Writing a resume when you have not yet held your first job can be challenging. Without a prior job, you are likely wondering what you should include and how to get started. Fortunately, you have education, experience, activities and skills that you can highlight on your resume. While you may feel overwhelmed as you start the process of creating your resume, rest assured that there are plenty of resources available to you as you put it together.
This blog post will cover the following:
- What to include on your resume
- Other important things when creating your resume
- Examples of resumes when looking to land your first job
What to Include on your Resume
At the end of this post you will find a sample resume that you can use as a template. In the meantime, you may be wondering what to put on your resume considering you have never had a job before. It is important to keep in mind that you likely have more experience than you realize and there are different resume formats that can make you stick out from the competition.
As you get started working on your resume, get a notebook out and start to list the things you have done over the last few years, whether for small amounts of pay, to help friends or family members, or as a volunteer in your community.
Prior to obtaining their first formal job, many teenagers have gained experience by doing work for family and friends, whether babysitting, performing yard work, walking the neighbor’s dog, etc. These are experiences that you will want to highlight on your resume.
As you think about what you have done over the last few years, also consider volunteer opportunities you have participated in either on your own or with your family. Perhaps you volunteered to help out at an animal shelter of a food bank, or regularly visited a nursing home. These are all experiences you can include on your resume.
As you list each role you took on, include the specific tasks that you handled that were a part of what you were doing. For example: Babysitting
- Responsible for the care and supervision of three children ages 3-12
- Transported children to afterschool activities
- Worked with children to complete daily homework
You can list as many specific tasks as you can think of that will illustrate how you have been responsible. Employers appreciate seeing volunteer work on your resume as it shows that you not only gained skills from your efforts but that you wanted to give back to your community.
Other Important Things When Creating Your Resume
There are other sections to include on your resume aside from experience; these include education, skills and activities and a resume objective.
While employers are not expecting to see years of paid work experience when you are in high school, they will expect to see that you have completed some education. “Education” will be another section on your resume.
If you have received any awards while in school, you can use the heading “Education and Awards” for this portion of your resume. Here is where you will list the school or schools you have attended for high school, your anticipated graduation date, any awards that you have received, your GPA (if it is high) and any coursework that is relevant for the job you are applying for.
For example, you are applying for a job where the advertisement or job posting states that Spanish speaking skills are required or are a plus. You will want to mention that you have taken three years of Spanish in high school. Your Spanish speaking skills will help you to be an attractive candidate for the job.
You will also want to include a section on your resume titled “Skills and Activities”.
You might be wondering what your skills are. Take a few minutes to think about the skills that you possess. Skills are the things that you are good at and there are a myriad of possibilities for skills that should be highlighted on your resume.
Are you someone who always makes sure that you don’t have any errors on your homework assignments? If you are, than it may be appropriate to note on your resume that you are “detail oriented”.
Do you enjoy speaking with people and helping them meet their needs? Than you may want to include 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.
Take the time to think about what you are good at and include it in this section. As you come up with a list of your skills, you will want to focus on those that are general and could be considered a plus for a variety of job opportunities.
For additional examples of skills to include on your resume, click here.
Next you may be wondering what to include for “activities”. This is where you will want to include activities that you have done or are doing outside of school. This will demonstrate to a potential employer that you have been able to multi-task and be successful in other areas while completing your schoolwork. Examples of activities include: sports, clubs, playing a musical instrument, boy scout/girl scout, etc.
On some notebook paper, make a list of the activities that you have participated in and note what you did or are doing as part of your involvement. If you have been a member of the swim team, you likely have had swim practice daily. You may have been a top fundraiser for your team as well. This will demonstrate that you have skills outside of the pool and that you are willing to commit to hard work when it is something important in your life.
By including highlights of your education, skills and activities on your resume, you will showcase what you have to offer an employer. For more information on how to put your resume together click here.
As you are completing your resume, keep in mind that format, grammar and punctuation are important. Your resume will give a potential employer an impression of you before they have the chance to meet you.
A resume that is full of errors will give the employer a negative impression and you likely will not be offered the opportunity for an interview. Make sure to proofread your resume. It is a good idea to have a friend or family member review it also. Keep your eyes out for spelling or grammatical errors, formatting and spacing inconsistencies and that your tenses are correct.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your resume should not be longer than one page. As you gain experience, it is okay for your resume to lengthen. When seeking your first job, one page is sufficient.
Employers are aware that you don’t have much or any work experience and many are happy to be your first formal employer. Regardless of your having minimal experience, they will appreciate your having created a neat and error-free resume.
Click here for more information on resume writing for teenagers.
Examples of Resumes when Looking to Land your first Job
Breaking your resume into sections as described above will help make creating your resume less overwhelming. It is also a good idea to look at examples of resumes for others that don’t have any formal work experience. This will provide you with ideas and possibly remind you of experiences, skills and activities that you have forgotten.
When you are creating a resume prior to obtaining your first formal job, make sure to keep it to one page and edit it 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.
For more on resume writing, 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.email@example.com
ABC High School, Los Angeles, CA
Anticipated graduation: 2017
GPA (optional): 3.5
Awards/Honors: National Honor Society
Experience (remember this can include unpaid experience)
The Brown Family
Los Angeles, CA
- Responsible for weekly lawn mowing
- Ensure yard is free of weeds
- Water plants as necessary
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 Baseball team: 2013-current
- Attend practice daily
- Participate in 1-2 games per week
- Top fundraiser for the team 2015 and 2016
- Bilingual; English/Spanish
- Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
So, what do you think about resume examples for first job? Do you agree with what was said above? Comment below to let us know!