The four years of high school are a major step before entering adulthood and the rest of life ahead. Many students aren’t sure exactly how to prepare for life after high school. They struggle with where to start. Some move on to college and some move on straight to employment. In high school, a good way to prepare for the future is by making a resume.
Many students aren’t exactly sure what a resume is.
“A resume is where you list the things that you think are the most important about you,” junior McKenzie Wysong said. “You list what your credentials are, what you’ve done in the past, what jobs you’ve worked, what your best qualities, and what your strengths are. You also list references that can back up your reasonings and your qualities and strengths.”
Resumes are not only important but crucial for future careers.
“Well after high school, we tend to think as resumes as something that’s for adults, but everything that we do in high school should be geared towards building us up to where we want to be,” Early College teacher Tre Ronne said. “We need to be less focused on just book learning and ‘we’re doing this because it’s the standard’. We need to focus on what is most valuable as experiences and as skill preparation. It makes no sense to wait until you’re older to write a resume, learning what a resume should look like and the purpose of it is such a core skill to do in high school.”
Ronne teaches in his Early College classes how to write a resume and many students have already gotten it done. It’s noticeable that many students aren’t sure where to begin.
“The way I always ask people to do it is to start with the brainstorming, don’t worry about the format, and be very creative when thinking about the things you’ve done so far,” he said. “Partly that’s to gain confidence. It’s kind of easy to look at yourself early in high school and say you haven’t done anything and that’s a blow to your confidence. You could start instead by saying [for example,] how does babysitting teach me professionalism skills and responsibility. Even small things like taking out your neighbor’s trash or shoveling sidewalks for elderly neighbors help. Start with strengths and what have you done. [Overall] start with brainstorming, be creative, gain confidence, and the other thing I like to have people start with is details. I always encourage people to take one experience and expand upon it with bullet points. This is because if I tell you I’ve been in band four years, that’s cool, but if I tell you specifically I played a solo at this performance, then they get a better understanding of you. It’s the details that really demonstrate what you’ve accomplished.”
When preparing a resume in school, it can give a major boost in colleges or current job applications.
“Colleges and jobs will appreciate that you took the time to write down what is important to you and the qualities that you think matter the most and the experience you have,” Wysong said. “They want someone who takes the time and shows they care about their future.”
There are many opportunities in high school to put on a resume.
“I would say even more important than thinking about specific activities or where to go, is networking,” Ronne said. “Wherever you are, talk to people about what your interests are and what their interests are. Talk to people about what connections you have and what they have. It’s having a conversation, what you like what they like, who you know who they know, that’s networking. And through that, if you’re paying attention and you want it, you can hear opportunities. Also, like following things on social media that may help identify opportunities. Like the parks department is always doing cleanup days, so if you go to some cleanup days, you can meet some people and if they have connections, then boom there is an opportunity.”
Another valuable thing resumes do in high school is set goals for the upcoming future.
“There are so many things that we learn or can learn if we write the resume correctly,” Ronne said. “You have to pay very close attention to detail. That’s something I see a lot of students struggle with. The formatting will be misplaced. They’ll be missing punctuation. It’s the first draft, and that’s part of the process of doing a resume. It shows us that resumes require revision. I do the resume the way I do with the reflection at the end for people to think about where they’re at right now and what they want to accomplish. So, setting goals for the next couple of years.”
Wysong experience with writing a resume, so she shares some tips that she used when writing her own.
“The most important overall is to take every opportunity given to you, be involved, volunteer, and just show interest,” she said. “Additional tips would be to be honest and be genuine. Don’t make yourself seem better than you are. Also, when you’re writing something give it details because it will benefit you. You want to show the skills you used when doing that certain activity. You also want to put every single experience you think is important. Every single experience is helpful for your resume. With these important factors, you’ll be able to create a well-written and thoughtful resume.”
It’s important not to get stressed out when writing a resume. Remember to take time and make it thoughtful.
“The last tip I would leave is to not overthink it and not to overcomplicate [the resume],” Ronne said. “Your resume should just be one page, not front or back. It’s really just a question about what’s most important. Write down what have you done or what can you say about yourself that is going to make someone look at you like a quality applicant.”