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High school is a time for new beginnings and new responsibilities. In addition to increased study hours and extra-curricular activities, it is important to keep in mind that internships may be on the horizon for you. Now is the time to have your resume ready to go. A resume gives a potential employer (or college) a brief snapshot of who you are should entice someone to get to know you better.
Writing a resume may seem daunting, especially if you don’t have much work experience. So where do you start? Information. Gathering and organizing information is half the battle! Create a Word or Google doc with detailed notes about your schoolwork, activities, and work or internship experience. When you are ready to write your resume, choose a resume template. Use an easy-to-read format using a simple font such as Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri. Avoid templates that use multiple colors or complicated formatting. Limit your resume to one page.
Your resume should include information that falls under these seven categories:
1. CONTACT INFORMATION: Include your name, city (no street address necessary), state, phone number, and email. Keep in mind that your resume should present you in a professional way. Your email address should use some or part of your name (don’t use nicknames or phrases). Knowing you may get a call from a potential employer, be sure you have a proper outgoing voicemail set up.
2. OBJECTIVE or SUMMARY: An objective or a summary helps employers better understand who you are. An objective is a statement about a goal you have with regard to a job or internship position. A summary is a few sentences that sum up your experience, skills, and strengths.
3. EDUCATION: Include the name of your high school and where it’s located (city and state) and your expected graduation month and year. If you can, include the following:
- Relevant Courses: This usually falls within your Education section. No need to list all of your classes! Instead, add appropriate courses, such as AP or honors classes or subject areas that directly relate to a job or internship. For example, if you are seeking a journalism internship, include writing or journalism classes. If you are interested in engineering, include any advanced math classes.
- GPA: If your grade point average is 3.0 (out of 4.0) or better, include it.
- Academic Honors, Awards, or Memberships: Include honors or awards and memberships in any honorary society or other academic-oriented organizations.
- Specialized Programs: Perhaps you participated in a language immersion program or studied whale behavior one summer. Include the name of the program, when you participated in it, and a brief description.
4. WORK EXPERIENCE: This can be challenging for many high school students. Include any formal experience (part-time or summer jobs or internships). If you don’t have work experience, that is okay and you can skip this section. However, keep in mind that you may have more experience than you think! Did you babysit a family member or neighborhood children? Tutor anyone? Walk or care for pets? Those experiences count. Write a few phrases that describe your responsibilities or accomplishments.
5. ACTIVITIES / SPORTS: List any extra-curricular activities (within or outside of school) such as sports, clubs, or other non-academic organizations in which you participated. Describe any leadership roles or achievements.
6. COMMUNITY SERVICE / VOLUNTEERING: If you have participated in community service or have volunteered for an organization, include it. List the organization name and location. What was your role? Were you part of a group? Team leader? Organizer? Write a brief description of your experience.
7. SKILLS: Are you good with computers? Do you know how to use specialized software applications? Speak a second language? These are all skills, so include them (and be specific). Soft skills count, too. Think of skills that you excel in and would be beneficial to others. For example, you might be detail-oriented or an analytical thinker. Avoid skills such as punctuality or hard worker (those are expected)!
Your resume will be an an ever-changing document. It will need updating, reformatting, and editing on an on-going basis, so keep that list of information handy and up-to-date!