Writing a resume when you're a high school student who doesn't have much – or any – prior work experience can seem daunting. A good way to get started is to look at examples of resumes and read tips on what to include and how to format your resume.
You probably have more information to put on your resume than you think. Experiences like babysitting, lawn mowing, and volunteering all help to show valuable work skills that employers want to see.
Just because you haven’t had a job like the one you are applying for, doesn’t mean you haven’t acquired the skills necessary to succeed.
High School Resume Examples
There are quite a few templates for a resume out there but here are a couple of websites with great examples:
- The Balance has a great example for a resume with no work experience
- AIE has a variety of templates and examples which are great too
Resume Writing Tips for High School Students
Here’s how to get started and what to include on your resume in addition to, or instead of, formal work experience.
Make an Outline. Make a quick list or outline of all possible experiences, paid and unpaid, to include in your resume before you try to find the right language to describe them.
Include Informal Work Experience. If you have formal paid work experience, certainly include it.
Otherwise, you can include informal work like babysitting, pet sitting, lawn mowing, shoveling snow, or anything else you've done to earn money.
Include All Your Activities. Since most high school students haven't held a lot of jobs, it is important to draw upon all aspects of your life which show you have the right character, work ethic, skills, and personality to succeed in a job. Mention your extracurricular activities, volunteer work, academics, and athletic pursuits. If you held any sort of leadership positions in these roles (such as secretary of a club or team captain), be sure to note this. For each item, include a bulleted list of your responsibilities and accomplishments.
Promote Your Attitude and Performance. Employers will be most interested in your work habits and attitude. They don't expect you to have a lot of experience. If you have perfect or near perfect attendance and are punctual for school and other commitments, you might include language like "Compiled a perfect (or near perfect) record for attendance" when describing an experience. If supervisors, teachers, or coaches have recognized you for a positive attitude or outstanding service, mention it in your description of the activity.
Mention Your Achievements. Employers look for staff who have a history of making positive contributions. Review each of your experiences and ask yourself if there are achievements in class, clubs, sports, or the workplace that you can include. If so, use verbs like enhanced, reorganized, increased, improved, initiated, upgraded, or expanded to show what you accomplished. Include any challenging advanced academic projects since this shows employers that you are intelligent and a hard worker.
Include Resume Skills. It's always a good idea to include skills related to the jobs for which you are applying. Here are examples of skills to include on your resume. You probably have many skills that you can include that you acquired in school, sports, youth groups, extra-curricular activities, or volunteering.
Use Action Verbs. Use active language when describing your experiences so you are portrayed in a dynamic way. Start the phrases in your descriptions with action verbs like organized, led, calculated, taught, served, trained, tutored, wrote, researched, inventoried, created, designed, drafted, and edited.
Keep it Short. Your resume doesn't need to be any longer than a page.
Include Your Name and Contact Information. Make sure the employer knows how to get in touch with you.
Proofread Your Draft. Review your draft very carefully before finalizing your document and make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Ask your guidance counselor, parents, or a favorite teacher to critique your resume.
We hope this helps! Come chat with us and we will be happy to review your CV.