How to Write a Resume

By
Emma Quinn
Published on
September 22, 2021
Hand pointing at a clipboard and a person next to a certificate

As you grow throughout high school and enter adulthood, one document that will often be mentioned is a resume. Whether it be for college admissions or a future employer, it briefly describes your experiences and activities you have pursued throughout your life. In this piece, we will go over how to write a resume that will effectively show off your talents.

Basic Information

You should start off your resume by jotting down some basic facts about you at the very top of the page, with a new line separating each piece. You should include your name, phone number, and email, so you can easily be contacted. Some people also include an address, but that's optional.

Formatting

It is important to have your resume organized. The following tips will ensure that your resume is easy to skim over:

You can have everything separated into four categories: education, extracurriculars, volunteering, and work experience. If you do not have experience in one of the categories, you can exclude it.

Education is usually the first or last category. Work experience is usually the first or second category (near the top of the page). Extracurriculars and volunteering go at the bottom; if you do not have work experience, you can label your extracurriculars and volunteering as "Experience" and place it near the top of the page.

Be sure to bold these four headings and create a separate line for them so employers can easily see what falls under what. The experiences under each category should be in reverse chronological order.

How to format your experiences

For example, saying that you played on your school’s baseball team, you would:

  1. On the far right, include the years you’ve played (ex: May 2018 - present),
  2. On the left, you would state the activity in bold (ex: Baseball Varsity).
  3. Under the position name, you would include where you played it (ex: Shore High School).
  4. When describing what you did in these experiences, write it out in bullet format.

Another example is being a cashier at Ralph's. For this case, you would:

  1. On the far right, include the months you've been working (ex: June 2018 - Aug 2019).
  2. On the left, you would state your position name (ex: Cashier).
  3. Under the position name, you would include the name of the place (ex: Ralph's).
  4. When describing what you did in these experiences, write it out in bullet format.

Tips on writing resume bullet points:

Keep your bullet points very simple. Overcomplicating what you've accomplished in your past job or experience will confuse the recruiter.

Use hyphens for your bullet points. Some people try to stand out with fancy symbols for their bullets, but they can render wrong on the recruiter's computer.

Use the XYZ formula. Laszlo Bock, a former Google recruiter, shared his method for making his bullet points impactful:

"Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y], by doing [Z]."

Example of a bad bullet point:

How can we turn this bad bullet point into a good one? First, we have to be more specific.

  1. What kind of students did you tutor?
  2. How did you tutor them?
  3. What was your impact? How many students did you tutor? How successful were they?

Example of good bullet points:

Education

In this category, you should start off by including what school(s) you currently attend in bold, along with the years you have attended this school. Under this, include your GPA and any awards you may have received in bullet points.

If you have taken any classes outside of school that you think are worth noting, include those as well, but treat it as if you are including another school in terms of formatting.

Extracurriculars

Here, you want to include any clubs, activities, and sports you have taken part in. Make sure to bold each extracurricular and include how long you have been participating in it.

You want to do it in the order of how recently you have started it, so your longest extracurriculars should be at the bottom. Under each extracurricular, include 2-3 bullet points about what you did in this role, if you had any leadership positions, and if you received any awards.

Volunteer Service

In this section, you will mention any volunteer opportunities you had throughout high school. Here you will treat formatting the same as you did for the extracurricular section. While you also can talk about your role, also include how often you volunteered and how many hours you received.

Work Experience

If you had any jobs in high school, include them in this section. Again, treat the formatting like you did for the previous section. Make sure to include the title of your position as well, so employers can see what exactly you did and if you had any leadership roles.

Good luck, now go get that job!

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