You must draft an impressive high school resume to prepare you for life after graduation. Whether you are trying to bolster your college applications or get a new job, a resume will help you prepare for life after high school.
In this blog, we are going to give you a step-by-step resume guide and show you how to create a strong high school resume that will help you achieve your dreams and aspirations.
A resume is a one-page document that summarizes your major accomplishments and abilities relevant for whatever professional goal you set for yourself. If the reader is a potential employer or admissions committee member, your resume should ideally show them that you are the candidate they are looking for. In order to accomplish this, your resume needs to highlight your skills (both technical and non-cognitive – but more on this later) and make you stand out from a pool of other candidates.
A resume is a one-page document, but you have probably seen longer documents similar to a resume – these are called curriculum vitae, or . The main difference between a resume and a CV is the amount of information they include. While a CV presents a detailed listing of all your academic and professional achievements that can extend for several pages, a resume is a concise summary of your qualifications and is usually just one or two pages long.
Another difference is the layout. CVs are organized chronologically and usually do not have to be adapted to each potential job (this is what a is for!). Resumes, on the contrary, should be customized to fit the characteristics of each position and do not necessarily include your full life story and background, but rather only the information that is relevant to the job you are applying to.
We should note that although most colleges do not require the submission of a resume as part of their application process, learning how to create a high school resume can still help you get into your dream school. For example, a resume may help you find a job or a volunteer position which can help you bolster your applications for college and be a competitive candidate. As you know, most colleges, including the , value well-rounded applicants. Furthermore, having previous experience and a strong resume can help you find an campus job or or an internship when you are in college!
So, whether you choose to tell your story in one or two pages, the information you present to your reader in a resume is what ultimately matters the most. In the next section, we will give you ideas on what information to include in your high school resume.
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Even though resumes are customizable documents and will vary depending on their purpose, almost every high school resume will have the following sections:
What you add to each one of these sections is totally up to you. Being such a young soul, we know you may be thinking that you don’t really have that much information to include, but after you check our useful suggestions listed below, we are sure you will be able to highlight your most relevant experiences to create a strong and compelling resume. Before we examine each section of your resume in depth, we invite you to pay attention to the tip below.
Tip: Do some active reading! As you read this blog, start brainstorming and writing down what you would like to include in your own resume. Writing down the items you want to include in your resume as you read our suggestions will keep them fresh in your mind and help you create the foundation of your resume. Once you have the content, you can use the template we provide at the end of this blog to organize it. Following these steps will make the process easier. Trust us!
This should be the first section of your resume, as it is the one that tells potential employers how to get a hold of you when they decide to invite you for an interview. The section should include your name, your last name, your address, phone number, and email address. If you have any type of social media account, such as LinkedIn, it can also be added here.
Tip: Your email address should be professional. If your current email address is composed of your nickname and the year you were born, or the name of your favorite cartoon character and the first three digits of your cell phone number, you may want to create a new account with a more mature and appropriate username. It is wise to use your first and last name to create a professional email like , for instance. This way, when your intended recipient sees your email, they will immediately recognize that it’s not spam.
Your summary statement, also called objective, is a one-sentence statement that highlights your qualifications and states your professional goal. Some people look at this as a catchphrase, or a slogan if you will, that will get your reader’s attention. Your summary statement should highlight top qualities you posses and those you know your potential employer values. You will have to adapt and customize your summary statement to the specific position you are applying to. Once you know what the company you are applying to is looking for, you can show them that the traits you highlight in the summary section are part of your skill set, and this will, unquestionably, increase your chances of being hired.
Here is an example for your reference (you can also see how it looks in the template we provide below):
An organized, patient, enthusiastic, and caring high school student looking for a tutoring job where my creativity, attention to detail, and ability to build rapport with students and explain complex subjects in a simple manner will be put to use.
The skills section of your resume summarizes the main qualities you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for. This section should be concise and include a combination of technical and non-cognitive skills. Technical skills, also called hard skills, are those that you gain through education, training, experience, or practice. They are teachable characteristics and are also measurable. Non-cognitive skills, on the other hand, are also called soft skills and refer to personal and behavioral traits that are developed outside of training.
Now, if you are thinking that academic knowledge and training are more important than being an agreeable person, think again. Non-cognitive skills are highly appreciated in academic settings and the workforce, as they are an essential component of your skill set that can pretty much determine the type of student and employee you will be. Therefore, if you feel like you do not have much training apart from that received in high school or not too many technical skills to show, you will be happy to know that, as a person, you probably have many soft skills that you have developed throughout your life that you can use to enhance your resume.
Here are some examples of both technical and non-cognitive skills (you will also find them in the template we provide below):
The idea is to show potential employers that you can be an asset that can bring value to their institution. So, be sure to look at the company’s website and determine the characteristics that it values in their employees. That way, you will know how to make relevant connections between what they want and what you can offer.
