Resume Tips for High School Students: The Very First Steps

As a high school student, are you feeling overwhelmed at the sheer number of websites (2,160,000 hits in 0.38 seconds on one Google search) that tell you how to write a resume when you have no job experience? It’s often called a Catch-22: I can’t get a job without experience, but I can’t get experience without a job.

Feel as though you’re facing an impossible task?

Simply thinking about writing a resume puts you ahead of most of the other teens looking for work. Taking the next step and writing your first – and very important – business document sends you to the front of the line of job hunters. Your resume tells the people who do the hiring who you are, what you’re about, and why you are worth considering for the job. It speaks for you when you aren’t there.

There are a great many resume gurus, how-to articles and blog posts, services, and templates available, both in print and online. Before you can put a terrific resume together, though, you must have a handle on what you’re going to say. To write the right stuff, you have to know what to write as well as how to write it. You must have a confident mindset. Confidence is an inner knowing that you are more than a match for whatever comes along. Actual job experience is secondary. How you approach a situation is your most important asset.

Everyone has confidence in their ability to do something. No matter what your circumstances are, there is some skill you’re good at. Tap into the confidence in that skill, no matter how tiny or bogus you think it is. Now, write down everything it takes to have that skill. Example: one teen’s first job involved doing several tasks at the same time. She drew on her ability to handle the needs of eight younger brothers and sisters when she babysat them to illustrate her ability to multi-task and manage a number of things going on at the same time. Yes, she got the job and did it well, too.

Here’s a cheat-sheet to help you prepare to write your resume:

1. Identify all the activities you feel confident doing

2. Break down all the skills involved in those activities and write them down

3. Do some research and find a resume template that matches who you are

4. Match your skills with words used in resumes

5. Write your resume, using both template and match words

6. Ask for feedback from people whose opinions are trustworthy

7. Make whatever changes or corrections you think you need to

Now you have put together a resume that showcases your skills and abilities. When it appears in front of a person who is doing the hiring for a company, it is a document that speaks well of you. This resume is honest, real, and will help you be considered for an interview for the job you’re applying for.


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