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Resume Tips for Unemployed Teens

Creating a Resume, National Honor Society, Resume Tips

Ask anyone looking for a job: It’s hard. The national unemployment rate hovered around 8.2 percent in May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the unemployment rate among working-age teens is a staggering 24.9 percent across the country — and it’s even higher in urban areas. Why so many out-of-work teens? Well, the jobs typically snapped up by teens, typically service-based positions, are going to older adults who cannot find other jobs.

Is all lost for teens looking for a job? No, but if you’re a job-seeking teen, you have to step your game up considerably. One way to do that is by creating a resume to submit with your applications.

Building a Resume Basics

You’ve likely heard about creating a resume, but you’re probably not familiar with how to actually do it. It’s relatively simple: Open a word processing document and put your name and contact information at the top. The first thing employers want to see is your name, address, phone number and email address listed clearly on the page. Forget this and forget about getting a job — how are they supposed to contact you without your details?


It should look something like this:

First Last Name
123 Address
City, State Zip
Phone Number Email Address

List your Education

You probably don’t have a lot of work experience yet, so play up your education at the top of your resume. The ‘education’ section should come directly after your contact information and needs to list your school name, grade level and expected graduation date. You can include your GPA, but only include it it’s a 3.0 or higher.

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Another good ideas is to include your relevant coursework along with your education information. For example, if you’re looking to work as store cashier, include and business or accounting classes you’ve taken in school.

Your Education section should look something like this:


City High School
City, State
12th Grade – Expected Graduation: Month, Year
GPA: 3.4 out of 4.0
Relevant Coursework: Accounting 1, Business Basics, Marketing

Add in Any Work Experience

Next comes your relevant work experience. This section should list and jobs you’ve held — like newspaper routes, babysitting — along with the dates you worked and the responsibilities of the job. If you haven’t had a job, consider adding your volunteer work or experience with clubs like the Girls Scouts or church youth groups.

Your Experience section will look like this:


Company #1 Name
City, State
Job Title
Dates Worked

Job Responsibilities/Achievements

Company #2 Name
City, State
Job Title
Dates Worked

Job Responsibilities/Achievements

And so on until you’ve listed all of the important information.

Toot Your Own Horn

Have you been honored at school or in the community? Be sure to add that on your resume to demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded person.

Your honors section will look something like this:


National Honor Society
Dates involved
Offices held (if any)

High School Drama Club
Dates Involved
Awards or offices held (if any)

Student Council
Dates Involved
Offices held

Add Your Skills

A skills section will show employers your qualifications that go above and beyond. Add in skills like computer, language and graphic design skills, depending on the job.

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Check Yourself

A great resume is worthless if it contains spelling or grammatical errors. It’s a good idea to proofread your resume and have someone else (a parent, teacher or friend) check it for typos, too.


Don’t Forget

You should save your resume so you can go back and add to it as the years progress and you gain skills and experience. Name the file something you’ll easily recognize, like “FirstNameLastNameResume.”

Also, try to keep your resume to one page. Employers don’t have time to go over your life story — you can get into the details during an interview. A resume is supposed to just be a snapshot of who you are as a person and employee.

What other resume tips do you have for teens?