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Stand Out from the Crowd: Crafting Your High School Resume Like a Pro

Whether you're eyeing up internships, prepping for college applications, or simply want to showcase your skills like a boss, having a killer resume is your golden ticket to success.

"Why do I need a resume in high school?" you ask. Well, picture this: You walk into an interview or submit your college application, and bam! You whip out a polished resume that screams, "I mean business!" It shows that you're not just another high school kid; you're a young professional in the making. Plus, it's the perfect foundation for your Common App activities list and LinkedIn profile. Talk about setting yourself up for future greatness!

So, what goes into a top-notch high school resume? Here's the scoop:

  1. Contact Information: Make sure they can reach you! No disappearing acts allowed. Your name, address, phone number, and email address should cover it.

  2. Education: Include the name of your high school, your expected year of graduation, your GPA, and SAT/ACT scores. This is also the place to list any relevant coursework you’ve completed.

  3. Experiences: From part-time gigs to extracurricular adventures, flaunt the smart and impactful ways you’ve made the most of your high school experience.

  4. Awards/Honors: Did someone say trophy shelf? Time to show off your accolades! Be specific with the name of the prize and the number of competitors. Being selected for opportunities counts as well! If you were the only debate student selected for an out-of-state competition, don’t forget to mention it!

  5. Skills: What can you do like a pro? Let 'em know! Both hard and soft skills count here. Hard skills are things like specialized knowledge or training (e.g. computer or foreign languages), while soft skills are personal qualities that help you thrive in a professional or academic setting (e.g.being personable, respectful, and responsible)

What does it look like on paper? ​Click here to see an example.​

Make it pretty. People say we eat with our eyes first. The concept holds true for resumes as well. If the format looks messy, the margins or font are inconsistent, and the last bullet point slips onto the next page, the reader will assume that's just how you roll - sloppy. Sloppy people don't get hired. Make sure sections are clearly and uniformly labeled and that everything fits neatly onto one page. The extra few minutes it takes to get the details right make all the difference.

Now, onto the juicy tips for crafting the experiences section of your resume.

  • Highlight Accomplishments Over Responsibilities: Don't just list your duties – flaunt what you achieved! There are no participation trophies when it comes to resumes. Instead of “Served as secretary of the community service club at my school” how about “ Led community service club to fundraise x,xxx dollars to provide meals and housing for refugee families.”

  • Quantify Your Achievements with Numbers and Statistics: Because who doesn't love a good ol' dose of credibility? Instead of “Tutored high school students in math to raise SAT test scores,” how about “Raised math SAT scores 100-200 points for 45 struggling students over a 6-week timeframe”? Sounds way more impressive, right?

  • Employ Strong, Active Verbs: Let your actions do the talking with powerful verbs that pack a punch: Led, created, managed, executed, improved, founded, discovered, etc. These words set the tone that you’re more than just talk- you make it happen!

  • Avoid First-Person Pronouns: Keep it pro by ditching the "I" and "me" – less talk, more action!

  • Maintain Consistent Verb Tenses: Because we don't want any tense mix-ups stealing your spotlight. Let the past be past and present be present.

  • List Experiences in Reverse Chronological Order: Let's take 'em on a journey. Let your resume tell the story of how you’ve built your skills and interests over time.

Oh, and here's a little secret: Everything counts! Just because something isn’t a structured, sponsored activity doesn’t mean it can't go on your resume. Showcasing the passions you pursue on your own time demonstrates entrepreneurial spirit and drive.

If you create beaded jewelry and sell your masterpieces from your own Etsy shop, put it on your resume!

If you spend your free time producing sick beats on your dad's retro keyboard, put it on your resume!

If you are a mycophile (mushroom hunter) and spend your weekend foraging for rare and delicious fungi, put it on your resume!

The quirkier your passions, the more memorable you will be, AND the more likely you'll be to land an interview. Boring doesn't inspire people to ring you up for a chat.

Likewise, many students have responsibilities that showcase core values and skills.

If your mom works nights, leaving you alone to manage the house, cook dinner, and take care of your siblings, then you've got some mad skills that most other students don’t. Definitely put it on your resume!

Think outside of the box and enlist some help from friends and family to remind you of all the incredible ways you’ve contributed and grown over the last 4 years.

Now, for the fun part – snagging yourself a sweet resume template. Head over to Canva and dive into their treasure trove of templates:​ Canva Resume Templates​. Remember to save your masterpiece as a PDF and keep it updated as you conquer new horizons.

So, what are you waiting for? It's time to unleash your inner resume rockstar and show the world what you're made of!

Stay awesome,​

Erin Bailey

College Application Coach

PS. Stay connected and join our growing community on Facebook! Be the first to receive updates, exclusive content, and engage with fellow students. ​Click here to follow us now.​ Let's connect and make your college journey even more exciting together!

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