How to Write a Resume for Teens (With Examples)
When you are ready to enter the workplace, an impressive resume can set you apart from other applicants.
If you are preparing to apply for your first job, you might be struggling with what information to include.
Despite having limited work experience, as a teenage jobseeker, it likely that you will have relevant skills and experience that you can incorporate into your resume.
A professionally written and correctly formatted resume will get you noticed by employers and can land you those important first interviews.
You will need a resume or a CV when you apply for a job.
A resume is a document that is sent to an employer when you express interest in a vacancy.
They usually contain your name and contact details, plus information about your previous education and work experience. Resumes are similar but different from a CV and this article will be helpful for both.
Everyone, including teenagers, needs to create a resume when they decide to start looking for work. It is a chance for you to showcase your skills and get yourself noticed by hiring managers.
When you apply for your first job either online or in person, you will usually fill out an application in addition to providing a resume (depending on the employer’s requirements).
You might also want to hand out resumes or email them over to different workplaces just in case they have a suitable vacancy. Even if they are currently fully staffed, employers will often keep the resumes that impress them on file in case a suitable vacancy arises in future.
Some job sites allow you to upload your resume onto their database. This makes it easy for employers to find and contact suitable candidates.
As a teenager, when you feel that the time has come to enter the workplace, you will probably be applying for an entry-level job to earn some extra money, such as a fast-food worker, server or retail position.
You may also be interested in an internship. Or, you may be a teenager who specifically wants a job you can do online from home.
As a teen, you will often have extra time to work during breaks from your studies. The long summer break, for example, can be a great time to gain some valuable work experience and save money. Seasonal positions that are popular with teens include summer camp assistant, teen lifeguard or amusement park worker.
Once you have created a resume with all of the basic information you need, it is normal to alter it slightly in relation to specific jobs you apply for.
For example, if you are applying to work at a summer camp you will want to highlight any work you have done with children, including babysitting in the neighbourhood, your organization and survival skills and mention any scout badges you may have.
When applying for service or retail jobs you will want to mention anything that shows you have good interpersonal skills and can understand basic math and manage money.
Each time you apply for a job, try to think about the ideal candidate the employer is looking for and what relevant skills and experience you have that relates to that. Then tweak your resume to highlight these.
There are some key skills or traits that just about every employer wants to see in their workers regardless of the job they are doing, such as:
- Team player
- Good time management
If you can include these keywords in your CV or resume, or information that demonstrates you have these vital skills, you are likely to be considered for current vacancies as** these are attributes that every successful worker needs**, from fast-food servers to corporate executives.
Many employers like to run a background check on potential employees, which sometimes involves contacting their previous employers.
If you are in high school and applying for your first job, it is likely you will not have any previous employers to list as a referee. In such an instance, ask a teacher or someone professional outside your family who knows you well if they are willing to be listed on your resume to provide a character reference.
Ensure that anyone who agrees to be a referee is willing to provide their contact details and that you have permission to share these details.
Some hiring managers may prefer not to see referees listed on a resume and would rather discuss these upon offer of a job. As a teen with limited experience, you might be keen to list referees to show that despite your limited experience there are respected people who will vouch for you. This is a personal choice, but something to keep in mind.
As a teen, you will have less work experience to include than an older person. Your education section will most likely not be complete if you are still studying at school or college once you begin looking for work. You may also need to include referees that are not former employers.
You should still spend time creating a professional-looking and detailed resume. The format, layout and contents of your first resume should be broadly the same as any other resume.
As a teen, you might have limited work experience to add to your resume.
Think about other skills you have that show you can be an asset to the workforce:
- Volunteer work you have done (this shows motivation and a caring nature)
- Times you have helped out in a relative's or neighbour's business (this is still work experience, even if it was unpaid or unofficial)
- Baby/petsitting (this shows you are organized and responsible)
- Positions of responsibility you hold at school, such as yearbook editor or science club president (this shows aspiration and leadership skills)
- Clean driving license or permit (this shows a level of maturity and on a practical level means you are able to be mobile and travel to/from work); this may also be a requirement for certain jobs
- Any tutoring you do (this again demonstrates responsibility, organizational skills and suggests you have strong academic credentials)
- Awards or certificates you have (this is a chance to celebrate your successes and set yourself apart from other candidates)
- Groups or teams that you have been part of such as Scouts, sports, etc. (this shows that you work well as part of a team which is a vital transferable skill)
**Teens may have skills that are useful in the workplace without even realizing it. **
Some employers will read into your previous experiences and read into them the transferable skills you gained there but drawing out and clarifying these skills will make it easier for hiring managers to understand them, and thus make you a more desirable candidate.
