Writing a resume as a high school student may seem like a difficult or a daunting task. You may be wondering, “Why do I need a resume?” or “What will my resume look like if I don’t have much work experience?”
It’s important to note that resumes have many benefits:
- Many colleges and universities require you to submit a resume along with your application.
- Thinking about what you’ve participated in and what you’ve accomplished can give rise to ideas for an essay topic.
- Having a master list of your accomplishments will come in handy when it comes time to fill out applications.
- References can ask for a resume to help them write a letter of recommendation.
- Some scholarships require a resume.
- Internships, jobs and study programs abroad usually require a resume.
The bottom line: you want to create a concise and easy-to-read document that best presents you and your accomplishments. Here’s how to do that:
- Make a List Begin with ninth grade and list all activities, awards, memberships, and academic enrichment programs by semester. Don’t forget the summers, including the summer for the ninth grade!
- Organize the information into categories Categories should include awards and awards, extracurricular activities, community service, sports, enrichment (think summer class or program), special skills (e.g. languages spoken), certifications and work experience (note this is not for nothing the latter! expect to have a LOT of work experience, and if you are busy with other pursuits, you don’t need to have paid work experience)
- Organize the information into subcategories and arrange by date Add details such as grade (s) and write a few sentences to describe each activity or achievement. Be specific about roles, titles, organizations and locations. Also write down any abbreviations so the reader knows exactly what you are talking about. Focus less on what the Key Club does (they know it) and emphasize what role you played in the Key Club during the years you participated.
- Format the information The document should be organized in a way that you think is clear and attractive. Use an 11-12 point, easy to read font such as Calibri, Arial or Cambria. At the top of the page, enter your name, home address, phone number, and email address. Ideally, your resume should be one page. Make sure this is the case no more than two pages. You can also include your school name, graduation year and GPA in the first section (if it is higher than a 3.5).
While creating your resume, here are some more tips to keep in mind:
- Begin each bulleted description with an action verb such as created, launched, managed, guided, or assisted .
- If there is an activity going on, use the present tense .
- Quantify achievements (e.g., 60% increase in membership, 50 volunteers recruited, etc.).
- Present your activities and achievements in descending order — From most central to you as an applicant to the least. For example, if you’re an environmentalist applying for a degree in earth science, don’t list your monthly, organized beach cleanups last. Likewise, if you’re a dancer, don’t list your year of junior varsity swimming at the top of your resume.
Finally, be sure to hire an expert, such as someone at International College Counselors, to proofread your resume and provide you with feedback.