Tip: Ask some of your family members and friends to describe you as a person, as a student, or even as an employee. While you may not be aware of all the skills that you posses, they have surely noticed them and can help you discover how well-rounded you are as a person. What others think of us is a good indicator of how we come across in real life. In your resume, be sure to include a balanced list of skills to show you have potential to be successful in your new job. For deciding on what skills to include, you can read the job description and the expectation that your potential employers have of the applicants. These descriptions typically have keywords that you can include in your own resume. Think of how your own experiences and abilities relate to these expectations and include those skills that you possess and that would be most relevant for the job.
The education section of your resume includes everything related to your academic journey throughout the years. We know you are still in high school, but that alone speaks volumes! So, don’t think that you do not have enough to show in this resume section. On the contrary, there are many pieces of information that you can include in this section, as you will see.
In general, your resume should include your school’s name and its location, as well as your anticipated graduation date and your GPA (especially if you have a strong one). Additionally, to enhance this section, you can include information pertaining to any special courses you have taken, such as AP courses, honors courses, a co-op, and so on. If you have completed a professional development certification or have any other academic achievements, you can add them to this section. Remember that we discussed the importance of having technical skills, so you should include and highlight any training that have helped you develop these skills.
Did you notice that we chose not to use the words ‘professional experience’ or ‘work experience’ to introduce this section? There is a very good reason for this. Since your actual work experience may be limited (and if it is not, good for you!), we suggest you use this section to emphasize any relevant experiences you have had in a more general sense. These experiences can include paid positions, volunteer work, and even activities that you have participated in. The latter can include being part of a club, a sports team, participating in school initiatives and, in general, any activity that was scheduled on a regular basis and for which your consistent attendance and dedication were required. If you think about it, you have done much more with your life than you might give yourself credit for. You simply need to make a list of all these experiences, decide which ones are the most relevant for the position to which you are applying, and create a description for each (more on this a little bit further along).
Here are some examples of relevant experiences. Remember you are supposed to be brainstorming for your own resume and taking notes as you read, so look at these examples and write down your own.
Tip: Essential when writing your resume is the ability to highlight the skills that you developed while performing these activities, especially those that align with the required skills of the job you are applying to. To exemplify, if you were captain of the soccer team, you should incorporate in your description the fact that your responsibilities included motivating your team before the games, leading training practice on certain days, applying the strategies proposed by the coach while guiding your fellow team members in the field, etc. This will highlight your motivational and leadership skills, as well as your strategic thinking, and your ability to collaborate and communicate well with others. Not to mention your ability to build rapport, lead by example, and instill respect and trust. All non-cognitive skills that are appreciated in several positions, especially those that require working well with others and being a leader.
Once you select the experiences you are going to include in your resume, you need to decide how to organize them. The best way to present these experiences is by placing the most recent ones first, as they are probably the most relevant. Remember, however, that resumes are highly customizable documents, so you can also be creative and strategic about the way you showcase your information.
Make sure you include the name of the position or the job title you held, the dates of your involvement, a description of your main responsibilities, and some key words that show how you contributed to the job or activity. Start each description with an action verb (see our list below) and tailor it to the specific job you are applying to. Remember that you need to show potential employers that you will be a great addition to their company so, by looking at the company’s website, or finding out as much information about it as you can, you can determine the characteristics that the company values in their employees and connect those to your own skill sets.
Awards and Honors
This is the section of your resume where you can list all of your accomplishments without sounding conceited. If you have ever received an award or been nominated for one, it should appear here. If you won a sports competition, received a merit scholarship, were on the honor roll or the Dean’s list, got first place in a collegiate championship, wrote something that got published in the local newspaper or an official online platform, received a perfect attendance award, or any other accomplishment of the sort, this is the place to showcase your triumphs.
Hopefully, you will have something to show here, but if you still have not been officially recognized for your effort and dedication, you can simply leave this section out or even title it ‘Accomplishments’ and modify its nature a little bit. Instead, you can include your personal accomplishments that have not necessarily resulted in an award or prize. Some examples of this are giving a great presentation in one of your classes, participating in a science fair or any other competitive event, training for a sports event such as a marathon, and so on. Be introspective. Take some time to brainstorm, and you will find many good things to put under this heading.
Do you have anything left unsaid that may impress potential employers? Would you like to add any hobbies and interests that may relate to the job you are looking for? This section is the place to do so.
Tip: Be strategic! When adding hobbies and interests, showcase your leadership skills and any other characteristics you have developed or refined by pursuing these interests. Include activities that you genuinely like to do and are interested in, as they can support your qualifications and show that you pursue not only academic excellence but also social and emotional wellness. Participating in a community event, or in civic or social engagements, being the captain of a team sport, having tech hobbies, etc., are good examples of these activities.
