As a student, your success lies in reaching from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.
In the next few sections we observe how you detail your enthusiasm and streamline your expertise in your resume.
What is a Student Resume?
A resume is a concise document of your skills and experiences with respect to your professional career. It is usually one typed sheet of paper that outlines your experiences, including both the things that you have done and skills you have learned.
There are many different formats for resumes, and the format you use will vary more and more as you grow into certain professions or career fields.
For example, in the service industry you might include a photo of yourself on your resume, whereas in a STEM field, you’ll include a list of specific programs you’ve taken part in. For a high school student, though, it’s fine to keep your resume brief and fairly general.
When creating a resume as a college student, you need to emphasize not only your work history but also your education. You can also demonstrate your skills and abilities by including volunteer work and other extracurricular activities.
Who Should Use a Student Resume?
High School Student Resume
Getting work experience while you're still in high school is a great way to bulk up your resume for future positions. Not only will this help you earn some extra cash, it will give you an ideal way to demonstrate your work ethic when you're applying to university or looking for a more professional position later on.
The following high school student resume template demonstrates how you can effectively fill your resume with compelling information before you've landed your first job.
Your volunteer work, after-school programs, and extracurricular activities all tell potential employers about your ability to complete projects on time, work well with others, and stay organized.
Use this high school student resume sample to get some ideas for your own resume and job application. With a little creativity and some thought about your top skills, you can find a great position and begin your work history.
Common Mistakes for High School Student Resumes
The biggest mistake high school students make is assuming that they simply don't have anything to put on a resume.
Though you may not have a job history or lengthy list of impressive degrees, you can certainly find something to include.
Ask your friends, family members, and teachers what they see as your greatest strengths. This will give you some guidance as to what you should highlight most.
Don't neglect to include your current high school education on your resume at this stage.
As you'll see in the high school resume template below, you can properly note the fact that you're still in high school while providing some worthwhile information about your academic standing and when your employer can expect you to graduate.
College Student Resume
University students typically seek either jobs that will help them start their career or flexible part-time jobs that will allow them to support themselves through university.
Most career-focused jobs for university students are entry-level or internship positions, and they often offer candidates an opportunity to provide mentorship in their chosen field.
Most flexible jobs for university students are temporary or part-time positions that involve basic office or file management.
An eye-catching university student resume should cover the highlights of your work, and your volunteer and internship experience.
It should also describe any major accomplishments you have achieved or goals you have met and detail relevant skills you've learned over the course of your employment history.
Common Mistakes for University Student Resumes
When you're applying for university student jobs, watch out for some mistakes that candidates frequently make.
First, don't feel as though you have to reuse the same resume for each job application. Most university students apply for a variety of positions that require different skill sets. To emphasize and show off your skills, tweak your resume slightly to tailor it for each job description.
Making small changes doesn't mean you have to completely rewrite your resume for each application, though. Just make sure the most relevant accomplishments and skills appear at the beginning of each position description.
Next, don't hesitate to cull some of your prior job experience from your resume. If your work experience is somewhat limited, you might be tempted to list every job you've ever had.
Instead, resist that temptation and include either relevant jobs or volunteer positions in which you've had the opportunity to develop applicable skills.
Keep in mind that, if most of your prior jobs don't apply to the one you're currently applying for, a long list of employment history could do more harm than good.
Why do you need a Student Resume?
For most adults, resumes are just another part of a professional persona, but for teens, resumes can provide a valuable edge. In fact, they are absolute necessities for many selective summer programs, job applications, internships, and more.
Even if you’ve never needed a resume in the past, there’s a good chance that you’ll need one soon.
Resumes are often requested when you are applying for a job or internship. Even in application processes where they are not requested formally, they are nearly always appreciated since they provide a focused summary of who you are as an applicant.
Resumes aren’t just for work, either. Sometimes you will need a resume for a scholarship application, a summer program, or even to secure a volunteer position. Many students even include them in their college applications or make them available at college interviews.
While you aren’t guaranteed that you’re going to need a resume anytime soon, they are simple enough to build and valuable enough to have that you should devote a few hours to putting together a strong one.
You should always be prepared with a resume rather than regret that you don’t have one.
When should you use a Student Resume?
Writing a resume when you're a high school student who doesn't have much – or any – prior work experience can seem daunting.
Here's the good news: You probably have more information to put on your resume than you think. Experiences like babysitting, lawn mowing, and volunteering all help to show valuable work skills that employers want to see.
Just because you haven’t had a job like the one you are applying for, doesn’t mean you haven’t acquired the skills necessary to succeed.
How to Write a Student Resume
Below, we’ve listed some sample resumes that are perfect for high school and college students.
Choose the resume template that works best for you. Some resumes are geared toward a specific field. Others are general purpose and work for a variety of job types.
