Need a job? On top of job applications, many companies prefer applicants to give them a resume. Sometimes they only want resumes and don’t even give out applications. First off, don’t be scared of writing a resume if you’ve never made one before. It may seem intimidating at first, but having one can greatly impact your chance of getting that job you want.
You may be thinking that you can’t build a resume because you have never had any “real” work experience. That is not true. Whether you realize it or not, you actually have a lot you can put on your resume!
A resume is basically all of your skills and experience written out neatly in a list for employers to easily and quickly look over. So, start with just making a list. By writing a list, you will have all the information you need to build a resume right in front of you. Then all you need to do is format it. (Don’t worry, I’ll help you with this step later.)
List your name and contact information, like your address, phone number and email. Then list your education. Write the name of your high school and your year of graduation, even if you haven’t graduated yet. For example, list “Class of 2015.” This shows the person looking at your application that you are working towards graduating from high school, which is an important and valuable accomplishment in the job world. If you have any college experience, even if only one term, write that down too.
Next, list your achievements and any awards you’ve gotten. If you’re proud of your high GPA, write it down! If you’ve made honor roll, or gotten any other award at school, write that down, too.
Then list your work and volunteer service. Did you have a summer job last year? Did you mow your neighbor’s lawn on a regular basis? Did you babysit your siblings or neighbor kids? Were you part of a club in high school that did projects around school? Have you volunteered anywhere? Write it down. All of these things are important because it shows the employer that you have valuable experience and skills.
Next, write down any skills you have that would be important to have at the job. Are your responsible? A hard worker? Are you able to use PC’s an/or Mac’s well? Do you get along well with other people? Are you outgoing? Are you organized? Write any thing like these that apply to you. These gives the employer an idea of who you are as a person.
The last part of your list should include all of your activities. Did you play a sport in high school? Are you in the band, choir, or orchestra? Did you win any awards in any of these activities? Write it all down.
That took a while. But now you have everything you need for your resume! YAY!!
Now, before you start to build your own, look at some sample resumes so you can get an idea of what one should look like. Google is a great resource. Here is a link to another website with lots of different examples.
Here is a sample resume for someone with little or no work experience:
Arlington High School, Arlington, Virginia
2002 – 2006
2004 – Present
• Provide pet sitting services including dog walking, feeding and yard care.
2002 – Present
• Provide child care for several families after school, weekends and during school vacations.
• Big Brother / Big Sisters
• Arlington Literacy Program
• Run for Life
Interests / Activities
• Member of Arlington High School Tennis Team
• Girl Scout
• Proficient with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and Internet
Once you feel comfortable with the format, begin building your own. At the top center of your resume, list your contact information. Make sure you don’t use a “silly” email that you made back in middle or elementary school. If you need, make a new account on gmail (for free!!) that uses a more professional looking email. For example, use a combination of your name, initials, and birthdate/graduation year. Lets pretend your name is “John Smith” and you were born in 1996 and you are graduating this spring (2014). Here are some possibilities:
After you list your contact information, continue entering information from your list into the format you chose to use. Generally, you should begin with your education history, then your work/volunteer experience, then positive qualities and skills, and finish up with activities such as sports or music.
Print your resume on white or light cream paper using size 11 or 12 point font. Do not use a fancy font, a simple Times New Roman or similar font is all you need. Any other font can be hard to read and distracting, not to mention look unprofessional, and might even discourage someone from hiring you.
Before you submit your resume, PROOFREAD it! Think you already proofread? Proofread again. And then have someone else look at it. After they have looked at it, bring it to someone else. You want your resume to be 100% error-free. TRUST ME.
Congratulations! You now have a resume!
As time goes on, keep your resume up to date with new education, work, or volunteer experience. This way, you will always have it on hand for when you need it!
Many teens today are looking for jobs. Some of you want some spending money, or are saving for a car, some may even be helping out with the bills at home. Whatever your reason for looking to get employed, having experience is necessary. I know you are all saying “How can I have experience, this is my first time finding a job?” Believe me I know what you are thinking, but there are a lot of things that you can do now to gain experience.
Teen Advisor.com tells us that work experience can be a paid or volunteer position. Which includes things like community service or volunteer opportunities. Lucky for you community service and volunteer opportunities are everywhere. Volunteer Match.org is a great place to find opportunities to help large organizations. If smaller groups and settings are a better match for you check with your local schools and churches.
The key to looking good to future employers is being involved, accountable, and driven. Good luck to you all in your future “work experience” opportunities.