If you have any references you want to include, it is always a good idea to create a section on your resume to do so. You can provide the contact information of three references or have that information ready to be provided upon request. These referees can be your teachers, any supervisors you have had, or any adults who are familiar with your volunteer work or any paid or unpaid job you have had. People who know you well will be able to speak to your abilities or knowledge in a particular area and provide a strong reference.
Before you add their information to your resume, you should always approach them first to confirm that they are willing to provide a good reference on your behalf. You should also inform them about the positions you are applying to and what these positions entail. That way, they will be able to reference your specific skills when discussing your potential to be successful in potential job. Remember to include only those people who have very positive things to say about you!
Check out our video to learn what kind of experiences Ivy League schools value:
With the information you have been writing down as you were reading this blog, we are sure that you already have a good amount of relevant content to start adding to your resume.
Remember that the structure is just as important as the content, and we are confident that you will be able to create both! Consider these tips:
- Keep the length of your resume to one page. Being creative with the layout can really make a difference.
- Add information in bullet-points and not in complete sentences. Remember that your resume should be easy to read.
- Use concise language. The information you provide on your resume should be easy to find by scanning the document.
- Plan in advance. If this is the first resume you are writing, you will need to plan ahead in order to give yourself some extra time to make edits to it. Give yourself a week to do your research and to brainstorm all the information that you want to include. Then, take six to eight hours to actually create your resume.
- Ask someone to proofread it. Once you are confident that you have created a good version of your resume, ask someone else to read through it and provide some feedback. Is it legible, comprehensible, and coherent? Does it have grammar or spelling errors? Is the information clear in terms of dates, names of the activities, and descriptions? Is there any relevant information that should have been included? Having an extra set of eyes go over your resume will help catch any typos or errors.
Check out a quick recap of how to format your high school resume:
Take a look at this high school resume sample to get an idea for how to organize your own resume!
Whether you have already had plenty of meaningful experiences to include in the different sections of your resume or not, remember that everyone has to start somewhere. What is truly important is to be strategic when showcasing your meaningful experiences. Creating a resume that has a good format and content is not an impossible task! We are confident that the information presented here will guide you in creating your first high school resume - a document that will present you as a well-rounded and strong applicant in whatever you decide to conquer next. Believe in yourself as we believe in you and trust that you have what it takes to approach this new stage in your life with enthusiasm, confidence, and determination to achieve your goals.
1. What is the difference between a CV and a resume?
The CV is a document that can have several pages, as it includes a detailed listing of your academic and professional achievements in chronological order. A resume, on the other hand, is a more concise document that summarizes your qualifications for the position for which you are applying.
2. How long should a resume be?
A resume is usually one to two pages long. Ideally, it should be just one page.
3. What sections should a high school resume have?
The most common sections are contact information, summary statement or objective, skills, education, relevant experiences, awards and honors, additional information, and references.
4. Should I add my email to the contact information section?
Yes! And be sure to have a professional email address (a combination of your name and last name is a good option).
5. What is a summary statement?
It is also called objective, and it is one sentence that summarizes your professional goal along with your qualifications.
6. What can I include in the skills section?
You should include technical skills and soft skills. That is, skills gained through training and education and skills that are more behavioral or personal.
7. What are some examples of relevant experiences to include?
Think of all the paid positions you have had, volunteer work experiences, and extracurricular activities you have participated in. Are you part of a club, sports team, or organization? Have you had a job in your community? Have you enrolled in any after-school programs or been involved in tutoring experiences?
8. How can I list my relevant experiences on my resume?
You want to include the name of the activity, the dates in which you preformed the activity, and a description of what your main responsibilities were. Start this description with an action verb such as managed, coached, tutored, participated, etc.
9. What information can I include in the awards and honors section?
Anything that you are proud of. Include any accomplishments such as scholarships, mentions, recognitions, successful participation in events, etc.
10. Should I include hobbies?
Yes, especially if they help you showcase your skill set. Any extracurricular activities where you displayed leadership qualities or communication skills and teamwork are important to include in your resume.
11. Who can provide a reference on my behalf?
Anyone who knows you well. A previous mentor or supervisor, a previous coach or boss. Just be sure to ask them before you include their contact information in your resume.
12. How can I format my resume?
Use bullet points instead of full sentences. Create a one-page document, ideally. Be concise! Lastly, always ask someone to read it and suggest edits.
13. Is a high school resume a requirement for college applications?
This will depend on the college you are applying to. Most schools will ask for a CV, rather an a resume. However, having a high school resume can help you gain experiences that can bolster your college applications!