As a high school student, you used to think resumes have nothing to do with you. Resumes are only for those with job experience, aren’t they?
Only now you’re looking for your first part-time job or internship. Or maybe you’re applying for college. Whichever the case, it’s likely that you need a resume.
How to write a student resume with no job experience? Keep in mind that employers or colleges do not expect you to have a long list of past jobs. They simply want to know who you are and what you’ve done, and that’s what resumes are for.
What should be on a high school student’s resume?
1. Contact information
Resume 101: Put your contact information on top of your resume. You want recruiters to know who you are and how to reach you when they want to hire you. Make sure you type everything absolutely accurate. This usually includes:
- Full name
- Email address
- Phone number
- City name and state
- Social media account (only if it looks professional)
Don’t use an email with a funny address like “[email protected]”. Don’t include your social media account if you look wasted in your profile picture.
If you also have a personal website or LinkedIn profile that showcase your past achievements, add them.
2. Resume summary/objective
A resume summary highlights who you are, while a resume objective describes what you’re aiming for with this resume. You can integrate both of them into a brief paragraph.
With no work experience, it’s best to describe your personality and relevant skills as a resume summary.
If you’re applying for a customer service job, it’s a plus to be an outgoing and supportive person.
If you’re looking for a children-related position, you might want to point out that you’re patient and considerate.
If you want to be a piano tutor, highlight how many years you’ve been playing the piano.
As for resume objectives, it’s acceptable to simply put “seeking an entry-level job in retail”, but if you want to stand out, think about why you want this job.
Do you want to help children discover their true selves? Are you passionate about helping people? Do you want to kickstart your education career with this tutor job? Are you looking to strengthen your communication skills?
Try writing a unique objective with passion and vision.
Some more tips to writing an eye-catching resume summary/objective:
- Short: Stick to 2 to 4 sentences. You want recruiters to grasp who you are in seconds instead of losing patience.
- Relevant: Speak to the job description. Don’t talk about your sketching skills in an english tutor application.
- Write your resume objective/summary AFTER you’ve finished the rest of your resume. Look through all your past experiences and ask yourself: what kind of person is she/he?
As a student, the education section might be among the top of your resume. Make sure to include crucial details including: name of school, city and state, enrolled date and (expected) graduation date.
If you have impressive academic performance, make sure you show it off by highlighting your GPA and academic awards as additional details. If you’re applying for tutoring for certain subjects, remember to highlight your grades for those subjects as well.
You’ve likely earned some valuable skills in school, such as computer softwares, research skills and teamwork skills, which are essentially what employers want from you.
Resumes often include 2 types of skills: hard and soft. Hard skills are related to specific technical knowledge, while soft skills are often personality traits that are valuable in every field. It’s better to have both hard and soft skills on your resume.
What skills should you include in your resume, then?
- First, dig through all your past classes or projects and make a list of what you’re capable of.
- Next, look closely at the job you’re applying for and highlight all the skills included in the job description.
- Finally, compare the two and circle the skills that are on both lists. Those should be on top of your resume skills section.
- In addition to those, also add some extra skills you have that also seem relevant to the job. For example, language proficiencies are useful in all kinds of fields.
5. Part-time jobs & volunteer works
Have you been a math tutor or a childcare volunteer? Put them in your resume.
Part-time jobs often demonstrate your soft skills such as teamwork, time management, sense of responsibility, and communication. Volunteering works the same way. Although they are unpaid, your responsibilities and experiences are often equivalent to a paid position. Moreover, they show that you’re willing to give back to the community.
Treat them as actual work experiences and list your responsibilities using bullet points and action verbs.
6. Extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities section is what makes you stand out from piles of student resumes.
How do you spend your free time after school? Have you participated in certain competitions or events? Do you play a leadership role in a student organization?
These experiences show your personality and your willingness to learn new things. Participation in student organizations is especially valuable because they are often similar to real-world work environments. Make sure you describe what you’ve accomplished for each experience.
7. Awards & Honors
Throughout your student life, have you received any impressive award or honor? Add them to your resume.
Scholarships, academic awards, competition awards, or certifications all count as special achievements. Even if they aren’t directly related to the job duties, they can show that you are hardworking and that you thrive in a competitive environment.
If you have certain projects that are relevant to the job, make sure employers see them. For example, show your self-made math teaching materials if you’re applying for a math tutor job. Or, show your artworks if you’re interested in an art-related position.
Again, resumes are not solely career histories. Everything belongs to a resume as long as it shows your capabilities and personality.
How to choose the right resume format?
Which section should go first?
As a student with no work experience, you might want to put the education section on top. However, if you think the skills section or the part-time jobs section can represent you better, feel free to move your education section backward.
As for the lists of experience underneath each section, put them in a reverse-chronological order. In other words, write your most recent experience first, and then backward through time. This way, employers can see your highest achievements first.
Simple guidelines for resume content order
- Most important and relevant ones go first
- Most recent ones go first
As a formal document, your resume should contain only classic fonts such as Arial, Calibri, Helvetica and Times New Roman. Keep away from script fonts and playful fonts such as Comic Sans. You want to look professional in a resume.
Feel free to use different font sizes to show the hierarchy of information, but use no more than 2 font types and no more than 2 colors beside black and white. Finally, make sure the spacing looks comfortable and easy to read.
Further reading: Free Resume Templates & Formats｜Create a Professional Resume
Resumes are meant to be scanned and read. The main purpose of the design of a resume is to make it easy to read and comprehend.
Not sure how to do that? Scroll through resume examples on CakeResume to get an idea of what an ideal resume design looks like. Next, download a suitable template, or try using a customizable resume builder to make your resume clean, clear and visually appealing.
You’re all set! Now use our resume builder to quickly and easily build a stunning resume for free!
High school student resume examples & templates (Downloadable!)
Like the design? Use CakeResume's free resume builder to easily make yourself a stunning resume.
Check out more resume examples on CakeResume!
4 bonus tips for high school students
- Write a cover letter to accompany your resume even if it’s optional. As a student with no work experience, sometimes your personality and motivation are even more valued than skills and experience. Talk about how you’re willing to learn and why you want that job. Also, share some stories that showcase your teamwork skills that aren’t included in your resume.
Not sure how to write cover letters? The Cover Letter to Land Your Dream Job：5 Basic Paragraphs & 10 Tips (Free Templates)
- Consider including a hobbies section if there’s some space left. Interests such as sports, music, arts and cooking can give a clearer picture of your personality and indicate that you are well-rounded. Be careful, however, with controversial or political interests that might cause confusion and doubt.
- Save your resume in a pdf file before sending. Word files often cause format and font distortions in different computers.
- Proofread and proofread! Typos and grammar errors show that you’re unprofessional and careless. Ask friends and families to proofread for you.
Further reading: 12 Phrases That Don’t Belong On Your Resume
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