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How to Create a Resume in High School
As a high schooler, it’s likely that this is your first time writing a resume for yourself. This resume can be key for securing jobs, internships, or a spot in a summer program you’re interested in. But making a resume in high school is a bit different from the resumes you’ll write when you’re older.
In this article, we’ll offer some pointers for writing the best possible high school resume. Let’s get into it!
What should I include on my resume?
For starters, let’s go over the main categories that should be present on your resume. Remember, you can adapt this to suit your experience. If you have nothing to add for a category, it’s totally fine to leave it off, especially as a high schooler.
Let’s start with the easiest part. You’ll want to have your basic contact information towards the top of the page. This should include:
- First and last name
- Phone number
- Email address (Make sure to use a professional email address – it should typically just be your first and last names or initials. If your current email address is unprofessional, make a new one!)
- Home address (If you don’t feel comfortable giving out your address, you can also put the city where you live)
For high schoolers, the resume objective is an invaluable part of the resume. It’s a section at the beginning of the resume which is usually 3-4 sentences that acts as a summary of your skills and ambitions. This is the part of your resume where your personality can shine through and grab the reader.
Since high schoolers tend to have less experience than older candidates, they can use the resume objective to show what they are passionate about, what they hope to do, and how their experiences so far shape their ambitions. Of course, this is a lot for 3-4 sentences, so choose your words wisely! The main advantage of this section is that you can speak directly from your own feelings and passions rather than purely describing things that you’ve done.
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Where you put your work experience section depends on how much work experience you have. If this will be your first formal position, you can exclude this section altogether or add it towards the bottom. For more on what to do without formal work experience, check out this section later on in the article.
On the other hand, if you have already worked a job, whether it was as a camp counselor, cashier, or babysitter, you’ll probably want to include it towards the top of your resume. Any prior work experience, even if it doesn’t seem applicable to the position you’re applying for, demonstrates responsibility and work ethic.
In your education section, you should list the name of your school, your GPA, and your expected graduation year. If your school has class rank and you are proud of yours, you can include it here as well. You can also include any academic honors you have received, such as the dean’s list. If you have taken any courses that are especially relevant to the position, you can include them here as well.
For many high school students, extracurriculars are the closest thing they have to work experience. Including them is a great way to show your motivation, responsibility, and passion. You can elaborate on each of these extracurriculars with a couple of sentences. Try to do more than just listing your responsibilities. Make each of your accomplishments generalizable and tailor it to show how your skills would carry over to the position you want.
Extracurriculars can include participation in clubs, volunteer work, and high school sports.
Other projects or relevant experience
Some of your accomplishments may not fall into any of the previously listed categories. Maybe you undertook an independent project or helped solve a problem in your community. This is a great place to list these accomplishments! As with anything on a resume, try to do more than just listing what you did. Describe the general skills you demonstrated in accomplishing it, to show your potential in the position you want.
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Hobbies & interests
While this section is typically not present on resumes among older candidates, it can be very useful in a high school resume. If you enjoy birdwatching, playing the piano, or NASCAR, you can list that here. If the person reading your resume also enjoys these things, it might make a personal connection. Plus, as many high schoolers struggle in filling up a page with their resume, it can help cover some space with information that is relevant to you as a person.
If you speak more than one language, be sure to include this information. Even if the position will not require you speaking any additional languages, it is an impressive feat and will be attractive to employers.
Also see: Top internships for high school students
What if I don’t have any formal experience?
It’s totally normal for a high schooler to write a resume that lacks any formal work experience. After all, everyone who’s ever worked has started off with no experience. If you haven’t worked in any formal positions, you can rely on informal accomplishments in your resume. These can include:
- Babysitting work
- Camp counselor positions
- Volunteer experience
- Sports team participation
- School clubs
- Informal work experience, such as lawn-mowing, snow shoveling, and leaf-raking for neighbors
How to describe your achievements
As a high schooler, you might feel as though your accomplishments are somewhat modest. You probably haven’t been in a position to accomplish any huge ideas yet, and that’s fine. Your resume should be less focused on emphasizing your achievements, and more on communicating the skills that you have demonstrated.
Mowing your neighbor’s lawns may not seem like a big deal, but it speaks volumes to a high schooler’s potential. You can describe how you kept track of your neighbors’ mowing needs, balanced your schoolwork with their schedules, and maintained the necessary equipment to keep their yards in good shape. This is a great testament to a student’s sense of responsibility and drive.
Make sure to tailor your professionality to the job you’re seeking. Unless you’re seeking a position in art or design, try to keep your choice of fonts and colors restrained and professional. You shouldn’t be using Jokerman font on an application for a desk job! Times New Roman and Arial are always safe choices, but many newer resumes are adapting sleeker, more contemporary professional fonts.
Finding a template
One of the best ways to produce a resume that balances flair and professionality is to use a template. There are many templates out there that you can use to make your resume directly in Google Docs, which is free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Resume Genius has a great list of templates that are entirely free to use.
These templates offer you a huge service by alleviating the need to determine the positioning of your sections, and they make it look very appealing to the reader. Just remember, looks aren’t everything. Before choosing a template for your high school resume, make sure that it actually accommodates the information you want to convey.
Adapting your template
Keep in mind, these templates are not set in stone. They often come with pre-written section headers, but remember, you can change these. Feel free to tinker with any template to make it suit your resume as best it can.
Also see: How to write a scholarship resume