Look over the notes you took on your experience and skills. Think about what you will be putting on your resume, and choose your template accordingly.
This is where the real work begins. Now, let’s learn about the basic components of a resume and how to put them together.
Your resume will be divided into sections. Any resume should always include sections for Contact Information, Education, and Experience or Work History.
Aside from that, you can choose other sections to add, and decide how best to arrange them. Here are some you might include:
- Career Objective or Professional Summary
- Interests and Activities
- Relevant Skills
- Achievements and Awards
You may not need every section on this list. Choose the ones that work best for you. That way, the resume you make will be completely unique to you.
Let’s go through each section, step by step, and learn how to put them together.
Your contact information should always go at the top of your resume, so that employers can easily find it.
Here’s what you’ll need to include:
- Full name
- Email address
- Phone number
- City and state
- LinkedIn URL, if you have good endorsements and a significant network
HIRATION PRO TIPS:
Make sure your email address is professional. It’s best to use one that includes your first and last names, not a nickname or other reference. Have a mature, appropriate voicemail greeting on your phone.
- You don’t need to include your full street address. Only add it if location is important to the job.
- For example, if you will need to travel to multiple locations for that job and you live somewhere centrally located, showing your address might be beneficial.
A career objective statement is an optional part of your resume that acts as your “elevator pitch.” It tells an employer what you have to offer in just a few sentences.
Objective statements aren’t always necessary. However, for high school and college students who don’t have a lot of work history, stating an objective is a good way to quickly indicate how their experience lines up with what the employer is seeking in a candidate.
This section should be short and to the point. Let employers know, in 1-3 sentences, what your ultimate goal or objective for employment is.
A common mistake when writing objective statements is talking about how the job will benefit you, rather than how you will benefit your employer.
Stand out from the crowd by writing an objective that makes it clear why you’re the best choice for their business.
Here’s an example of a BAD objective statement:
Marketing or PR position in which I can use my Public Relations degree to gain experience and learn about the field. I have experience with a marketing internship and hope to learn more about using social media and modern PR techniques.
This objective statement outlines some personal goals but doesn’t tell the employer how they would benefit by them – it only tells how the job would benefit the candidate.
It’s also needlessly vague: “gain experience and learn about the field” isn’t specific enough to be of interest to employers.
There’s no need to mention that you had a marketing internship in this section, as that information can go under Experience or Work History.
Now, here’s an example of a GOOD objective statement:
Marketing or Public Relations position in which I can use my marketing experience to assist your business with modern PR techniques, including social media outreach, quality visual content, and online reputation management.
This objective statement tells prospective employers exactly what you have to offer. It provides details that might not be found elsewhere in your resume.
This is what the objective statement should do: provide specific, important information about what would make you a desirable employee.
For this section, you can go back to the notes you took about your skills in steps 1 and 2. Fill out this section using the skills that relate to the job you want.
Having a detailed skills section on your resume can make up for a limited work history.
You don’t need to list things like email or Microsoft Word under Skills. It’s expected that students will know how to use these.
However, if you’ve designed a website on WordPress, conducted interviews for the school newspaper, or have photography experience, you may want to put these on your resume. They show you have something to offer that other job seekers might not.
As with every section on your resume, always add relevant details. This section doesn’t need to be lengthy, but it is helpful to say what kind of photography you’ve done rather than just “photography experience.”
Here’s what your Relevant Skills section might look like:
Professional communication skills
Identify your skills and experience
Resume writing starts with brainstorming. Jot down your past jobs, internships, school projects, and volunteer work.
At this stage, don’t leave anything out. Past work that seems irrelevant to your current job search, like lawn-mowing or babysitting, might still demonstrate some skills that employers are looking for.
These notes don’t have to be polished. This is just information for you to refer to as you write your resume. Taking detailed notes about your past experiences now will make the resume writing process easier later on.
Consider which skills are most useful for the job you are applying for
If you’re looking for a customer service job, communication skills will be important. For an entry-level job at a bank, cash handling skills will be needed.
Look over the work history notes you took in step 1. Did you use communication skills to defuse an argument between the kids you were babysitting? Or did you handle money while volunteering at a fundraising event?
Write down what skills you used, and how they might relate to the job you want. This is an easy way to figure out what to put on your resume when describing your experience or skills.
By customizing your resume for the job you want, you can show employers you have the skills and experience they’re looking for.
To guide your brainstorming, here are a few skills employers might be looking for:
- Ability to work in a team
- Communication skills (written and verbal)
- Problem-solving skills
- Strong work ethic
- Analytical/quantitative skills
- Technical skills
- Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
See results of the NACE’s Job Outlook 2016 survey for more ideas on what employers look for in new college graduate applications.
The education section will likely go near the top of your resume if you’re a high school or college student. As you gain more work experience, you may move your education section farther down in your resume.
