Most kids and teens don’t know what a resume is, and that’s okay, you might not be old enough yet to need one. But I will say you will need one before you finish high school. With that being said, let’s get you started with what a resume is, and why it’s important.
What is a resume? A resume is a personal summary of your professional history and qualifications. It includes information about your career goals, education level, work experience (if any), activities, honors, and any special skills you might have.
Why do you need a resume? You need a resume to let jobs know; who you are, what you have done in the past, what you can do for them now, where you want to be in life and your skills and accomplishments. The employer will know if you are a good candidate before you even get a job interview. Most importantly, Your resume is the tool you will use to sell yourself.
A resume tells the working world about YOU. It includes things like: job experience, education, awards, and activities you have been involved in. This is needed not only for jobs (paid or unpaid) but often for college. Even as a teen, you have accomplished a lot, and potential employers even colleges, want to know what you have been through up until now.
Before writing your resume, think about: The type of job you want to apply for and tailor your resume around that type of job, Yourself- what are your strengths and skills that you want to bring to the job, The type of experience you have to do the job you are applying for. These are things you must list on a sheet of paper before typing your resume. Always include the dates (month and year) you job, club activity you participated in. Every time you achieve something, put it down on the list. This is only a list, a memo, not the resume. You use the list to create a resume. In some cases you might have more than one resume because you may want to apply for different kinds of jobs. If you are applying to work in an office, the resume might highlight your computer skills. But if you are applying to a camp, your outdoor skills or sports skills might be more important and you will want to call attention to those skills.
What To Put On A Resume
- Education/Academics: Schools you’ve gone to (with dates), academic awards achieved (year). Any special schools/classes you’ve attended.
- Jobs: Put down all the jobs you’ve had (year/month and for how long). Make sure you list the name of the job, the location of the job (city & state), your position and a reference person should they request it. Don’t leave anything out; you never know when you might need it. If you work or worked at a place for a long period of time and do/did a great job, don’t be afraid to ask for a letter of recommendation. Keep a record from eighth grade onward (as you get older you’ll probably drop the information on the lower grades, unless they were truly significant). Based on the job you are applying for, you might not use all of your information, only what the job is looking for.
- Skills: Computer skills (list programs that you know), CPR, theater lighting, photography. Make sure you feel confident with the skills you list. For example, don’t put down photography unless you’ve taken a class or are really comfortable with all the aspects of digital cameras. Be able to tell how you’ve achieved these skills, and be able to demonstrate them if necessary.
- Club/Groups, in school and outside: Clubs/ groups you belong to (indicate if you are an officer or creator of the club). This shows that you are a teamplayer, very important when trying to join a company.
- Sports: Include any special awards or records you or the team achieved. This shows competitiveness and desire to win. All employers wants winners and competitors on their team.
- Arts: Instruments you play and with what groups, art achievements, theater performances, etc.
- Community Service/ Volunteer Work: When and where you’ve volunteered, list of what you did. This shows that you are not all about yourself and you are willing to help a greater cause.
Remember, employers are looking for experience, but just as important, they’re looking for a person of character;one who has shown leadership, been active and shown responsibility. You never know what an employer might be looking for.
Review your list, and then create your resume. Your resume design should be a concise, professional, and up-to-date. The design of your resume is important so look at some samples on the internet or from some of your friends that work and copy one you like that is very basic. It should be no more than one page to start, as you get older and more experienced you can add a second page. Based on the job you’re applying for, you should tailor your resume to highlight the skills you have that are applicable for that job.
If you’re sending in an application for a job, and don’t know the person, you will also have to develop a Cover Letter. Read my “How to build a great cover letter”. This is a letter that introduces you, explains the position you’re looking for and why you’re qualified. Make it short and simple, a few paragraphs. If written correctly, it should catch your potential employers interest and your resume will go to the top of the pile so you’ll receive a phone call and a potential interview for the job.
Once you’ve completed your resume, go to your teachers and/or parents and ask them if and how you can improve it. Check and double check for spelling, typos, and grammatical errors (very important).
Your resume is a menu of what you have to offer a company. Just like a menu in a restaurant. If your menu does not sound tasty to the company who is looking for a great meal, they will look at another menu and put yours in the trash. On the other side, if your menu sounds good and is what they are looking for, then you will most likely be set for an interview.
Like always, please comment and good luck in building your resume. Look out for more resume, cover letter & job interview skills articles this month. Summer is right around the corner and it’s the perfect time to get a job.