How to Write a High School Graduate Resume To Get Hired in 2018

What you need for a high school graduate resume:

As a high school graduate, you’re going to be in one of three scenarios: looking for your first job, looking for part-time work, or applying for university. No matter if you’ve got pages and pages of experience or if you’ve never held a job before, there’s a way to get noticed for everyone. The key to a high school graduate resume is focusing on what you do have and packaging it correctly rather than focusing on all of the things you don’t have.

When building your resume, remember these short actionable tips:
  • Don’t just list things you have done, provide some form of measure with descriptions where possible (e.g., sold 100 charity event tickets, undertook 12 classes, increased efficiency by 10%)
  • Use resume buzzwords and action words to your advantage
  • Research the organisation of interest and link your resume back to their aims
  • Give an account of who you are, why you’re applying, and what you can do.
  • Individualise your resume with key sections that catch the recruiters attention and give them insight into your personality

The goal with a high school graduate resume is to prove to the person hiring you that you’re willing to learn and can help an organisation achieve their goals. You’ll be going up against a checklist the person hiring will keep in mind. “Who is this, what potential do they have, will they need to be trained, can they be trusted with X duty, how much do they know about Y” and more.
The best way to quash these worries is to create your resume like an answer booklet to all of their possible questions. How do you do this? Well, you can see how others have used this approach and succeeded. That’s why we’ve collaborated with all kinds of high school graduates to learn what made their resumes so successful.

Best High School resume examples by users who got hired

How to write a high school graduate resume

Stick to one page

Top recruiters recommend keeping to one page per 10 years of experience. If you’re a fresh high school graduate with that much experience, you should probably talk to a lawyer. For everyone else, one page is plenty. The reality is, large organisations (such as the largest suppliers of part-time work) are bombarded with hundreds of resumes per day.
Not only does sticking to one page show your ability to convey information succinctly, but it highlights the time taken to put your resume together. It shows you’ve crafted your resume with consideration.

Tailor to the position

Your resume should reflect the work you hope to do. This means examining the job description available and specifying the information most relevant to the type of work you’ll be involved in. For example, if the job description mentions having experience with customers, this is something you should address in your resume. “Manned checkout for over 100+ customers each day with RetailerSuperstore”.
It’s possible to do this even when you don’t have experience (see below). Remember, try to include traits that relate to the organisation of interest. If you mention your passions, do they correlate with social projects the organisation is working on? What’s their working dynamic?

You’ve got experience, so use it

Employers want to see you’re capable of making a difference in their organisation and that you’ll be an important piece of the puzzle in achieving success. It doesn’t have to be in a working environment. If you’ve spent time volunteering, babysitting, coaching, leading people at Summer Camp, taking on extra-curricular activities at school, all of these things are previous experience.
The key is to go in-depth about what you accomplished instead of listing what you were responsible for. See an example below for a Library Assistant and Equipment Manager. Make sure everything you mention is measured when possible.

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Conduct a resume review

A resume review allows you to take a step back and see the impression your resume leaves on someone when read in its final form. Something we can all struggle with when writing resumes is focusing on its segments and not taking a minute to see the bigger picture. You might find that your skills section needs refinement in light of your achievements section and so on. We’ve heard it all before but we don’t listen.
The reality is, you need to proofread, especially if this is your first resumes. You may find yourselves making easy mistakes. Things you should look out for are:

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Inconsistent punctuation
  • Broken website links
  • Incorrect contact information
  • Long or unclear sentences

You can easily send your resume to a colleague or friend using Enhancv’s built-in referral link. This allows people to leave comments on sections of your resume that need improvement. Enhancv also has a built-in content analyzer that will catch common typographical errors.

Secure impactful references

References can be broken down into two types: professional references and character references. A character reference is used when you do not have any job experience. Professional references are from previous employees or colleagues. References are provided as additional support for the abilities you mention on your resume and can have a great influence on whether or not you get hired. Having someone vouch for your abilities can increase your chances of getting hired by more than 50%. Remember, do not include family members as references.

10 sections recruiters and hiring managers are looking for in a high school graduate resume

When it comes to writing your high school graduate resume, here are 10 elements to keep in mind and possible ways of addressing them. Keep in mind, each position is unique in its own right and what may work for one, may not be suitable for another. So pick and choose as appropriate.

