Whether you’re a current college student or a full-time member of the workforce, writing a resume as a recent high school graduate can be a challenge.
But even without a lot of work experience or a college degree to bolster your candidacy, you can highlight your skills and qualifications to differentiate yourself from the competition and impress the hiring manager.
What to Include in Your Resume
Your goal is to recognize and highlight the experience that you do have and tie it to the requirements as listed in the job description. For example, you might not have held a formal position as a manager, but perhaps you’ve trained new workers at your after-school job and helped your supervisor balance schedules and make deposits. Demonstrating responsibility and leadership qualities may help make up for the lack of an official title.
On the other hand, maybe you have little in the way of paid job experience but a lot of volunteer work on your resume. Don’t just match apples to apples.
Dig into your experience and abilities and focus on what you can do for a prospective employer.
Here are some of the experiences and activities that can be included on your resume:
- Academic projects
- Community activities
- Extracurricular activities
- Formal work experience
- Informal work experience (babysitting, lawn mowing, etc.)
- School activities
How to Apply to Jobs as a High School Graduate
Don’t assume that you’re not qualified for the job, just because you lack some of the ideal requirements listed in the job description. Hiring managers tend to list the skills, experience, and qualifications that they’d hope to find in the perfect candidate.
But, the reality is that this person might not exist. Further, the best person for the job might be someone who doesn’t have all of the requirements but has other things to recommend them, such as a positive attitude, the ability to learn, and excellent communication and people skills.
Unless you lack the essential skills for the job, it’s usually worth it to apply.
The only thing you have to lose is your time. Plus, the more you apply to jobs, the better you’ll get at writing resumes and cover letters, participating in job interviews, and networking your way into new opportunities.
If you’re a high school graduate who’s currently working on a resume, the following example, which includes both volunteer and work experience, will help you get started. Remember to customize your resume for your experience and for each job application.
High School Graduate Resume Example
This is an example of a resume for a high school graduate. Download the high school graduate resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
High School Graduate Resume Example (Text Version)
999 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 10003
Soon-to-graduate honors English major, with a solid history of work, academic, and extracurricular experience seeks entry-level management position with a top firm.
- Member of a number of academic honors societies.
- Held leadership roles in several athletic, academic, and school-related organizations.
- Received several honors and a promotion at a part-time job.
JOE’S CAFE, Southampton, PA
Barista, Fall 2020-Present
Was selected employee of the month twice for efficient, friendly service.
- Promoted to barista September 2020.
BERKSHIRE COUNTY PLAYHOUSE, Berkshire, PA
Assistant, Summer 2020
Coordinated rehearsal and performance schedules for the cast and crew of three one-week productions over one season.
- Created and managed social media accounts for the playhouse to market shows and activities.
STUDENT TUTORS AT WASHINGTON, Southampton, PA
Tutor, September 2019-May 2020
Instructed elementary school students on how to apply mathematic and scientific concepts to their homework assignments.
- Coordinated a weekend trip to the Philadelphia Zoo and designed a packet of math and science questions related to the animals and exhibits children encountered there.
Bachelor of Arts in English
(May 2021: Projected Graduation Date); GPA 3.9
XYY University, Pittsburgh, PA
Dean’s List Every Quarter; Fulbright Scholar (Oxford University); Lead Roll “The Music Man,” Spring 2020
George Washington High School (June 2017); GPA 4.0
- French Honors Society, National Honors Society, National Merit Scholar; Varsity Soccer Team Captain