Crafting a High School Resume
- 2010 5 Feb
The high school years brim with activity. Besides academic coursework, your teen may be involved in community service, a part-time job, church ministry, hobbies, sports, groups, or musical endeavors. Is anyone tired yet?
We are not recommending that your teen add one more activity to an already overloaded schedule, but we'd like to suggest that your teen take the time now to summarize his skills and abilities in a resume format.
A resume is simply a record of education and work experience, usually for the benefit of potential employers. It is a useful tool to reference when completing college applications, entering a scholarship competition, or pursuing an award or honor. Creating a resume is a great assignment for your teens because it enables them to see the importance of the activities in which they are involved.
Let's take a look at the major sections of a resume.
The personal information on your teen's resume should include his full name, mailing address, phone number, and, in this computer age, an e-mail address if available. Many people who contact your teen will likely do it by e-mail because it is easy and saves time. If your e-mail server allows for the use of multiple addresses, your teen should settle on an e-mail address that is professional, such as firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com. A professional first impression is important!
In this section, your teen should list all of the schools he has attended to date, including city and state. These should be listed in descending order, with the most recent first. Don't shy away from noting that your teen was homeschooled. If you regularly use a name for your homeschool (such as Smith Academy Homeschool), you may note this name, providing the address and the years your teen has attended. If you are enrolled in an oversight or umbrella school, you may want to use its name. In addition, if your teen has taken courses at a local community college or through distance learning programs, be sure to include these schools on the list.
Body of the Resume
The main section of the resume is divided into smaller sections. This provides an opportunity to highlight the various skills and abilities your teen has developed. Give careful consideration to the order in which you list various segments in the body. For example, if your teen has advanced to the position of Eagle Scout (a well-known and much-acclaimed honor), list that first in the appropriate section. On the other hand, if your teen has excellent musical abilities, this item would be moved to the top of the list in the body of the resume.
Various categories that may be included in this section include the following:
Due to the flexible schedules of homeschoolers, many teens work part-time during the high school years. Some part-time jobs not only provide your teens with extra spending money, but the opportunity to job shadow in a line of work they are interested in pursuing after graduation. Regardless of the job your teen engages in, encourage her to build good relationships with supervisors, be attentive to detail (do all things "heartily, as to the Lord"), treat coworkers with respect, be punctual, and shoulder responsibilities with a cheerful attitude.
Every part-time job is an opportunity to add an employer to the list of potential references your teen will need when applying for full-time positions in the future. List the employer's company name and address (city and state), dates of employment, and a brief recap of responsibilities/assignments completed and skills learned.
In addition, note the unpaid positions your teen holds, such as assistant coach, office assistant, participant in theatre productions, or event coordinator.
Honors and Awards
Homeschoolers are eligible for many of the same awards and honors as other students. In the event that you encounter an organization that excludes homeschoolers, graciously ask why. In many cases, this is not a deliberate exclusion. The sponsor of the award or honor may simply not have considred homeschoolers. Some organizations have revised their policies to include homeschoolers based on one family's taking the time to articulate reasons why homeschoolers would make attractive applicants for certain awards, honors, or scholarships.
If your teen excels academically, he or she may be eligible for honors. Although homeschoolers are excluded from membership in the National Honor Society, there are two honor societies that welcome homeschoolers: Eta Sigma Alpha National Home School Honor Society (http://esa.homeeducationpartnership.com/) and the National Society of High School Scholars (http://nshss.org/).
On the resume, list the award, honor, or scholarship received, and furnish the name of the granting organization, the date received, and a brief recap of why the award was given.
Community Service and Volunteer Opportunities
Many homeschooled teens are active in church, neighborhood, and individual community service. Hours spent volunteering often sharpen leadership abilities, develop new skills, and provide caring support to individuals. Don't forget to include service in the church nursery, helping with the sound system, or teaching Sunday school. Other possible community service hours include time spent volunteering at an animal shelter, a food pantry, the local library, or a nursing home, among many others. Your teen could also be creative and organize a neighborhood cleanup day, coordinate a talent show for nursing-home residents to enjoy, or teach computer skills to single moms who need to brush up on work-related skills.