In reverse chronological order, list these details:
- School name
- Major or focus
- Degree and year obtained (either the year you graduated or that you expect to graduate)
If you’re a high school student, you can just put your high school name on your resume – no need to go back to middle or elementary school. If you’re in college, you don’t need to include your high school name.
If you are a high schooler who has been accepted to a college already, you can also state your college’s name and the date you will begin attending.
Don’t have a lot of work experience? You can talk about what you’ve learned in your courses in this section. Use a heading like “Relevant Coursework” to list classes or projects that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Make sure that your education can show employers that you’re motivated and committed to learning, even without much work experience.
Your Work History section (or Work Experience section) will list the past jobs you’ve had. Start with the most recent one, and list each job in reverse chronological order.
For each job, show the job title, the name of the company, and the length of employment. You can also include the city and state where the company is located if you’d like.
It can be appropriate to list internships or volunteer work in this section, if they are relevant to the job you’re seeking. You can also leave off any jobs that are completely unrelated to the job you want.
However, be careful not to leave any unexplained gaps in your work history. If you’re applying for a banking job but you worked in a restaurant for 2 years, it’s better to list the restaurant job than to make it look like you were unemployed for 2 years.
Give specifics about what your responsibilities or accomplishments were at each job. Bullet points are an easy way to do this. Use two or three bullets to describe the skills you used, or how you improved the business.
Here, you can describe skills or responsibilities from a past job that apply to the job you want, even if it’s in a completely different field.
For example, if you were to put your restaurant work history on a resume for a banking job, it might look like this:
Server, The Mad Crab, summers 2013-2015
- Gave fast, friendly service to up to 8 tables at a time
- Learned Aloha software for taking orders and payments
- Counted money and closed cash registers after evening shifts
With this work history listing, you’ve shown that you can provide good customer service in a busy environment, learn new computer software, and reliably handle cash registers. These are all skills you might use at a banking job, even though your experience was at a restaurant.
Remember to be detailed and specific in your Work History section. Saying “good customer service” is not enough. Employers want to know exactly what you did or learned so they know what you have to offer as an employee.
More experiences to add:
Volunteer and campus experience: Haven't held a lot of jobs? That's not necessarily a problem if you've ever volunteered or been involved with an on-campus organizations, such as the student newspaper, an a cappella group, an LGBT group, or anything else.
Emphasize any leadership roles you have played, and any accomplishments made or skills developed that might relate to your career needs in your description of these roles.
Involvement in sports or a sorority or fraternity can also be included, especially if it can be framed to show off leadership skills or your ability to work well in a team. Here's how to include volunteer work on your resume.
Relate your abilities to jobs: Look carefully at the jobs you want, and develop your resume with the positions in mind. (Here's information on how to decode a job posting.)
If the position calls for programming knowledge, you can call out your relevant coursework in a qualifications section.
Or, if the ability to be organized and reliable pops up in the job ad, you can make sure those skills are emphasized in your job descriptions on your resume.
List honors and skills: If you've received any awards, you can break out an honors section to list them. You can also have a skills section where you list soft skills as well as any programs, languages, or certifications you have.
When you're first getting started writing a resume as a student, include as much information as possible. You can always edit it down later!
Aim to have your resume be a single page — longer than that is excessive for someone just starting out in a career.
Achievements and Awards
Maybe you were in the Honor Society, or were Employee of the Month. Awards, honors, and achievements from your academics, activities, or jobs are worth listing on a resume.
Here’s an example Achievements and Awards section:
- National Honor Society member, 2015-2016
- Employee of the Month, Cloud City Coffee, October 2014
- EngineerGirl Essay Contest Finalist, June 2014
Interests and Activities
For students who are new to the job market, interests and activities are a good way to show employers you have skills they are looking for.
If you were on a sports team, or were active in the chess club, those can show you are a team player. If you took dance lessons for 10 years, that shows you are passionate and committed.
As with your Work History section, in this section you’ll want to mention what you did, where you did it, and how long you did it for.
If you didn’t have much work history to list, you could add details about specific responsibilities or skills related to your interests and activities. Just make sure it’s all relevant to your job search.
Classical piano student, Meter Music School, Dec 2013-present
- Weekly lessons plus minimum 3 hours of practice
- Assistant teach monthly beginner’s classes
4-H Club President, “24 Carrots Club,” Sept 2012-Sept 2013
- Ran meetings of the 24 Carrots 4-H horse club, planned fundraising events, and organized volunteering at a local horse farm
These activities show commitment, responsibility, and leadership. Information like this can help employers realize that you could be the best candidate for the job.
