Top Resume Tips for Teens
A resume is a guidebook to your professional life. Employers use this summary to see what you’ve done, what you’re doing and what skills you have that might lend themselves to an open position. It may seem overwhelming to write a resume when you don’t have years of work experience. Regardless of how many jobs you’ve held, it is possible to write a resume that will capture your capabilities and help employers see why you will be an asset to their organization. Here are a few tips to help you on that road.
1. Be honest
It can be tempting to embellish and add to a resume that seems stark. The trouble with lying on your resume is that the employer will expect you to have the experience you claim. You really do not want a job you’re not qualified for, so stick with the truth. Additionally, it can be embarrassing if you’re caught in a lie, and if you’ve already landed the job, you could lose it.
2. Take the formatting seriouslyUse a conservative font, watch your spelling and grammar, and be consistent. Be sure to choose the correct tense (past tense for previous work, present tense for current jobs). You want an employer to take you seriously as a potential employee, so keep that in mind when deciding your layout. Although a creative design is a chance to show your personality, it can also turn off some employers, so it’s better to keep it simple.
3. Use the objective to your advantageInstead of a meaningless sentence about your desire to make sandwiches, use the objective section of your resume as an opportunity to set yourself apart. You can use this section as a summary of what would make you an excellent employee and a description of what you’re hoping to do next. Help employers see who you are and what you’re capable of.
4. Think outside of the “employment history” boxIf you don’t have a lot, or any, job history, it’s a good idea to focus on other areas of your resume. For high school or college students, it’s a great idea to highlight your grades and extracurricular activities. If you have done any volunteering you can also dedicate an entire section of your resume to that experience. Highlight any position of leadership you may have held and list projects you spearheaded.
5. Focus on skills and achievementsEmployers want to know how you can fit into their organization. Let them know what computer programs you’re familiar with, which office skills you possess and what accomplishments you’ve made. Winning awards at school, church, while volunteering or at other jobs will show employers that you stood out among your peers, which goes a long way with employers.
6. Include job referencesSimply including references will show the employer you’re serious, so this is a great addition to your resume. Do your best to find references with whom you have a professional relationship. This doesn’t have to be a previous boss or coworker. A teacher, coach or other organization leader can do well to serve this role. Be sure these are people who think highly of you and will be able to represent you well.
7. Prepare to for employer contactWhen choosing what contact information to place on your resume, remember that employers will be using this to reach out to you. That means your email address should be professional and one that you check regularly. If you have to create a new address specifically for job searches, do it. Also be sure the phone number you choose has a professional voicemail and that anyone who might answer that phone will do so politely. Be sure your voicemail box is never full. Make it easy for employers to reach you, not a chore.
Keep the Focus on Your Capabilities
Unfortunately there is a certain stigma related to hiring teenagers. When creating your resume, try to express to employers how you stand out from their expectations. Show you have maintained good grades and have taken advantage of opportunities to lead in extracurricular activities and volunteering. Keep the content and design simple and straight forward. Above all, use your resume as a portfolio of your accomplishments and capabilities. If you can successfully represent how smart, responsible and achieved you are, you’re sure the catch the attention of hiring managers.