Creating a resume that will help you get your first job may feel like an overwhelming challenge. Not only have you never written a resume, you have not yet held a formal job. You may have all sorts of questions about what you should include on your resume, what it should look like, etc.

Fortunately, even if you have not held a formal job, you have education, experience, activities and skills that can be highlighted on a resume. There are simple formats you can follow that will help you create a resume that will lead to your obtaining your first job.

This blog post will cover:

  • How to format your resume
  • What to include on your resume when you have not yet held a formal job
  • What else is important in regards to your resume

For more information on developing your resume click here and click here.

How to Format your Resume

A resume does not have to be complicated. In fact, especially as a young person your resume should be quite simple.

Here are the basics:

At the top of your resume (starting on the left hand side), you will want to put the following information:

First Last Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip
Email Address

That is simple enough. Next, you will include your education. This is where you will put the school you are currently attending as well as any coursework outside of school that might be relevant to the job you are applying for. It is a good idea to put the heading in bold as show below:


ABC High School, Los Angeles, CA
Anticipated graduation: 2017                                                                                                                    GPA (optional): 3.5
Awards/Honors: National Honor Society

If your GPA is not particularly good you will want to leave it off your resume. If you can’t think of any awards or honors that you have received you will want to leave that line off as well.

Next is the section for “experience”. As with “education”, you can put the heading in bold as shown below. Remember that experience can include work that you have done that is paid and unpaid, formal and informal. You can include volunteer work as well as work you have done with organizations or clubs that you are involved in. You can use the format show below to detail your experience.


The Jones Family
Los Angeles, CA
June 2014-Current

  • Responsibility 1
  • Responsibility 2
  • Responsibility 3

ABC Animal Shelter
Los Angeles, CA
September 2015-Current

  • Responsibility 1
  • Responsibility 2
  • Responsibility 3


Once you have listed your experience, you will want to create a section for “activities”. Put the word “activities” in bold. Under “activities”, you will want to include any sports or clubs you have been involved with. This is also a place where you can put volunteer work if you have not already discussed it above. For example, you might put volunteer work where you were involved for a long period of time under “experience” and put shorter volunteer experiences under “activities”. See below:

List any sports, clubs or additional volunteer work here.

After your “activities” section, create a section for “skills and abilities”. This is where you will highlight any skills that you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for (computer skills, language skills, certifications, etc.). See below:

List skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

If you follow this simple format your resume will look professional and easy to read. Don’t forget to have a friend or relative proofread your resume once you have a draft completed.

What to include on your Resume When you Have Not Held a Formal Job

You may feel better now that you have the format down, but still be wondering what to put on your resume when you have not had a job before. The good news is you may have more experience than you realize.

It may be helpful to get out a notebook and think of all of the things you have done over the last few years for small amounts of pay, to help your family, or as a volunteer to help your community.

Have you done any babysitting, perhaps for siblings, relatives or friends? That is experience. Do you mow the lawn for your parents and grandparents? This is also experience.

Perhaps you have been responsible for feeding and walking the neighbor’s dog when they are out of town.  This is something you can put on your resume.

Think about the last few years. Did you volunteer on your own or with your family? Teens often have the opportunity to volunteer at an animal shelter or a food bank, or to visit with residents of a nursing home, for example. This is also experience that belongs on your resume.

As you write these things in your notebook, think about a few tasks that you did for each role that you had. For example: Dog Sitting

  • Responsible for feeding two dogs two times per day
  • Took dogs on a short walk in the morning and a half hour walk in the evening
  • Ensured that outdoors areas were clean

You can list as many tasks as you can think of that show you have been responsible. Volunteer work is great to highlight because you have gained experience from your efforts and employers will appreciate that you wanted to give back to your community.

Click here for an example of a resume including informal work experience. For more information on what to include in your resume, click here.

What Else is Important in Regards to your Resume

Format and content are key in developing your resume. Remember that your resume will give a potential employer an impression of you before they meet you. If your resume is full of errors the impression the potential employer will have of you will not be a very good one and it will hinder your chance of getting an interview. Here are a few other things to make sure of when creating your resume:

  • Make sure to proofread your resume. You should first review it and then have a friend or relative review it as well. Look out for spelling or grammatical errors, inconsistencies in your formatting and spacing, and that you are using the correct tenses.
  • Keep your resume to one page. As you obtain more experience, it is okay for your resume to exceed a page. When seeking your first few jobs, one page is preferred.

When a hiring manager looks at your resume and immediately notices errors, they will have concerns about your attention to detail. This will likely cost you the opportunity to interview for the job.

Remember that employers understand that you don’t have a lot of work experience and many are happy to be your first formal employer. They will appreciate that you made an effort to create a resume, especially if the resume is neat and free of errors. The experience you have in your past will help you become a good employee in the future.

Click here for more information resume writing for teenagers.

So, what do you think about the resume format for a first job?  Do you agree with what was said above?  Comment below to let us know!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}