Writing a resume when you're a high school student can seem daunting. How can you demonstrate your aptitude for the job when you don’t have much (or any) formal work experience?
Here's the good news: Even if you're writing your first resume, chances are that you have more work experience than you think. Experiences like babysitting, lawn mowing, and volunteering all help to show valuable work skills that employers want to see. Just because you haven’t had a job like the one you are applying for, doesn’t mean you haven’t acquired the skills necessary to succeed.
One of the best ways to get started on your resume as a high school student is to look at examples of student resumes and read tips on what to include and how to format your resume.
What to Include in Your Resume
Informal Work Experience and Activities: If you have formal paid work experience, certainly include it. Otherwise, you can include informal work like babysitting, pet sitting, lawn mowing, shoveling snow, or anything else you've done to earn money. Even if you didn't collect a regular paycheck, informal work still displays skills and your reliability as an employee.
Since most high school students haven't held a lot of jobs, it is important to draw upon all aspects of your life that show you have the character, work ethic, skills, and personality to succeed in a job.
Mention your extracurricular activities, volunteer work, academics, and athletic pursuits.
List Leadership Roles: If you held any sort of leadership positions in these roles (such as secretary of a club or team captain), be sure to note this. For each item, include a bulleted list of your responsibilities and accomplishments.
Promote Your Attitude and Performance: Employers will be most interested in your work habits and attitude. They don't expect you to have a lot of experience. If you have perfect or near-perfect attendance and are punctual for school and other commitments, you might include language to that effect when describing an experience.
If supervisors, teachers, or coaches have recognized you for a positive attitude or outstanding service, mention it in your description of the activity.
Mention Your Achievements: Employers look for staff who have a history of making positive contributions. Review each of your experiences and ask yourself if there are achievements in class, clubs, sports, or the workplace that you can include. If so, use verbs like enhanced, reorganized, increased, improved, initiated, upgraded, or expanded to show what you accomplished. Include any challenging advanced academic projects since this shows employers that you are intelligent and a hard worker.
Tips for Writing a High School Resume
Make an Outline: Make a quick list or outline of all possible experiences, paid and unpaid, to include in your resume before you try to find the right language to describe them. Think of this as a brainstorming step and try to jot down as much down as you can. Your outline should include:
- Contact Information
- Summary of your qualifications
- Work experience
Include Resume Skills: It's always a good idea to include skills related to the jobs for which you are applying. You probably have many skills that you can include that you acquired in school, sports, youth groups, extra-curricular activities, or volunteering.
Use Action Words: Use active language when describing your experiences, so you are portrayed in a dynamic way. Start the phrases in your descriptions with action words like organized, led, calculated, taught, served, trained, tutored, wrote, researched, inventoried, created, designed, drafted, and edited.
Keep It Short (But Include All Necessary Information). Your resume doesn't need to be any longer than a page. Some sections of the resume—such as contact information and experience—are required. But others, such as an objective or career summary, are optional.
Tell a Story. Connect your experience and skills with the qualifications for the role. For example, if you’re applying for a cashier position, but haven’t yet held a job with that exact title, emphasize your customer service skills, facility with mathematics, work ethic, and ability to work as a team. Read the job description and match your experience with their requirements.
Proofread Your Draft and Print Copies: Review your draft very carefully before finalizing your document and make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Ask your guidance counselor, parents, or a favorite teacher to critique your resume.
High School Resume Example
This is an example of a resume for a high school student. Download the high school resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
High School Resume Sample (Text Version)
123 Forest Street, Charleston, WV 25329
Cell: (123) 555-5555 ▪ firstname.lastname@example.org
Highly focused and responsible high school student guaranteed to contribute strongly within a customer service role requiring enthusiasm, charismatic communications skills, and an exemplary work ethic.
- Communications: Convey information persuasively both orally and in writing. Facility for building positive relationships with others with humor, helpfulness, and cultural sensitivity.
- Teamwork: Able to apply lessons learned as a lettered student athlete to motivate and support all team members in assigned tasks and projects.
- Mathematics: A+ math student, with ability to use superb mental math skills to ensure accuracy in order processing, cash handling, and credit transactions.
- Technical Proficiencies: Solid command of Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and of social media. Swift learner, easily mastering new software systems.
George Washington High School, Charleston, WV; 3.75 GPA
Honor Roll, National Honor Society, Co-Captain, Boys Swim Team; Debate Team; Math Club; Student Math Mentor
Steve’s Lawncare Services, Charleston, WV
Gardener, June 2020 to Present
Provide ongoing lawncare services to 25+ regular clients. Communicate with customers to schedule services and define requirements; mow, weed, and rake lawns and gardens and shovel snow.
- Built a lasting clientele through word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers.
Habitat for Humanity, Charleston, WV
Volunteer, June 2019 to Present
Team with fellow church youth group members to contribute to Habitat for Humanity projects. Work on construction teams to erect new housing for low-income families.
- Conceptualized and coordinated fundraising Christmas bazaar that raised over $5K for organization.
More Resume Examples for Teens
Review more resume examples for teen job seekers:
- Student Resume Templates and Examples
- High School Resume Template
- Sample First Resume
- Sample First Resume - No Work
- Sample Teen Resume
No Formal Work Experience? No Problem: Emphasize informal work, like babysitting, snow shoveling, volunteering, and school programs.
Tell a Story: Review the job description and look for experience that demonstrates your fitness for the role.
Don’t Forget Attitude and Performance: If you have excellent grades, perfect attendance, or other signs of maturity and dedication, be sure to mention them in your resume.
Proofread and Edit: Make sure your final product is error-free and professional in appearance.