Applying for one’s first job may feel intimidating when you are a teenager, particularly when it comes to having to create a resume. You may wonder how to present your experience on a resume when you have not actually had a job.
As a teenager looking for work, you should keep in mind that even if you have not had a formal job, you still have education, experience, activities and skills that you can highlight on a resume. With some thought, teenagers can put together a resume that will be attractive to a potential employer.
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For more information on developing your resume click here.
Employers are not expecting teenagers to have years of paid work experience and many have no problem being a teenager’s first employer.
Employers are expecting that you, as a teenager looking for work, have completed some education. When creating your resume, make sure to include a section with the heading “Education”.
If you have received awards during the course of your education, you may want your heading to read “Education and Awards”. In this section, you will want to provide the information of the school you attend, your anticipated graduation date, any awards you have received, your GPA (if it is high), and any training or coursework outside of a typical high school.
For example, if you have taken a computer course over spring break or a class on CPR and/or first aid, you will want to note that here. This information may or may not seem important to you, however employers like to see that a potential employee is taking their school work seriously.
On your resume you will create a section with the heading “Experience”. This section can include experience that is paid and unpaid.
While you might think “I don’t have any experience”, you may have more than you realize. Pull out a notebook and think of the things you have done over the last few years for small amounts of pay, to help your family, or as a volunteer to help your community.
Perhaps you have been mowing the lawns of your neighbors since you were twelve. Or your weekly chore is to pull weeds in your family garden and water the plants. These things count as experience.
Many teens have babysat for siblings, younger relatives or neighbors. Others have been responsible for feeding and walking the family (or neighbor’s) dog.
These things are all experiences that can be put on your resume as long as you frame them the right way when including them.
Look back over the past few years. Did you volunteer on your own or with your family? Teens often have the opportunity to volunteer at an animal shelter or a food bank, or to visit with residents of a nursing home, for example. This is also experience that belongs on your resume.
Remember that notebook I mentioned to pull out? Under each experience, list a few tasks that you did as a part of that work. For example: Babysitting
In your notebook, you can list as many tasks as you can think of that show you are a responsible teenager. As you create your resume, the goal is to frame these as responsibilities you have excelled at to show your potential employer that you’ll be a good employee. Click here for an example of a resume including babysitting and dog walking.
Another section for your resume is one titled “Skills and Activities”.
Let’s start with “skills”. First, think about what things you are good at. Do you get along well with other people and try to help solve problems among your peers? If you’re comfortable working with people and feel that is a strength, you can list on your resume that you are “customer service oriented”. This is particularly beneficial because a lot of jobs that are available for teenagers are in the service industry.
Do you speak Spanish? You can state on your resume that you are bilingual and speak English and Spanish. Consider what it is that you are good at and highlight it in this section.
Focus on skills that are fairly general and would be applicable to a variety of jobs. Stay away from skills that are not related to the position you are applying for. For instance, if you are trying to get a job as a lawn care worker, it doesn’t make much sense to mention you are CPR certified.
As far as “activities”, this is your opportunity to show a potential employer all of the things that you have been involved in, which is a great way to demonstrate commitment. This can include sports, clubs, playing a musical instrument, being a boy/girl scout, etc.
You’ll want to list the activity, and then provide information on what it is that you did or are doing when involved in the activity. Should you be a member of the marching band, for example, you can list that you have played the drums for five years and have been a member of the marching band for two years.
It’s great for a potential employer to see that you have been committed to something like an instrument, activity, or sport as it shows that you are consistent and loyal to things that you care about
If you’re able to include highlights of your education, experience, skills and activities in your resume, it will help you realize all that you have to offer a potential employer. For more information on how to put your resume together, click here.
Taking the initiative to create a resume will make an impact on a potential employer. While you may not have earned a paycheck in the past, you can still be a great employee in the future. Click here for an example of a resume for a teenager with minimal work experience. You too can create a simple and effective resume.
So, what do you think about how to write a first resume? Do you agree with what was said above? Comment below to let us know!