Demonstrating that you are a dedicated and responsible person through your academic or extra-curricular achievements will give them the idea that you will behave in a similar way in the workplace.
You may also want to write a brief summary of your career objectives and plans for the future.
If you have any particular hobbies, you can write briefly about them at the end of your resume (above the references section).
Some employers like to see this as it gives a glimpse into the applicant’s character and personality.
Remember, everything that you choose to write makes a statement about you. When flipping through resumes, the employer has probably seen ‘I enjoy going to the gym and socialising,’ thousands of times already.
Here, you have the chance to stand out – “In my spare time I have been learning computer coding” or “I enjoy yin yoga and sketching” convey far more meaning. Think about what sets you apart or makes you interesting.
Make sure what you write is appropriate and true, as they may ask you about it at the interview.
When you write your resume, use a standard font type, such as Times New Roman or Arial.
Your resume needs to look professional. Employers like to see a format that is clear and easy to read which means no fancy lettering, symbols, coloured text or emojis.
Use standard margins and make sure you include empty space between sections; resumes with a balance between text and white space on the page look the most appealing.
You might want to centre your name and contact details and align the rest of the text to the left, or type everything left-aligned. You can have a look at an example online or you may want to use a formatting program for your resume.
One side of A4 is acceptable for a resume and never go over three sheets. Some job openings attract hundreds of candidates and employers do not usually have the time or resources to read through pages of text. What you write should be relevant, to the point and concise.
Include your full name (or first name and surname) and avoid nicknames. Add your contact details including cell phone number and email address.
Use a professional email address – you may wish to set an email up specifically for job searching. Your name or initials and numbers followed by the email domain will look the most professional rather than any weird or wacky names or titles:
For example, 'email@example.com' is going to make you sound like a far more grounded and responsible candidate than 'firstname.lastname@example.org' – remember that although it is great for your personality to come across, first and foremost you should be professional.
If you have worked through the checklist and are still not happy with your resume, you could consider using a CV writing service although this can be expensive and they are not always geared towards entry-level positions.
When applying for jobs, you also get the chance to impress potential employers by writing a cover letter.
You can use this opportunity to include any information that you want to tell them that is not appropriate (such as specific anecdotes relevant to the role) or that will not fit on your resume.
Although you can rewrite parts of your resume depending on where you are applying to, they are usually fairly generic.
A cover letter is unique, and you can include specific details relating to each job you apply for, for example, how you feel you would fit into the company, that you live in close proximity to the business, etc.).
A resume can be printed off so physical copies can be handed in at stores or restaurants or saved as a document and emailed over to an employer. The most common formats to save your electronic resumes in are Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF.
Make sure your resume makes sense and that you proofread for spelling and grammar issues.
The basic information you will want to include is:
- Full name
- Contact details (email/phone number)
- Brief introduction about yourself
- Key skills
- Academic record
You may wish to also include:
1624 E 15th Street
Cell number: (XXX XXXXXXX)
High school senior, currently looking to enter the workplace to gain new skills and get valuable experience. I currently have evening and weekend availability and would be available to work overtime during summer break. I have my license and access to a vehicle.
- Good communication skills
- Well organized
- Great multi-tasker
- Confident team player
- Always willing to learn new skills and accept feedback
- Hardworking and diligent
- East Southside High School 2017-present
- Currently working towards my high school diploma
I am the captain of the swim team and have a passion for reading and history. I spent last summer break volunteering at the local library and was part of an initiative that encouraged underprivileged kids to learn to read.
Try not to feel disheartened if you apply for several jobs before you get an interview. The job market is tough at the moment, often with a large number of candidates applying for each vacancy.
By taking the time to write a standout resume and thinking about the qualities that you possess as a teen entering the workplace for the first time, you are already setting yourself apart and giving yourself the best chance of success.