Secure That Bag, But First Write a Resume
One of the greatest perks of being a high school student is qualifying for multiple opportunities like internships, academic programs and jobs. With these new opportunities, you can build your experience and knowledge, as well as, increase your academic and career competitiveness.
While we all want to be active in school and attend concerts, games and formal dances, high school can become expensive. Do not forget the fees for AP exams, standardized tests and graduation; you probably do not want to pester your family with all these expenses, especially if you have younger siblings or your family is going through financial hardships.
In the state of Maryland, the minimum working age is 14 if you have a work permit, which you can apply for with proof of potential employment. But, even before you begin looking for a job or applying for a permit, you need to write a resumé.
Resumés are your first impression when applying for almost anything in the real world. They provide you with the chance to display all your abilities, aspirations and accomplishments before any initial phone conversations or interviews take place.
A good resume gives your employer the chance to know you as a person prior to an interview, and if you want to make the best first impression possible and secure the position you are inquiring about, you need to know the fundamentals of resumé writing and how to distinguish yourself from the other applicants in the pool.
Your resumé should always include your basic information (home address, phone number, email address and full name), so whoever reads the document can easily identify and contact you. Be sure to include a professional personal email (this is not the time to be ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ or your MCPS student ID.)
Skills and Abilities
Second to your information, this is the most important and useful part of any resume; you need to display what you can bring to the table. Highlight the skills you acquired from any previous experiences. Whether it is your cooperativeness or punctuality, it is important for prospective employers to know what kind of skills and personality you can provide to their institution. Make sure you keep this section fairly brief and concise, as you do not want to appear as an obnoxious candidate. Never lie or include skills you are not proficient in; if you are asked to display those skills, the truth will come out, and you will automatically be disqualified.
Work History/ Experiences
The quality and quantity of past jobs or learning experiences increase your competitiveness among other applicants. There is no need to include too many details in this section; stick with the basics like the name of the company (or employer, depending on the specific job), how long you worked there, and a reference or phone number from a supervisor/manager. This is essential information for the employer to decide what position you would fit into.
It is always helpful for employers and officials to be aware of your future goals. Briefly explain why you are inquiring about this opportunity and how it will benefit you. This is a great way to incorporate a dash of your personality and remind whoever is reading your letter that you are more than words on a paper.
As a high school student, the only details that need to be in this section are your school’s name, address, and your grade level. If you are taking (or have taken) a unique, specific, or interesting track or set of classes relative to the position you are inquiring, you should include those details as well.
Once you have written your resume, it is time to review and embellish. It is always nice to have a presentable resume; it also helps you stand out (might even be a conversation starter). Aside from the fundamental and basic sections, there are other necessary features that should be displayed in your resume:
- You can look up templates online or use the options provided by your writing software (Google Docs or Microsoft Word)
- Label your sections! Everything should be organized and easy to navigate.
- Keep all your information on one page; you can make your font smaller, delete unnecessary spaces, or abbreviate and consolidate long phrases.
- Be sure to change your resume slightly to pertain to whatever position you are inquiring about. If you are applying to a medical internship, highlight your ability to work with scientific materials and your experience in laboratories. However, if you were applying for a secretarial position, emphasize your organizational skills and your friendly aptitude.
- Choose a color theme and stick with it! Do not overuse the editing tools on your software and do not add icons or images.
Resumés are a representation of all you have accomplished. This is your time to consolidate all that information and display it professionally. It is recommended to have someone you trust personally and academically to review your resumé before you officialize it. With all this valuable information, you can begin writing and perfecting your first (or fourth) resume that will hopefully secure your desired position.