Building A Resume



A resume tells the world about YOU.  It includes things like: job experience, education, awards, and activities.  This is needed not only for jobs (paid or unpaid) but often for college.  Even as a teen, you have accomplished a lot, and potential employers even colleges, want to know.

First create a running list that includes everything, a permanent record of what you’ve achieved (sometimes we forget the great things we’ve done).  Make sure you include the name, address, phone number and contact person, if that applies.  Always include the dates (month and year) you participated in an activity.  Every time you achieve something, put it down on the list.  This is only a list, a memo, not the resume.  You use the list to create a resume.  In some cases you might have more than one resume, based on the type of job you are applying for.  If you are applying to work in an office, the resume might highlight your computer skills.  But if you are applying to a camp, your outdoor skills or sports skills might be more important and you will want to call attention to those skills.



What To Put On A Resume

  • Education/Academics:  Schools (dates) you’ve gone to, academic awards achieved (year).  Any special schools/classes you’ve attended.
  • Jobs:  Put down all the jobs you’ve had and when (year/month and for how long).  Make sure you have a separate list that includes the workplace address, telephone number, and reference person should they request it.  Don’t leave anything out; you never know when you might need it.  If you worked at a place for a long period of time, don’t be afraid at the end of your employment, to ask for a letter of recommendation.  Keep a record from eighth grade onward (as you get older you’ll probably drop the information on the lower grades, unless they were truly significant).  Based on the job you are applying for, you might delete a few positions,
  • Skills:  Computer skills (list programs), CPR, theater lighting, photography.  Make sure you feel competent with these skills.  For example, don’t put down photography unless you’ve taken a class or are really comfortable with all the aspects of digital cameras.  Be able to tell how you’ve achieved these skills, and be able to demonstrate them if necessary.
  • Club/Groups, in school and outside:  Clubs/ groups you belong to (indicate if you are an officer or creator of the club).
  • Sports:  Include any special awards or records you or the team achieved.
  • Arts:  Instruments you play and with what groups, art achievements, theater performances, etc.
  • Community Service/ Volunteer Work:  When and where you’ve volunteered, list of what you did.
Remember, employers are looking for experience, but just as important, they’re looking for a person of character—one who has shown leadership, been active and shown responsibility.  You never know what an employer might be looking for.

Review your list, and then create your resume.  It should be a concise, professional, and up-to-date.  It should be no more than two pages, preferably one.  Based on the job you’re applying for, you should tailor your resume to highlight the skills you have that are applicable for that job.

If you’re sending in an application for a job, and don’t know the person, you will also have to develop a Cover Letter.  This is a letter that introduces you, explains the position you’re looking for and why you’re qualified.  Make it short and simple, a few paragraphs.  If written correctly, it should catch your potential employer’s interest and your resume will go to the top of the pile so you’ll receive a phone call and a potential interview.

Once you've completed your resume, go to your teachers and/or parents on ways to improve it.  Check and double check for spelling, typos, and grammatical errors.

Here are two sites you might look at for ideas on how to write a resume, but there are lots more, as well as books.