Your teens may have a proclivity for politics. Volunteer work on political campaigns, whether at the local, state, or national levels, can also be added to the resume.
In listing all of these activities, include the name of the organization, dates of service, a brief description of the work performed, and skills acquired.
Proficiency in computer skills is important in today's marketplace. Be sure that your teens know basic applications such as Word, Excel, and Power Point. Knowledge of computer terminology will aid in understanding applications and operations such as saving important documents, sending and receiving e-mails, and performing Internet research. These skills are becoming essential no matter what path your teen takes after high school. For free computer applications, see www.internet4classrooms.com/on-line.htm.
In addition, if your teens are computer savvy, learning a computer language or two will further aid them in the marketplace and in basic computer programming courses. There are many books available, both from stores and libraries, that will allow your students to learn such languages on their own.
Be sure to list all areas of computer proficiency, languages, and any certification earned on the resume.
Foreign Language Proficiency
If your teens are fluent in a foreign language, include this information on the resume. They will want to briefly state how this fluency was achieved—living abroad, immersion experience, years of study, SAT subject test score, etc.
Your teens may be certified in first aid, CPR, lifesaving, or even babysitting. Information on certification, included in the resume, will be helpful when applying for employment in these areas or for entry into a field of study. Again, the dates and levels of certification are important to add.
This section includes your teen's hobbies, such as reading, gardening, chess, and so forth. Extracurricular activities (sports, music, theatre, dance, debate, Scouts, and more) also fall under this heading. These activities will provide those reading with a clearer picture of your teen.
Most often, these activities are merely listed on the resume. If special recognition was received in any of these areas, it should be listed under the awards section.
Club or Association Memberships
Your teen may take advantage of belonging to a club or association, such as 4-H, Key Club, Toastmasters, Civil Air Patrol, or others. Membership not only provides an occasion to improve teamwork skills, but it may also supply wonderful networking opportunities and leadership training. Listing membership affiliations on a resume may be a conversation starter with a prospective employer or college admissions officer. In other instances, they may open a door of opportunity with the interviewer who may also be a fellow club or association member.
Keep track of your teens' travel experiences during the high-school years. These may be trips in conjunction with academic studies, short-term mission projects, or simply pleasure trips. If any of these merit additional explanation, be brief; otherwise, just list the countries or regions of the world traveled.
References Provided Upon Request
It is appropriate to end the resume with the notation "References provided upon request." Keep a list of suitable people and their contact information. One or two people who can attest to your teen's overall character are good choices. It is also wise for your teens to have references who know them well in the areas pertinent to the position sought. For example, if your teen is applying for a computer position, one who is acquainted with his computer abilities would be preferable. If the references are for college applications, seek out those who know her academic abilities.
Wrapping It Up
We've tried to comprehensively itemize the categories of information a teen can show on a resume. However, we don't expect teens to have information in every section we've covered. Please don't fret and attempt to involve your teen in too many activities. Narrow down the number of areas in which your teen is involved to just a few, and have him or her participate wholeheartedly in these endeavors.
In fact, if possible, it is preferable to keep the resume to one page. Choose items your teen believes will best showcase his experience and abilities. You can also tailor the resume to include the skills and experiences that represent your teen's qualifications for the position being sought.
If he starts a resume in the ninth grade, your teen can add to it each year as he progresses through high school. When a resume is needed, it will be readily accessible.
If additional help or sample resumes would be beneficial, HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Web site provides links to practical information for creating a resume: http://www.hslda.org/highschool/beyondacademics.asp#resume.
*This article published February 5, 2010.
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer currently serve as High School Coordinators for Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and helped develoop HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru Highschool web site four years ago. As former homeschool moms of now-grown children who have graduated from college, Becky and Diane can relate to your good times and bad! Their desire is to help you homeschool high school with excellence. Most of all, they pray that your homeschooling years are full of joy and the delight of knowing that your investment in your teens is seen and rewarded by the Lord.
This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb '10 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Now, get a FREE subscription to the HSE Digital Edition! Visit www.HSEmagazine.com/digital today to get immediate access to the latest edition!