Your teenager needs a resume. Yep, a resume. You may think, “That’s ridiculous! What on earth would go on it? And why?”
The quicker your teen can start getting some job experience the better. A resume is a great tool to help cinch the deal. But even if your teen doesn’t plan on working part-time, he or she still needs a resume.
Resumes can be used to submit for college admission and scholarships (under “Other Materials”) and are vital for internships. Also, some schools or even scholarship programs want reference letters. Teachers, family friends, etc. can use a resume to write more persuasive ones for your teen.
And if you don’t have a teen in your house, maybe you’re an aunt or uncle to one, a grandparent, a mentor, teacher, big brother or sister who could help that teenager in your life with this important task. Even the global employment site Monster.com recommends adults use a friend or expert as outside help. If that’s true for adults, then it’s even more for teens or college students with little or no job experience! (Not to worry. We’ll help you create one with our FREE Teen Resume Builder Kit in under one hour).
Even if your teen doesn’t plan on working part-time, they still needs a resume.
It’s amazing that once a young person sees their accomplishments on paper, it becomes more real to them, and they often have more confidence. Using a resume for their talking points makes them more persuasive and effective in interviews too.
I helped create resumes for my own kids starting in middle school. They’ve sometimes asked me to help their friends, even some halfway through college who didn’t have a resume. Select a basic template, nothing fancy, that you can add to and subtract from for years.
It will come in handy.
When my son Jake was in high school, he went into the tuxedo rental shop with his best friend Hank to rent their tuxes for prom. Jake was so knowledgeable helping Hank, the store manager noticed. She asked Jake, “Would you want to consider working here?” He said, “Sure.” She suggested they talk when he returned his tux in a few days. Because Jake already had a resume, he wasn’t scrambling.
That afternoon, he just tweaked it for that particular job and got it off to her with a short email saying he looked forward to talking with her more about the job. When he went back to meet with her, she didn’t interview him so much as ask when he could start and how many hours he could work.
She’d never had a high school student send a resume and cover letter before. That made him stand out from the rest right off the bat. Now, three years later, he’s partway through college and still has that job. They’ve even been flexible with his college class schedule and when he’s done summer internships.
One more personal example…I belong to a group of moms who got to know each other when our kids were in kindergarten together. Now, those kindergartners are (gulp!) 21. We get together every year on the Sunday closest to Cinco de Mayo to catch up on each other and our kids and share a meal. This year, the gathering was at my house. One of the moms said she was so glad that I had suggested years ago to get a resume started for her kids. She was telling us how it helped her youngest child get a part-time job.
Once you get a resume started, you’ll be surprised that they really do have stuff to put on it. You can be so helpful in the process because you have more business experience and know better what’s applicable. You’ll think of things they won’t, and you’ll be able to spot errors and help them highlight their strengths.
I’ve helped quite a few adults tweak their resumes – many with incredible credentials. One had helped develop one of Europe’s largest arboretums and didn’t think of it until I started asking him questions about his work. So, make building a resume a collaborative process. It will be stronger for it.
A resume needs to be a summary of your young person’s accomplishments and experience and include contact information. One word of caution: When you’re doing the resume with your child, you need to decide what contact information to put in. It depends on who it’s going to, the age of the child, your own feelings about privacy and safety, etc.
For accomplishments for skills, here are some things you can put on the resume:
Making the Honor Roll
Excelling at a sport
Volunteering at church or for a civic organization
Doing a walk/run for charity
Completing CPR, lifeguard, or babysitting classes
Cooking for friends
(For a more complete list, get the FREE Teen Resume Builder Kit, so you can come up with a polished resume in under an hour -- and see a sample of one for a teen.)
Now you’re ready to help your young person with this important life skill!
Any other questions for teens?
Ask us in the comments!