information into a document or program that is already formatted.

Your teenager can then take the notes that they made earlier about their experience, education, skills and activities and plug it into the template. Remind them that they don’t have to use all of the information that have already written in their notebook.

For example, your teenager may have come up with eight or nine responsibilities for what they have done while babysitting. They will want to combine what they feel are the most important into four bullet points.

Resumes for teenagers should not be longer than one page.  Encourage your teenager to review their resume for any errors. A resume will give an impression of your teenager to a potential employer. In order to make a good impression, your teenager will want to make sure their resume is free of spelling or grammar mistakes, has consistent formatting, etc.

For more information on putting a resume together, click here.

Working with your teenager on creating a resume is a great opportunity to help them prepare for their future. The time you take with them on accomplishing this task will help them obtain the tools that will help in their job searching for years to come.

So, what do you think about how to make a resume for a high school student? Do you agree with what was said above?  Comment below to let us know!

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