High School Resume - How-To Guide for 2021 [11+ Samples]
Whether you’re preparing your college application, applying for an internship, or looking for a part-time job, you’ll notice that every single place is asking for your resume.
You sit down, work on your resume for an hour, trying to come up with what you can include…
And all you end up with is the name of the high school you’re attending.
“What gives?” you wonder.
“What else can I add to my resume, when I have zero work experience?”
That’s a more than valid concern and it’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in this article!
We’re going to tell you exactly what to write so that your resume is as convincing as any other (even with zero work experience).
Here’s what we’ll go over:
- What to include in a high school resume
- 4 Free high school templates you can use
- A real-life high school resume example
- FAQ on high school resumes
Let’s start with the question you’ve been repeatedly asking yourself:
What to Include in My High School Resume?
At the end of the day, resumes are about showing an employer that you are the right person for the job.
You want to show you’re a competent, passionate, and responsible individual, with the right skills to get the job done.
Well, work experience isn’t the only way to convince recruiters of that.
Instead, you can focus on the following sections:
- #1. Contact Information - This is where you write down your personal and contact information (no surprise there) like first and last name, phone number, e-mail address, or links to other profiles.
- #2. Resume Objective - In 3-4 sentences, you should be able to describe your career goals and aspirations as well as list your skills.
- #3. Education - As you probably guessed, this is where you list your education history and relevant certifications.
- #4. Extracurricular Activities - These include participation in high school clubs, competitive events, and volunteer work.
- #5. Projects & Gigs - You can mention relevant projects you have participated in, as well as any internships.
- #6. Work Experience (optional) - If you don’t have any work experience, you can mention apprenticeships or volunteer work instead.
- #7. Languages - Language skills are always a plus for your application.
- #8. Hobbies & Interests - These offer some insight into your personality and can show that you’re passionate and interested in the industry.
As you can see, there’s a lot that can go into your resume to make up for the missing work experience.
Now, we’ll dive into each of these sections in detail and teach you how to do each of them right!
So, let’s start with:
#1. Contact Information
The contact information isn’t too hard to pull off.
Here’s what you need to include here:
- First and Last Name
- Phone Number
- Email Address
Make sure to use a professional email address, something like: Name.Surname@gmail.com. Using your middle school email@example.com account will not leave the right impression.
#2. Resume Objective
Think of it as a short summary of why you’re applying for this specific position and why you’d be a good candidate for it.
You should try your best to link this summary to the role you are applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for a position as a sales associate, you should make a point of your good social skills, proficiency in math, and teamwork skills.
Let’s have a look at a concrete example of a resume objective for this case:
Hard-working, responsible high school student looking to contribute a positive and collaborative attitude in the retail field. Math-oriented individual with good attention to detail.
In a typical resume, this comes after the work experience section.
For a high school resume, though, you’d want to do it the other way around, since you want to put more focus on your academic achievements.
This section will most probably consist of only one entry: your high school education.
Here’s how you can format your education section:
- Name of the Degree
- Name of the Institution
- Years Attended
- GPA (if above 3.5)
- Honors (if applicable)
- Relevant Courses
Here’s what this would look like in practice:
High School Diploma (Honor Roll)
AB High School
09/2015 - 06/2019
- Relevant courses: AP Calculus, Statistics, Leadership
#4. Extracurricular Activities
Now, this section could be one of your biggest selling points.
Even if you have a not-so-special GPA, extracurriculars can turn your resume around. These activities are typically school-related, like participation in clubs or student societies.
Involvement in such, especially in leadership positions like club president or team captain, shows you are sociable and active in your pursuits.
When listing your extracurricular activities, you should format each entry like this:
Here’s what this would look like in practice:
Student Body Treasurer
Student Government, AB High School
- Managed the student council’s funds and expenses, kept financial records, and worked with the president and vice president to create budgets and allot funds for clubs and events.
- Participated in organizing student activities like dances, spirit weeks, community service, and fundraising movements and assemblies.
#5. Projects & Gigs
Here you can mention (or even link to) any independent projects you’ve worked on - something you’ve done on the side, unrelated to academics.
This could be a personal project, small business or startup, side-gig, blog, etc.
Such activities add a lot of value to your resume. They show you’re a self-starter and that’s a quality that’s very much appreciated in any role and industry.
Here’s how an entry in this section would look like:
Neighborhood Book Club
2019 - Present
- Founded a local book club, initially for my friends, and later for all the teenagers of my neighborhood.
- Prepared a monthly book calendar for the club, combining trending, relevant, and classic books.
- Organized weekly meetings to discuss the progress on the books and our thoughts upon finishing them.
#6. Work Experience (Optional)
If you have some work experience, awesome! Here’s how you’d format it on your high school resume:
- Company Name
- Dates Employed
- Achievements & Responsibilities
Here’s what this would look like in practice:
Joe’s Sandwich Emporium
06/2020 - 09/2020
- Prepared several types of sandwiches for customers.
- Promoted new products on the menu directly to customers.
- Worked with the cash register.
