Should I have a resume in High School? Absolutely, but the 3 best reasons for a High School student to have a resume are different from why their parents have one.
Professionals tend to consider a resume a highly-polished final product used to land a job. For a high school student, I prefer a very different view, one that’s more fluid. A teen’s resume can serve as a remarkable tool for:
- Keeping track of activities
- Reflecting on involvement
- Encouraging intentionality
To understand these three reasons for a high school resume, I’ll emphasize that 9th grade is the ideal starting point for drafting a first resume. This first step in creating a resume represents a great time for parents and their teen collaborate. Together, they brainstorm what activities and accomplishments belong on this first resume. This brainstorming and drafting will be easier by using our resume template. The resulting resume sets the stage for our first reason to create a high school resume early; once it is in place, you can use it – in an ongoing way – as a tool for keeping track of what’s important to the teen.
The parent and teen will also engage in a conversation about creating a hierarchy of importance for activities and accomplishments. This is a thoughtful and constructive experience for a new high school student. It involves lessons about what they deem important and what others will see the same way. Moreover, the resume editing pushes the teen to recognize and describe their role within groups.
As the High School years advance, parents should – as with so many things – scale back their involvement in resume writing. Teens will, in turn, get more comfortable with making updates on their own. And this brings me to my second reason for a high school resume, this independent exercise of updating one’s resume will turn that exercise into a tool to organize what they’ve done and reflect on their involvement. They’ll discover the importance of succinct descriptions with active verbs, while they also explore how to promote themselves without bragging, exaggerating or outright lying.
The evolution of their authentic resume will help them realize the critical connection between their actions and their impact. This is what sets the stage for our third reason for creating a resume. It will become a tool for teaching intentionality. This growth will, in turn, help them evaluate their purpose and goals.
Ultimately, this resume will be critical for applying to college. Of course, it will also help them in applying for jobs at any point. The latter, oftentimes, also requires a LinkedIn profile, which will be far easier with a resume in hand. Together, ongoing resume and LinkedIn updating will, in turn, provide lessons in crafting a healthy online identity – something that’s hardly promoted through most social media platforms used by teens.
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Fitz has dedicated the entirety of his 25 year career to encouraging higher education opportunities. He worked in the Vanderbilt, Duke Law and St. Lawrence admissions offices prior to serving as an enrollment management consultant for dozens of colleges around the country. He partnered with his former Vanderbilt colleague, Nicole Cook, to form Find The Right College and support their mission to make trustworthy college counseling more accessible.