- A summary statement that highlights your capabilities and demonstrates what you bring to the job
- Personal attributes that will help you to transition into the work environment
- Any achievements, commendations or awards you received at high school that show you are honest and reliable
- Any volunteer placements that demonstrate your willingness to contribute to the community
Other things you can put on your resume include:
- Any sporting or community club participation (if relevant to the job)
- Work placements or work experience that show you know how to work in a professional environment
- Key skills that demonstrate your employability (and examples of their use)
- Written testimonials provided by supervisors, sporting club coaches, teachers or others involved in volunteer and community clubs
- Any hobbies or interests that are relevant to the job
You don’t want to list references on your actual student resume, but it’s important that you are able to provide at least three positive referrals.
Be sure to talk to previous employers, instructors, coaches, or community leaders in advance before listing them as a reference. You don’t want them to be taken off guard when a potential employer calls to ask about you.
Plus, it’s common courtesy to ask permission before providing names and contact information.
Your resume must be polished and spotless (which you can make a reality by using a resume builder). Have a trusted source look it over for you and be open to receiving suggestions for improvements.
It’s smart to even have more than one person proof read your resume, as small errors are easy to miss but can certainly make a poor impression.
Brag a Bit
It’s okay to brag a bit on your resume. You want to avoid common resume mistakes like coming across as smug when you write a student resume, but do list any awards or achievements you may have.
For example, list your GPA if it’s above a 3.0. As a student or recent graduate, this is a perfect way to show your dedication and ability to succeed.
You can even add a section to your resume for special accolades. These extras can go under the heading of “Honors and Awards” or “Achievements.”
You can include promotions or added duties given by your supervisor, ways in which you improved a work related issue, or even a raise you were given. These kinds of things can truly stand out on a resume with limited work experience.
Show Off Your Top Skills
Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to offer. What you lack in direct job experience, you may possess through life experience or volunteer work.
Be sure to list any accomplishments you feel may stand out to potential employers. Such things may include student jobs, volunteer experiences, summer work, or even extra work you’ve taken on for family or teachers.
You can also add fraternities, sports, or club experiences. These activities show employers that you can work as part of a team, have leadership skills, and can interact with others.
This is the final step in creating a great resume that will get you a great job.
Employers will often pass up a resume that’s full of typos and mistakes, even if the content is impressive.
Show employers you are detail-oriented and organized by proofreading your resume. Before sending your resume out, double check it for spelling and grammar errors. If you can, have a friend look over it to catch anything you might have missed.
- Keep your resume short and simple – resumes should be no more than one page.
- Focus on relevant skills and experiences – two weekends of mowing your neighbour’s lawn is not worth mentioning if you’re applying an accounting assistant position.
- Avoid needless information – your resume doesn’t need to include your elementary school, a picture of you, or other things employers won’t care about. Focus on the areas where you think you may have an edge over other candidates.
- Format for easy reading: the most important or newest information goes at the top, to the least important or oldest at the bottom.
When you're still in school or newly graduated, you may feel like there's not much to include in your resume.
Most likely, though, you have more qualifications and experience than you'd initially think. Start by listing your education — if your GPA is strong or if you're on the Dean's List, include that information in the education section of your resume.
Even if you do not have a lot of work experience, you likely have participated in activities or volunteer work that can be listed.
You may even have a hobby — for instance, writing a blog that is a review of every book you read or posting beautiful photographs online — that could be relevant to your job application.
Read below for tips on how to write a strong college resume.
Focus on education. Emphasize your academic history. Along with the name of your school and degree, include any achievements, such as a high GPA or any academic awards.
If you have taken courses related to the job you’re applying for, list those as well.
Include relevant jobs. Think about the skills and experiences required of the job you want. Include any jobs where you developed these qualities.
Even if your work experiences aren’t directly related, think of ways to highlight experiences you had that are relevant to the job you want. For example, you might include a former job as a cashier if it helped you develop customer service or leadership skills.
Include extracurricular activities. Because you likely have limited work experience, emphasize any non-work activities. These might include clubs, sports, babysitting, volunteer work, or community service. All of these activities can show your skills and abilities.
Include leadership experience. Have you held a position in a club, or been a captain on a sports team? Have you had any leadership responsibilities at your previous jobs? Be sure to list these experiences, as they show your ability to lead a team.
Use action verbs. Action verbs help show your responsibility. When describing your achievements, use action words. Words like led, researched and created to portray your experiences in an energetic way. Check out a list of action words for useful examples.
Quantify when possible. Whenever possible, include numbers to show your achievements. For example, you might say that you worked the cash register at a store that managed $10,000 daily, or that you helped 50 - 100 customers daily at your retail job.
Edit, edit, edit. Proofread your resume carefully before submitting it. A clean, error-free resume will make you look professional. Ask a friend or family member to read the resume for you as well.
Use a resume example. Use a resume example (like the one below) or template to guide your own writing. A resume example can help you decide what kind of content to include, as well as how to format your resume. However, be sure to tailor a resume example to fit your own experiences, and the job you are applying for.