While it might seem daunting to have to create a resume when you have little or no work experience, it doesn’t need to be that tough. Your first resume might not have as much to say in terms of professional experience, but there is still plenty you can share about yourself and your achievements without making potential employers bored.
No matter what type of experience you have or the types of roles you’re interested in, there are a few tips you can follow to ensure you’re putting your best product forward. As your resume is the first impression you have to make in the business world, it should be a carefully crafted document that really helps to sell your strengths.
Before you get started creating your high school student resume, you need to have the best format to work with. Most resumes are done in a chronological format that easily highlights your most recent positions and through to your first, however, when you’re a high school student this list will be short or non-existent.
For this reason, it’s best to work with a functional resume format which puts the main focus on your skills and career objectives rather than the dates and roles you’ve held. This is a great place to list your achievements, soft and hard skills, and any unpaid experience you might have had so there’s less of a focus on your work history.
During high school and as you get closer to being able to apply for work, you should start making a list of everything you do that might be beneficial to list on your application.
There are things that could skip your mind such as being president of the French club that will look excellent on a high school resume, but that you might forget as it’s not actual work experience.
If you still have a few months to go before applying for jobs, get started doing things that will be beneficial to list on your resume. Volunteer for charity drives or aim to improve your grades, as all of these will be useful for building your high school qualifications.
Personalize Your Resume
Although your skills and experience might be limited, this doesn’t mean you should have one stock standard resume to send out to every employer you come across.
Take the time to make each resume unique for the organization or industry that you’re applying to, making sure that your skills listed and experience match the job description of what they’re looking for in a candidate.
Include Your Activities
When you’re lacking real job experience, you can use your activities as a great way to sell yourself and your interests. Things such as sporting clubs, professional memberships, and extracurricular activities can all be listed on a high school resume as a way to show off who you are without having to list any employment data.
If an employer is willing to hire someone out of high school this is exactly what they’ll be looking at to set you apart from the other candidates, so dig deep here. You should include any volunteer work you’ve done, sports that you play, and any academic pursuits you have.
Although they aren’t work experience exactly, they do show you have leadership skills and a motivation to broaden your horizons outside of the school curriculum.
Work Experience Counts
We often think of work experience as those jobs we held that paid a salary, but there’s nothing that stipulates work has to be paid just for it to mean something. For a high school resume especially, listing the unpaid work experience you’ve had can be just as good as naming real paying jobs you’ve held.
If you’re struggling to think of work experience you’ve had, you might not be thinking hard enough. Anything from mowing the neighbor’s lawns to babysitting friends and relatives children are great examples that show independence and motivation, and they might be just what a potential employer is looking for in their ideal candidate.
Mention Your Academic Performance
As a high school student looking for employment, often your academic performance is the only marker for others to judge you by.
Especially if you have good grades, it’s essential to put these on your resume so that employers can see the areas that interest you and where you have excelled. This works particularly well if you have good grades in the industry that you want to work, as it shows a genuine interest and motivation to join them.
Your First Resume Can Be Your Most Important
When you’re building your first high school resume, try not to think too much about the fact you’re lacking years of work experience. This is a great place to showcase your soft skills just as much as those you’ve learned and sell yourself to potential employers as someone who is eager to learn and begin a lifelong career in their chosen field.
As always with resume for high school student and beyond, it’s essential to have someone look over it to give their opinion and feedback on how it could be improved. With these early resumes, in particular, you might find there are some achievements you missed out or forgo which a parent can gladly point out to you.
In the absence of real work experience, having a grammatically correct resume with good spelling is the first step in the right direction and a push further towards your career goals.