Writing your first-ever professional resume is a challenge. How do you sell yourself to an employer, when you don’t (yet) have any experience in the field? In part, by mining your life experience and academic achievements to show that you’ll be an asset to the company, despite the fact that you don’t have any related job titles to show off at this stage in your career.
When writing your first resume, it’s appropriate to include jobs like babysitting, pet sitting, lawn mowing, and shoveling snow.
Also include volunteer experience, school achievements, sports, and clubs and organizations you belong to.
Before you get started, review information on the different parts of a resume and what is included in each element.
How to Impress a Hiring Manager (When You Haven’t Done Much Yet)
Start by scanning the job descriptions for the positions to which you’re applying. Look for keywords that indicate what the hiring manager values in a candidate – for example, the job listing might say “successful candidate will be a self-starter who delivers on time and on budget.”
In that case, despite the fact that you don’t have relevant work experience in the same field, you can get the hiring manager’s attention by being sure to include (and emphasize) projects that you’ve managed, such as high school clubs in which you held a leadership role and had to manage both your time and the team’s money.
The bottom line is that you have a lot more experience than you think you have.
If you start with the job listings, instead of with the blank page, the hiring manager’s keywords will jog your memory and help you to see the ways in which your academic career or after-school jobs have prepared you for this next step in your career.
Even if you’ve never held a formal job, you still have life experience that’s applicable to the job search.
Don’t forget to look at volunteer work, civic groups, and youth organizations (for example, the Girl Scouts or 4-H).
The following is an example of a first time resume for a high school student with no formal work experience
First Resume Example
6 Bristol Street, Arlington, NY 12133
Arlington High School, Arlington, NY
20XX – 20XX
20XX – Present
• Provide pet sitting services including dog walking, feeding, and yard care.
20XX – Present
• Provide child care for several families after school, weekends, and during school vacations.
• National Honor Society
• Academic Honor Roll
• Little League Coach
• Arlington Literacy Program
• Run for Life
Interests / Activities
• Member of Arlington High School Baseball Team
• Proficient with Microsoft Office, Internet, and Social Media
Cautions for Preparing a First Resume
Don’t lie. No matter how tempting it might be to stretch the truth, lying on your resume is always a bad idea. You might make it through this round of interviews and even get the job, but you won’t be able to deliver on the promises your resume offered.
Plus, you’ll probably be caught – and fired.
Don’t pad. You don’t need to include the line “references upon request,” or personal information beyond your contact info, or a bunch of unrelated hobbies. In fact, there’s a lot of stuff you don’t need to put on your resume, even when it’s your very first one.
Proofread. Nothing is less persuasive than a resume full of typos and inconsistencies. Have a trusted friend or family member proofread your resume before you submit it.