Help Your Teen Take the First Step To the Future
If you’re the parent of a teenager you might be getting ready to watch your child cross to that exciting and slightly nerve-wracking world of “the first job” – whether it is working at the local drive thru, the mall, as a lifeguard, or in an office somewhere. Between the economy and the crazy-busy lives of teens, getting that first job is not always easy. Sometimes it seems that until your child has that first job that there is nothing to include on a résumé. My daughter had those same hesitations, but I reassured her that when she started adding up her life experiences thus far, she would have plenty for a starter résumé. Help your kids get off to the best start possible by sharing some résumé building tips with them (or just send them the link to this article and away we go!).
Resume, Résumé, Curriculum Vitae, or CV – Not Matter What You Call It, Here’s How to Write It
1. Make a practice, all-purpose résumé. This will be the one you can pull out for any occasion, and is the roadmap for your more specific, job-directed applications. This résumé should include:
- Full first name and last name
- Complete address, phone number, and email
- Location of education thus far and anticipated month and year of high school graduation – if the GPA is 3.0 or higher, include that as well
- A list of extracurricular activities
- A list of clubs and organizations in which you participate
- A list of volunteer activities and community projects in which you participate
- A list of awards received
- A description of special skills and certifications (CPR, Class Officer, computer programs, etc.)
All of these attributes help to show the depth and breadth of your life. It is generally a good idea to begin an all-purpose résumé or CV with school information and then move on with the most impressive details from there. If you have an amazing history of community service, you could consider beginning with that instead of education.
2. When you find a specific job for which you want to apply, read the job description carefully for keywords. See if there are skills you have acquired through classes, community activities, or clubs that transfer to job experience. My daughter volunteered at a community gift store so she had acquired customer service, cash register, and retail skills and experiences before ever being hired for her first job.
3. Take those skills and highlight them by placing them towards the first section of the résumé. This might mean that you move education details to the 2nd or 3rd entry, but you will have a better chance of gaining the attention of your potential employer by placing those keywords up front.
4. Don’t reinforce stereotypes of teenagers.
- Avoid slang and shorthand, texting lingo.
- Check your Facebook account and other social media sites to make sure that your photographs are appropriate and won’t cause your résumé to be tossed aside.
- Know exactly what your potential employer will find when searching for your name online. Google yourself if you’re not sure – and check more than the first 2 pages.
- Be prepared to answer your phone professionally in case you do get called for an interview.
5. Prepare a list of references and include those with your résumé on a separate sheet (unless specifically directly otherwise by the job listing). Make sure that the people on your list are not just your friends or their parents. Include leaders in the community with whom you’ve developed a relationship, teachers of specialized, smaller classes, church leaders, and leaders of youth groups. It is also good to include an adult family friend on the list who can attest to your personal nature.
6. Proofread your résumé, and then have at least three other people check it for you as well. Like the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and your résumé will be your first impression.
7. Use your résumé in mock interviews. Many high schools and colleges will conduct mock interview sessions periodically. Take in your résumé and have those at the mock interview review your résumé as well. The more feedback you receive, the better off your final product will be.
8. Ask adults who work in various fields to look over your résumé, especially if they work in human resources or other hiring capacities. Ask them what they look for in job applications and see if there is a way to apply those ideas to your résumé.
9. If you look at your résumé and don’t have any extracurricular activities, community service experiences, or club affiliations, there is still time to get active. Not only will those acquired skills help you create a complete 1st résumé, but you’ll learn valuable skills and perhaps get a new inspiration for the directions of your life.