So you have no job experience...but you REALLY want that job.
Well, guess what? You already have enough life experience for a great resume! After all, you've built character through being a part of local communities and developed hard skills as a student.
Before you start building your resume, consider your experiences in every aspect of your life:
☪️ A religious community
🏫 Group or personal projects
You may have minimal to no "paid" experience, but be assured that with a little time and reflection, your resume will come to life 🌱
Know the essentials for a great resume
Meet Sade Okoya. They're 17 years old and would like to apply for a cashier position at their local convenience store.
Like you, Sade isn't convinced they have enough experience to apply, but a closer look reveals otherwise 🧡
Using Sade as an example, let's walk through the five essential sections of a resume:
✅ Professional Summary
✅ Skills Overview
✅ Experience (work, volunteering, and projects)
✅ Education and Awards
First step: the resume header
✅ Name and Contact Information: At the top of the page, you must include your preferred name, address, phone number, and e-mail.
In the future, Sade could also consider adding their pronouns, and/or a URL to their LinkedIn page or digital portfolio if they have one.
✅ Professional Email Address: Keep in mind that you won't be using your high school domain email after you graduate.
A personal email address with Sade's name (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be:
More relevant:Keeps the focus on their skills and experience relevant to the job.
Longer lasting:Allows employers to continue to contact them after graduation.
Sade will save their email@example.com address for Black Friday promotional emails 😉
Summarize why you're the right candidate
Do you ever read the movie's summary before clicking play?
Your resume's Professional Summary is a preview of your resume's contents. If it's relevant, it will catch the hiring manager's eye 😀
As a high school student, Sade will also need to demonstrate dependability and a commitment to personal development in order to build trust with the hiring manager. Although Sade doesn't have any formal work experience, they can summarize the proof provided in the rest of the resume:
Highly motivated high school student seeking a position as a cashier. Possesses advanced mathematical skills and customer service experience.
Create a complete list of skills and experiences
Have you heard of transferable skills? This is when you demonstrate how one job is related to another so an employer can see your potential to succeed in the role.
To get started, Sade will pick and choose from their complete list of experiences to make each section relevant to their cashier application at the convenience store. In the meantime, they'll write down everything they can think of!
Do you speak other languages? Be sure to include your fluency level, too!
Have you taken a language course?
Posters, YouTube thumbnails
Canva, Adobe Creative Suite etc.
Social media management
Coding experience level
Place of worship projects
Music, dance, and art clubs
🚨 Rumie Tip: Every opportunity you apply for will require you to include different skills and experiences on your resume. Be sure to keep this list (and continue to add to it!) so you may easily tailor your resume for future opportunities.
Relevant experience = relevant results
After building a list of skills and experiences, Sade is starting to make connections between their experience and the job description 🙌
Let's compare the convenience store's cashier job description to Sade's list:
🏪 Cashier skill 1: Provide great customer service, including processing customer transactions accurately.
🎒 Sade's relevant experience: Sade served food in a hospitality course at school. Sounds pretty relevant!
🏪 Cashier skill 2: Keep the register area neat and stocked with essential supplies.
🎒 Sade's relevant experience: Sade managed inventory supplies in a school hospitality course, and often cleaned while babysitting.
🏪 Cashier skill 3: A team player with good communication skills.
🎒 Sade's relevant experience: As team captain, Sade helped their school's soccer team win a state championship! 🏆
Use active language
Sade is finally feeling more qualified as a high school student applicant! 🙌
Now it's time to prove that Sade can put their skills and summary into action by describing their duties from each experience. In each bullet point, it's important to be:
Specific: How many team members? Who did you report to?
Results-driven: What did you achieve?
Action-oriented: Use active verbs at the beginning of each bullet point, such as lead, analyze, collaborate, perform, etc.
❌ In this description, Sade minimizes their contributions:
Sold more tickets for school semi-formal than the last year.
✅ Sade will have more impact if they use numbers and active language to prove the result:
Exceeded sales target with 50 more tickets purchased than the previous year.
Sade is the captain of their school's soccer team. They wrote, "Used people skills to motivate the team to a championship" to describe their role. What can they add that would attract the attention of a convenience store manager? Select all that apply.
❌ What to leave off of your resume
Sade has permanent residency status and loves to play League of Legends 👾 on the weekend. Though these personal details are important to Sade, this can distract the hiring manager from seeing how qualified they are to be trained as a cashier at the convenience store they're applying to.
Here is a complete list of everything a high school student doesn't need to include on their resume:
❌ Photo: For the hiring manager, considering a resume with a self-portrait could put them at risk of being accused of discrimination.
❌ Age/birthday: Sade isn't obligated to reveal their age to any employer at any stage of the application process to reduce the chances of age discrimination.
❌ Citizenship/work permit details: No matter how secure Sade's rights are to work in their country, sharing this information encourages bias at this stage of the job application process.
❌ Format, spelling, and grammar errors: Sade should use one font for consistency. They can also ask friends, family, or the Rumie Discord #ResumeHelp channel to check for errors 🙂
❌ Unrelated hobbies: If Sade was applying to work at a video game company, their video game preferences would be relevant to the position. For the role of cashier, this is irrelevant.
❌ Social/National Insurance Number: Sade may need to include this in an online application, but adding this number to a public document (their resume) puts Sade at risk for identity theft.