As a high school student working on your resume, you may be struggling. Even if you have had a job before, you can’t imagine how you can make that one job fill a whole page. And if you have not had a job before, what do you put on your resume? How do you go about writing a resume that will get you a job?
You are not sure where to start and that is understandable. Creating a resume as a high school student can feel overwhelming.
This blog post will cover the following:
- Determining formal and informal work experience
- Other key things to include on your resume
- Examples of resumes for high school students
Determining Formal and Informal Work Experience
Usually there is a section on a resume that is titled: “Experience”. This section will grow as you work other jobs over the years. Experience includes work that is paid and unpaid.
If you have had a paid job before, you will want to include this under “experience”. As a high school student, you may not have had a paid job before. If that is the case, don’t worry. While you might think this means that you have nothing to include in this section, it is likely that you do have some experience that you will want to include on your resume.
Take a minute to think about the things you have done over the last few years. In addition to paid employment, think about work you have done for small amounts of pay from neighbors or relatives, perhaps for babysitting, dog walking, or yard work or maybe you have volunteered with an organization in your community. A lot of high school students have chores at home and those could be considered experience as well.
Make a list of the things you have done over the last few years. The following are common examples for high school students:
- Yard work
- Dog walking/pet sitting
- Volunteer work (for example, working at a food bank, working with young kids, animal shelter etc.)
- Chores like cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, etc.
- Cooking meals
Once you have listed these things, list under each the specific tasks you completed for each role. For example:
Job at McDonalds:
- Responsible for greeting customers and taking orders
- Took payment for orders and made change
- Responsible for preparing food items to include French fries, sandwiches and breakfast items
- Responsible for up to three children from two to ten years old
- Prepared nutritious meals for children
- Assisted with homework
Regardless of whether you were paid for babysitting, or any other informal role, this is work experience and it should be put on your resume
Including your formal and informal work experience will show a future employer that you have had prior responsibilities that have led to your gaining tools that will be helpful in future employment.
Other Key Things to Include on Your Resume
In addition to your experience, you are going to want to include your education, skills and activities on your resume.
Employers are not going to expect you to have years of paid work experience when you are in high school. What they are expecting to see is that you have completed some education. Another section on your resume will be for “Education”.
Have you received any awards while in school? If so you can title your education section “Education and Awards”. In this section, you will list the school or schools that you have attended for high school, the date you plan to graduate, any awards received, your GPA (if it is high) and any coursework that is relevant to the job that you are applying for.
Let’s say the advertisement for a job mentions that Spanish speaking skills are a plus. You can mention on your resume that you have taken three years of Spanish. If you are applying for a job working with kids, and you have taken CPR and/or First Aid, you will want to mention that on your resume, as that is something that would be appealing to the employer.
Your school work may seem like “no big deal”. It is just what you do every day. But employers like to see that a potential employee is taking their school work seriously.
Another section you will want to include on your resume titled “Skills and Activities”.
Take a few minutes to consider what you will want to include as far as your “skills” go. Skills are things that you are good at. There are all types of skills that one can possess. If you tend to make sure you don’t have any errors on your homework assignments, you may feel comfortable listing on your resume that you are “detail oriented”.
When working on projects at school, do you enjoy solving a problem? You may choose to add to your resume that you are a “problem solver” or “solution oriented”.
If you feel comfortable speaking with other people and helping them meet their needs, consider stating on your resume that you are “customer service oriented”. As many jobs that are available for teenagers are in the service industry, this is a great skill to highlight.
Any language skills that you possess should be noted on your resume as skills. Being bilingual in English and Spanish, for example, is a great thing to highlight and would be a plus for many employers. Take the time to think about what you are good at and include it in this section.
As you list your skills, focus on those that are general and could be seen as a plus for a variety of opportunities. Stay away from highlighting skills that are not relevant for the job you are applying for. When considering your skills, think of those that are fairly general and would be of interest for a variety of jobs. Stay away from skills that are not related to the position you are applying for. Your certification in CPR and First Aid won’t be particularly relevant if you are applying for a retail job.
For additional examples of skills to include on your resume, click here.
For “activities”, you can include things you have done or are doing that show a potential employer what you have been involved things outside of school over the last few years. This is a great way to demonstrate that you are able to multi-task and be successful in other areas while completing your schoolwork. Activities can include sports, clubs, playing a musical instrument, being a boy/girl scout, etc.
Make a list of the activity that you have participated in and note what it is that you did or are doing as a part of your involvement in that activity. If you have been a member of the basketball team and have been the top fundraiser among your teammates, you can list that you have been on the basketball team for three years and have been the top fundraiser of the last two years. You can also include the responsibilities that you have had during your fundraising efforts. This will demonstrate the skills you have outside of playing basketball and that you are will to commit and work hard at something that is important to you.
Including highlights of your education, skills and activities on your resume will bring to light all that you have to offer to an employer. For more information on how to put your resume together, click here.
Examples of Resumes for High School Students
To help creating your first resume feel less overwhelming, break it down into sections as described above. Also, check out examples of resumes for individuals with similar amounts of experience as you as this will provide you with ideas.
When you are creating a resume as a high school student, make sure to keep it to one page and edit I prior to submitting it to an employer. The person reviewing your resume will notice any glaring errors and this will impact your chances of being called for an interview. Watch for verb tenses and keep your format consistent.
Click here for an example of a resume for a teenager with minimal work experience.
For more on resume writing for high school students, click here.
In addition, here is a sample resume that we have created that you can use as a template as you create your own.
1234 Job Search Court, Los Angeles, CA 90048 555-555-5555 Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org
ABC High School, Los Angeles, CA
Anticipated graduation: 2017
GPA (optional): 3.5
Awards/Honors: National Honor Society
Experience (remember this can include paid or unpaid experience)
The Brown Family
Los Angeles, CA
- Responsible for three children aged 3-10.
- Prepare and provide nutricious meals one to two times per day
- Transport children to activities
Animal Humane Society
Los Angeles, CA
September 2015-May 2016
- Interacted with cats and dogs residing in shelter
- Cleaned cages and litter boxes
- Assisted with adoptions of animals
ABC High School Basketball team: 2013-current
Attend practice one to two times per day
Participate in games
Top fundraiser for the team 2015 and 2016
Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite
Strong written and verbal communication skills
So, what do you think about resume examples for high school students? Do you agree with what was said above? Comment below to let us know!