How to Write a Resume for a High School Student or Teenager

by Fred Pinnegar, Resume Coach and Professional Writer

A teenager applying for a job will generally not have very much experience or schooling to list on a resume, but you can still use effective strategies to make yourself look appealing to a potential employer. If you are replying to an advertisement or job posting, its content and language will provide important information about what to include in your resume.


1. Identification. Provide complete information at the top of the resume to identify yourself. Include name, address, phone number, and e-mail address, as well as a fax number, if you have one. Make sure that you use an e-mail address-such as your first and last name or your first and middle initials with last name-that is appropriate for business correspondence. You don't want to use your funny or cute e-mail address that you chose when you were 12. Symmetrically balance the contact information, and make your name stand out.

Billy Smith
1420 Park Drive
Chicago, Illinois 59393
(220) 208-4928

2. Objective. Use an objective section to define the position you seek. Echo the language of the job advertisement or posting if you are replying to one.


Service Station Attendant
Stock Boy
Office Assistant
Food Server
Sales Associate


Work as a server for a local restaurant, where I can contribute my strong work ethic and integrity to help make the business successful.
Provide quality lawn care for local businesses.
Offer excellent customer service to inbound callers.
Work as a sales representative in the pest control or telecommunications industry.

3. Education. State your year in school, the high school you attend, and your anticipated date of graduation. Note future educational plans if you know them (see below). You can also list important courses you have taken and projects completed that are directly relevant to the job you seek.

La Sierra High School, Carmichael, California
Year: Junior             Expected graduation date: May 2010

Relevant coursework:

BookkeepingPublic Speaking
Job SkillsPractical Math

4. Future Plans. If you have educational plans for the near future, you might include them.


I have been accepted into the College of Engineering at CSU and awarded a President's Scholarship.

I will be taking my SAT exams next month, and I am planning to major in psychology.

I am planning to attend Iowa State in the fall, majoring in accounting.

I am taking AP classes to prepare for college.

I received a full-tuition academic scholarship to Washington University, where I will begin attending this fall.

5. Work experience. If you have previous work experience, particularly in jobs similar to the one for which you are applying, identify them by job title, the name of the place where you worked, and dates of employment. Itemize responsibilities, skills, duties, and achievements particularly relevant to the job objective or specifications in the job posting or advertisement.


Life Guard, Community Pool, Mesa, Arizona. Summer 2008
  • Certified by American Red Cross in Life Guard and CPR
  • Maintained safe and pleasant atmosphere for pool patrons
  • Provided close supervision for patrons and rescued swimmers in distress
Yard Maintenance, Neighborhood, 2004-2008
  • Maintained yards for five regular customers
  • Mowed lawns, composted clippings, trimmed edges
  • Weeded flower beds
  • Pruned trees
  • Picked fruit

Childcare Provider. Neighborhood, 2002-2006

  • Worked regularly for 10-15 families in the neighborhood
  • Provided close supervision and care for children ages newborn to 12 years


Short-order cook, King Burgers Restaurant, Nashville, Tennessee. January 2008-Present
  • Prepared fast-food orders quickly and efficiently
  • Maintained sanitary workstation
  • Cleaned grill at close of business
  • Earned employee of the month award (August 2008)
Food Server, Renie's Restaurant, Nashville, Tennessee, Summers of 2006 and 2007
  • Took orders from customers
  • Brought orders to customers
  • Cleared tables and cleaned up spills and messes
  • Worked cash register
  • Helped in kitchen when needed
  • Maintained good customer relations by attending quickly and pleasantly to their needs.

6. Activities. This section may include extracurricular activities, sports, and clubs you have been participating in during high school. Listing these activities demonstrates your leadership skills, sociability, and energy level. State the activity, when it took place, and your position or role in it. Itemize responsibilities, skills, duties, and achievements particularly relevant to the specifications included in the job posting or advertisement.


Football (Captain, senior year)
Forensics (prepared memorized speeches as well as material for impromptu dialogue for monthly meets)
Future Business Leaders of America (Took first place in accounting and recordkeeping)
National Honor Society member
School play (Played lead role in South Pacific)
Soccer (Made varsity team as a sophomore)

7. Honors and awards. Itemize awards and achievements received, including competitive scholarships based on ability rather than need.


Senior Class President
Student of the Week (October 3-10)
First Place in Regional Drama Competition (Improv)

8. Language. List languages you have studied besides English (or the dominant language of the country in which you reside). Indicate your degree of proficiency (good, fair, excellent, near-native) in reading, writing, and speaking.


Spanish 1, 2, and 3; fair reading, writing, and speaking skills

9. References. You should include a reference page with your resume. A reference page is a list of contacts who know you well and who can vouch for your knowledge and skills in a particular area, your ability to work hard, or your previous work experience. Some applicants choose not to include a reference sheet with their resume and instead include a statement such as “References Available upon Request” on their resume, but doing so is discouraged. Busy hiring managers or human resource representatives may not feel like putting in the extra time and effort to contact you in order to obtain your references, so you might find yourself out of the running prematurely if you choose not to include your references with your resume.


Larry Gibson
Manager, Circle Bar Restaurant
626 North 4nd Street
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009
Phone: 672-0677

David Tucker
Owner, ABC Lawn Care
123 East 2300 South Street
Detroit, Michigan 55551
Phone: 555-5555

Mary Williams
Director, City Youth Center
5332 West Main
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009
Phone: 325-2022