Job Search and Resume Tips for High School Students

Job Search and Resume Tips for High School Students

It can be tough to know where to start when looking for a job as a high school student. It can be daunting to figure out what kinds of jobs are out there, and even harder to know how to present yourself as the best candidate.

Does the idea of formulating a resume that demonstrates experience you don’t have yet seem impossible? What do you even put on it? Do you need a cover letter to go with it? We’ve got some answers to those questions and more.

First Resumes for High School Students

It turns out, there are lots of ways for high school students to get experience that will look great on their resume, even without a formal work history. Have you been assigned to be an office aid or helped a teacher by filing papers? How about teaching little kids basketball skills at a summer camp? Have you done any babysitting, lawn-mowing, or house-sitting? Beyond that, have you led teams at school, organized the school newspaper, or worked collaboratively on a project?

These experiences result in some tangible skills that will add value to any company you work for. Any volunteering you’ve done also counts as work experience and looks great on a resume. Ultimately, you might be surprised at how many employers are eager to see your resume, even if you don’t have official job experience.

What to Include on a Teen Resume

There’s no one way to format a resume for high school students, as everyone enters the job market with different experiences. However, you can get inspiration by brainstorming categories to see what you might include. Every resume should have your name and contact information. After that, determine which of the following you want to list.

  • High school GPA (if it’s above 3.5!)
  • Education that matches the job you’re applying for
  • Extracurricular activities in which you’ve participated
  • Volunteer experience or community service work
  • Interests outside of school
  • Important awards or accolades you’ve won at school or in an extracurricular activity

Resume Template for High School Job Seekers

You’ll start your resume with an attention-grabbing resume headline. Essentially, it should be a short blurb that describes you. Afterward, you can follow with a section highlighting skills relating to the role. Your resume skills section will be followed by sections for education and informal work experience. We’ve got some ideas below for inspiration.

The Attention-Grabbing Headline

Your first resume headline should state who you are and a significant skill you’re bringing. In practice, that will look something like this:

Friendly High School Junior With Exceptional Time-Management Skills

The headline explains who you are (a friendly high school junior) and what essential skill you have (exceptional time management).

The important thing is to back up that claim with your skills further down the resume. You’ve claimed time-management skills. So, balancing coursework with other duties is an excellent way to support that claim in a profile section.

  • Editor of school newsletter
  • Experienced teacher’s aid
  • Excellent team collaboration skills
  • Member of the Community Performing Arts Guild

Additional Resume Sections

Afterward, include sections for any awards and honors, extracurricular activities, and applicable skills or certifications you’ve gained throughout your studies. That might look something like this:

Awards & Honors

  • Winner of Regional Debate Competition
  • Honor Roll, with a GPA of 3.8

For more tips on listing awards and honors, read How to List Awards, Scholarships, and Honors on Your Resume.

Skills & Certifications

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Time management, balancing coursework and extracurricular duties
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • CPR-certified

Lastly, include any informal work or volunteer experience that you have, from babysitting to working in the nursery at church to mowing lawns. The employer is looking to see that you committed, held a schedule, and completed assigned tasks.

More: What Are Professional Certifications?

High School Resume Example

Sarah Sutton
Address
Address Line 2
Phone
Email

Friendly High School Junior With Exceptional Time-Management Skills

  • Editor of school newsletter
  • Experienced teacher’s aid
  • Excellent team collaboration skills
  • Member of the Community Performing Arts Guild

Awards & Honors

  • Winner of Regional Debate Competition
  • Honor Roll, with a GPA of 3.8

Skills & Certifications

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Time management, balancing coursework and extracurricular duties
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • CPR-certified

Professional Experience

Russell Family, Dalton, GA
BABYSITTER For more than 4 years, regularly cared for two children aged 3-11, including pick-up and drop-off from school and activities and homework assistance.

Should a High Schooler Have a Cover Letter?

You might be surprised how many business owners are willing to offer the first position. Everyone had a first job, and many professionals and managers enjoy supporting teens seeking entry into the workforce.

However, they will want to get to know you to understand what kind of employee you are likely to be. Do you have exceptional problem-solving skills? Are you diligent and organized, or likely to be late continually? Have you balanced multiple priorities before, such as school and extracurricular activities? Do you understand the nuances of interacting in a social setting beyond high school?

This is where a cover letter comes in. As a high school student, one of the best ways to support a resume without formal work experience is to write a cover letter. This is where you’ll introduce yourself to the manager and share your interests outside of school, your post-high school ambitions if you know them already, and why this position is of interest to you.

Teen Job Seeker Cover Letter Example

Ideally, your cover letter will include your contact information and around three paragraphs. Impress with a professional format (you can use the example below), which begins with your contact information and then, ideally, includes contact information for the manager or HR representative.

Afterward, you’ll include two to three paragraphs in a professional font, keeping it under one page. In the first paragraph, you’ll start with why this job interests you, lead on to share more about yourself in the second paragraph, then wrap it up in the third paragraph/conclusion.

Cover Letter Template

Name
Address
Address Line 2
Phone Number
Email

Date

Contact Name
Title
Company
Address
Address Line 2

Dear Dr. Connor,

I am interested in applying for the weekend receptionist position at the Connor Veterinarian Hospital. I was very excited when I saw the posting when I brought our two family dogs, Max and Otis, in for their checkups. As you know, we’ve been bringing them here for over 10 years, and I love the friendly staff. After checking with Lindsey at the front desk and discovering that the position is open for any experience level to apply, I am taking the opportunity to submit my resume.

As a junior at Dalton High School, I understand the challenges of juggling multiple priorities and the need for time management. This year, I’ve had the opportunity to work in the office during one of my periods, where I’ve learned essential office skills. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned and put those skills to use for you. From answering phones, maintaining a professional and mature demeanor, and correctly filing documents, I believe my skills line up well with your job description.

As an animal lover, I look forward to helping others enjoy supporting their animal’s health through this role. I have an outgoing and friendly personality, and I’m always eager to learn and improve my performance. I appreciate your consideration, and I look forward to speaking with you further.

Sincerely,

Name

Landing the First Job

Many teens find that the most straightforward first jobs to land are retail or fast food because of the evening and weekend availability. Also, auto dealerships often need receptionists, and hotels are open during hours that complement classwork.

If working at a store or restaurant is not what you’re looking for, consider these possible options: babysitter, housekeeper, pet caretaker, yard worker, swim instructor, lifeguard, camp counselor, or tutor. A less formal position might be a better option if your school commitments are demanding.

Start Building Your Resume

This is a fantastic time for students who have a dream career in mind to get an entry-level position that can add value down the road. Suppose you have ambitions to be a veterinarian? Inquire about receptionist opportunities at the local animal hospital. Do you dream of being a teacher? Childcare is a great choice. A career aptitude test can help you figure out which jobs you might thrive in. While these roles might not be glamorous, they will help you start building your experience to support your resume down the road.


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