How to Write an Amazing High School Resume
The idea of writing a high school resume can be daunting to some students. After all, aren’t resumes for adults? With jobs and skills and all that? While it may seem strange to write out all of your experiences into the resume format, you’ll find that it’s necessary not only when applying to college, but when applying to things like jobs or internships. Read our tips below for how to write a head turning high school resume:
(Resumes aren’t just for jobs, be sure to submit them to your teachers and counselors when requesting college recommendations. Read more about requesting recommendations from teachers)
Step 1: The Basics
Resumes are meant to give employers, interviewers, or even teachers and admissions officials a general overview of you and your skills at a glance. The basic elements that are standard components of a resume include your full name, school name (with city and state), and a contact method.
If your school has provided you an email address, list it here. If you don’t have an email address from your school, feel free to provide a personal one, but do try and list something that’s somewhat professional. An address like “Jane.Smith@email.com” is a bit more reputable than “FrostyFlakes997.” The resume is a professional document and you want to communicate that same sense of professionalism to anyone who wants to review your bio.
Step 2: Include Your Coursework & GPA
This might seem like a no brainer but it’s surprisingly easy to forget. Don’t feel the need to list every single class you’ve received a grade in (that’s what transcripts are for), but do write out a general idea of the type of coursework you’ve taken.
For example, if you are in a specialized program such as International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP), you’ll want to indicate that in the “Coursework” section of your resume. Even if your school does not offer IB or AP courses, if you are enrolled in Honors courses or any other sort of challenging or advanced curriculum (dual credit college courses, specialized magnet curriculum, etc) definitely indicate this. The point of the resume is to help you put your best foot forward. This is not the time to be humble!
Also, you do need to indicate your GPA along with your coursework. An unofficial tally is fine for now (the official number is usually reserved for transcripts), but including the number helps give the reader a fuller idea of your academic career.
Step 3: List Jobs and Volunteer Work
For adults, this section is known as “experience” which is a term that may nor may not be appropriate for you just yet. It all depends on the purpose of your resume. If you have had jobs in the past, go ahead and list them under the heading of experience, and work backwards from your most recent position. State the position in a brief one line sentence. Use the active voice to list the duties that that job required and be sure to highlight leadership skills and other things that you’ve done well.
Manager, Jack’s Diner
Managed staff of sixteen waiters and bus boys during each shift
Maintained friendly atmosphere and professional environment that enhanced customer experience
If you haven’t had any paid jobs, but have instead only had volunteer positions, that’s fine too. Just be sure to indicate these things under the heading of “Volunteer Experience.” From there, the format is largely the same as it is for paid work — indicate your role, and then briefly give one or two bullet points that highlight the responsibilities and the benefit that you added.
Volunteer Camp Counselor, Springfield Day Camp
Led children in fun and safe activities
Worked with children to provide an exciting and educational summer experience
Step 4: Include Clubs and Activities
The process for clubs and activities largely follows the same format as above for jobs and volunteer work. The only difference is that these will all go under the heading of “Activities.” From here, the unspoken indication is that it’s more important than ever to emphasize leadership roles. Additionally, if you’ve been a member of the club for a long time and have transitioned across roles, this is even better.
National Learning Society - President (2018-2019)
President of national organization that emphasizes the importance of learning and education among students
Organized annual fall fundraiser in coordination with four other high schools
Varsity Soccer - Team Captain (2018-2019)
Varsity Soccer - Team Co-Captain (2017-2018)
Junior Varsity Soccer (2016-2017)
Step 5: Awards
This is the final element of the resume and the one most fun to write. Go ahead and give yourself permission to brag about yourself! List any awards or honors that you’ve been given, starting with the most prestigious at the top. Additionally, if you’ve been inducted into any selective merit-based clubs, definitely list those as well. It’s always a good idea to offer a quick line of explanation just to be sure that your reader knows what you’re talking about.
2019 Golden Boot Award - Soccer award given to rising senior who most exemplifies leadership
2019 National Essay Award - National contest among high school juniors to write an essay along a theme
2018 Regional Leadership Council Honors - Recognition given in honor of regional leadership in local community
Those are the basics!
Now that you have a general idea of how to format your resume, go ahead and get started on creating a preliminary draft. From there, you can continue to tweak the lines as you see fit and as is needed to customize your resume to the task at hand.
Remember these last few tips:
Use active voice when describing job activities! Active voice will make you sound like a leader instead of just a participant
List most recent work experience first
List most prestigious awards first
Keep it simple and make everything easy to read and follow
Keep everything to 1 page. Fiddle with margins and font size if you have to.
And that’s it! Do you still have questions about the resume writing process? Let us know in the comments below!
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