How to write a teenager’s resume

Teens and tweens don’t have traditional resume information. Some college students still lack a traditional employment history too. It’s the old story “you have to start somewhere.” That means it’s up to you to convince an employer to give you an opportunity. The first challenge is to create a meaningful resume without being so nontraditional that it means nothing to a potential employer.

Start by making a list of things that you’ve done throughout school. Include special school projects, awards, summer camps, workshops, clubs, small jobs, elective subjects studied. If you have an exceptionally high grade point average overall or in a particular topic, especially if that topic applies to the job you seek, list it.

Next, sort the list out chronologically (in order of dates). Look at each item and try to think of skills that are used and how those skills might apply to a job.  For example, a school crossing-guard or campus host for special events must be reliable, punctual, observant, follow the rules, and be polite. He or she deals with parents, teachers, and students every day. A student council member most often develops good listening and public speaking skills, follows meeting procedures, deals well with people, and is well organized.

If possible, avoid listing organizations with religions, sexual, or political attachment.  If you have nothing else or that’s the majority of your experience, use it–especially if you are under 18. In my personal opinion, employers are less influenced by these things when hiring students or part-time help. You can worry about being politically correct after you have a real job long enough to prove yourself.

Now, create the first draft of your resume from the information that is relevant to your job search by putting the information in reverse chronological order. That means you need to list the most recent experience first and work backward. Be sure to include start and end dates and the location, which includes school or business name, city, state, and person who supervised or taught you.

Make a list of potential references and their phone numbers. Don’t put the references on your resume. Just have them available on a separate sheet. Don’t list your MySpace or Facebook page either, unless it is totally clean and scholastic in appearance. If you have anything on your pages that is weird, wonky, funky, or possibly illegal, take it down before you look for a job. I’m serious.  Over 50% of employers really check social media and are influenced by what they find.

Read Resumes for Students for more tips. Most of the resume tips on my website also apply to students.