Resume Tips

A resume is a snapshot or a picture of who you are and how you spend your time.  A resume is one of the most important marketing tools you can use to sell yourself to colleges, impress scholarship judges, and get a part-time job or an internship during high school and/or college.  Put your best effort into your high school resume. It is a valuable tool for all students and will make life easier whether you are applying to college, for a job or internship or trying to win a scholarship.

Start planning early in high school​​


If you wait until senior year to start your resume, the odds of remembering your accomplishments, honors and activities over the last four years will be slim.


When you start high school freshman year, begin to keep track of everything you will need for your resume. As you keep track, you will identify areas that might need more attention: your GPA, your extracurricular activities, teen summer programs or your community service and volunteer work.


Build a functional resume.


Remember that a winning high school resume needs to paint a picture of who you are. It should include the following:

    • Your basic information: name, address, phone and email.

    • Education: high school name and address, graduation date, class rank, GPA, specific courses.

    • Activities: extracurricular in and out of school

    • Community service: in and out of school. Make sure you list any leadership roles.

    • Work experience: any summer or school-year jobs.

    • Accolades: academic and nonacademic awards and honors


Use action verbs

Use action words when describing your experiences, especially words that imply a skill or good attribute, such as “organized,” “created,” “designed,” “drafted,” or “led.” Incorporating action verbs paint you as a doer, not a spectator. These are attributes colleges and employers look for when considering your resume.


Don’t pad your resume

Your resume should be an extension of your college application and essay. Don’t pad it by pretending to be someone you are not. Present yourself honestly and don’t add activities for the sake of creating a long list. The resume should be an extension of who you are and what you will bring to the table if you are offered admission. Also, college admissions officers can often spot a fake.


Prepare before you begin writing​​

Start thinking about your skills, abilities and special talents. Gather all the information you’ve saved throughout high school and use this to put your thoughts and accomplishments down on paper.


Preparing to write the resume is similar to brainstorming before you begin your college application essays. Sometimes it helps to talk with someone else about what might stand out among your activities or high school experiences.


Use the proper format

As with any resume, a high school resume should not be wordy or difficult to read. The best is a one-page resume; but it’s not uncommon to add a second page if you have a lot of activities or job experience. Make it any longer, and the reader gets bored and stops reading.


Employers always recommend that job applicants keep the resume concise and to the point. If readers don’t see something to grab their interest on the first page, it’s unlikely they will keep reading.


The resume should be written in an easy-to-read font and look professional.  Use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation – ask a teacher, parent or other mentor to proofread it!


The contact information should be at the top of the resume and specific area should have a bold heading: Education, Activities, Work Experience, etc.


Be consistent and show commitment

Colleges look for consistency and commitment on high school resumes. A spattering of activities, volunteer work, and a long list of extracurricular activities will not impress college admissions officers. When college admissions officers look at your resume, they should see a student who demonstrates commitment to a few activities while keeping an academic balance.


Review sample resumes

It’s helpful to review resume examples when working on your resume. is another source for helpful writing tips and resume examples. You can find resume templates in Microsoft Word and Google Docs. You high school guidance office may also have resources on how to write a high school resume.


©2018 by Counseling / Guidance Department