- Interacted with dozens of customers on a daily basis.
If you don’t have any work experience, though, worry not! You can always replace it with another “Other” section.
Volunteer work, for example, is another great addition to your resume. If you also have any informal work experiences like babysitting or dog walking, you should include them in the section.
Even if you didn’t get a paycheck out of that work, such experiences show you are skilled and reliable.
For example, an entry for volunteering experience can look like this:
Educational Team Member
Save the Children
2018 - Present
- Assisted in giving weekly art history and drawing lessons to children at the local orphanage
- Helped organize visits at local museums and art galleries
#7. Language skills
Are you bilingual or can speak another language apart from your native one?
Make sure to mention it on your high school resume!
Wherever you might be applying, you can rest assured that they’re going to appreciate your language skills.
Even if you’re applying for a job in the service or retail industry, proficiency in an extra language or two is going to give you an advantage over other applicants, especially if you write your CEFR level, and can back up the claim in conversation.
Who knows when some foreign customers will come in and your knowledge will come in handy!
With that scenario in mind:
Be mindful not to exaggerate your skills, as lying on your resume can only get you in trouble.
#8. Hobbies & Interests
It might feel like you’re just filling up some space, but actually, the hobbies and interests you list on a resume can be significant, especially if you don’t have a lot of extracurriculars or work experience.
You need something to hint as to who you are as a person and employee, and listing hobbies and interests will do that for you.
They also show that you are an engaged individual and well-rounded applicant.
However, you should be selective with what you mention here.
Listing 6+ hobbies will end up having the opposite effect - it will look like you’re just throwing in some random words, hoping some of them will be impressive.
A good strategy is to look for hints on the job ad i.e. if they are looking for a team player, mentioning a team sport as one of your hobbies is a great idea.
Keep in mind, though, that you should also avoid hobbies that don’t add to your profile as a candidate.
E.g.: your gaming hobby doesn't make you a better candidate for the role of a sales manager.
4 Free High School Resume Templates
So we’re all done with theory at this point.
There’s one thing left for you to do: sit down and start preparing your resume.
To help you with that, we’ve gathered 4 free resume templates, perfect for a high school resume.
All you have to do is pick the ones you like best & get started with your resume!
#1. Simple Resume Template
This versatile template works for all kinds of applicants - from those with plenty to those with zero work experience.
The neutral colors emphasize information over flashiness and the structure is easy to follow.
#2. Professional Resume Template
This next template is an all-time favorite of ours.
Unlike the first template, the Professional one is formatted into two columns. It’s simple, yet stands out with its blue accent color (which you can change into any color you like).
#3. Modern Resume Template
The Modern template adds something more to the traditional resume look. There is a faded design in the background and some of the sections are boxed by large brackets.
It’s a template that stands out without being too loud or wild.
#4. Creative Resume Template
If you’re applying for a position in a creative field (marketing, design, etc.), this is the template for you.
It uses accent colors and has a bold header that makes a statement.
High School Resume Example
As important as picking the right template is, the content of the resume is what’s going to seal the deal.
Here’s one example of a high school student resume, so you can get a clearer idea of what it should look like!
High School Resume FAQ
If you still have some questions regarding your high school resume, check out the FAQ and our answers below:
#1. How can I write a high school resume with no work experience?
As a high school student, it’s more than normal for you to have no work experience. This shouldn’t scare you.
There’s a lot of activities you can add to your resume that can substitute work experience.
Extracurricular activities, like participation in school clubs, projects, and gigs, are a great indicator of your skills and personality. Any informal work experiences should also be mentioned.
As long as you are showing the recruiter that you are capable of doing the job, your resume will be just fine without a work experience section.
#2. How long should a high school resume be?
When it comes to high school resumes, the answer is undebatable: one page.
A 2018 eye-tracking study showed that recruiters spend about 7 seconds skimming a resume before deciding whether to discard it or not.
A 2-page resume will be simply excessive.
Heck, even if you’re a professional with 10 years of work experience, we’d still recommend sticking to 1 page.
For more on resume length best practices, check out our article.
#3. What’s the best way to make a high school resume?
An important and time-consuming part of making a resume is getting the formatting right.
This means meticulously editing a Word or Google doc in order to get the right typeface, font size, line spacing, margins, etc.
What we’re getting at here is, if you’re making your resume manually, it can take you hours…
And then you make a tiny change on your layout, and your resume starts spilling into the second page!
Want to save time and effort?
Just use a resume builder! The formatting is done for you, and all YOU have to do is fill in the resume!
That pretty much covers all you need to know about writing a high school no-experience resume.
Quite simple and doable, right?
Finally, here’s a recap of what you should keep in mind when writing your high school resume:
- Instead of work experience, talk about extracurriculars like school clubs, personal projects, or gigs.
- Use sections like education, hobbies & interests, and languages to emphasize your skills and give an idea of your personality.
- Grab the recruiter’s attention with a concise resume objective that clearly highlights your top skills and career goals.
- Keep your resume at a maximum of 1 page.
And finally, good luck with your job search!