1. Resume Header
2. Summary
3. Skills
4. Experience
5. Education
6. Languages
7. Most Proud Of
8. Life Philosophy
9. Certificates and Courses
10. References

1. Your Resume Header

The first thing the hiring manager will look at when your resume comes across their desk is your resume header. In this, you should include contact information (email, phone number, and any website links) as well as your name and location. Remember to include a professional email (e.g., FirstNameLastName@Mail.ie) rather than your personal email.
You should ensure to update your voicemail on your phone, too (you may have never left a voicemail in your life but that’s no guarantee your potential employer won’t). The aim is to highlight any way the hiring manager can get in contact with you and to put a name to all the information they’re seeing.

2. Personal Summary

Your personal summary can be used to give an outline of who you are, why you are interested in the position, and a brief of the skills and experience you bring to the table. The recruiter is interested in what has brought you to applying for the position, so use this to tell them. Aim to do this in 2-3 sentences. You can follow this formula to put your personal summary together. [Description of current status] with an interest in [Industry / Role you’re applying to] hoping to improve skills of [hard & soft skills]. A [personal attribute] worker motivated by [aspect of company culture]. You can see an example of this below.
E.G., High-school student with an interest in computer applications hoping to improve my skill in Python, JavaScript, and A/B Testing. A dedicated worker motivated by independent work and personal freedom (with guidance) in tasks.

3. Skills

Recruiters are looking to improve their pool-of-talent. If they can’t see skills you have that make you valuable, there’s no reason for a recruiter to hire you. Some skills that you can mention in your resume (with working experience) are:

  • Customer relations (solving customer issues)
  • End of day processing (closing shop)
  • Data processing (inputting stock on excel)
  • Transaction maintenance (working on a checkout)
  • Inventory control (managing stock)

Some skills you can mention in your resume (without working experience) are:
  • Proficiency in Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook and Powerpoint)
  • Conflict resolution (you’re able to find compromise)
  • Human relations (communication)
  • Innovative problem solving (you can find creative ways to solve problems)
  • Time management (you can get things done on a deadline)

Resume Section

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4. Your Experience

You might think that you have no previous experience, but you do. Think about any projects you have worked on in high school that have been outside of the classroom. Maybe you’ve been a member of a sports club, library, or even ran a poetry competition. These are all examples of previous experience.
Don’t forget, when applying for a role you’re applying to help the business achieve their goals. You need to show them that this is something you can do. Any previous experience you mention should be measured if possible. This means pairing your duty with a metric that shows your impact. For example, instead of saying you were responsible for cataloguing books in your library, you were responsible for cataloguing 250 books, which helped develop your organisational skills.

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5. Education

Formal education can say a lot about a candidate. Not only does it indicate your ability to follow a strict schedule, but it gives insight into your knowledge base. When including your education on your resume, ensure to highlight key classes that relate to the job vacancy. If you’ve taken business, economics, computer applications, any of these type of specialties are rewarding to include.

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6. Languages

Your language ability is relevant in most jobs you apply to. Not only does your language ability allow you to communicate with customers, fellow workers, and management, but language ability is linked to your cognitive skill. A language is a skill with infinite possibilities. If you’re bilingual, trilingual, or polylingual, do make sure to include this.

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7. Most Proud Of

A Most Proud Of section, as an Enhancv staple, provides freedom on your resume. It’s versatile in that it can be used to highlight career achievements, life achievements, or both. This plays into letting the recruiter know who you are and provides another opportunity to mention achievements.

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8. Life Philosophy

Your philosophy tells the recruiter everything they need to know about your approach to sales. This can be a quote from a significant figure in your life, a quote you live by, or something that has stuck with you during your life. It gives insight into culture fit too.

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9. Certificates and Courses

Not all skills you develop are through previous work experience or your education. Extra-curricular courses and certificates (such as First Aid) show the breadth of your ability. It shows the hiring manager you’re interested in more than career development, but personal development as a whole. You can also quantify your skills by listing relevant courses you’ve undertaken.

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10. References

Recruiters are heavily influenced by recommendations of your skill. Professional and character references can accomplish this. Remember to include the referee’s name, contact number, and email.

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How to get a referral for the role you want after graduating

Employees who get referred for a job are more likely to be content and to perform better in their role. Finding a job you can get referred to often means finding a job you’ll be satisfied with.
Students have an specialised route to go down when it comes to referrals. Universities and schools come with an array of connections to companies, different universities, community organisations, and more. You can contact your high school’s career service and see if they have connections with anyone that may work in the company you’re looking to apply to or something similar. You can also contact professors, student clubs, and honor societies.
Check out our complete guide to getting job referrals for more actionable tips.

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