“I need a resume?” you ask. Answer: Yes, you do even in high school. Good news - there’s an app for that. Ingenious digital minds have produced a wide range of online and cell phone tools that make it easier to build and share professional-looking, neatly-formatted resumes. We’ve compiled a list of those tools below.
But before we jump into it, let’s do a quick review of what a resume is all about. Because while the apps can format your information, the content is still all on you.
A Scan-able Outline of Your Experience
A resume is, for lack of better words, a biography of your work experience. It helps paint the picture of why you should be hired and how you can help your potential employer. Here’s the Catch 22. You need a resume to get a job, but what if you’ve never had a job before? You have to start somewhere! Even if you don’t have job experience, you have some kind of experience that makes you a deserving job applicant, or – perhaps more importantly – a deserving college applicant.
Resumes are indeed part of the college application process these days. Since resumes are generally easy to scan (make sure this is true of yours), they are the quickest way to share your experience and attributes with either a college or an employer.
Record Your Achievements – And Start Early
The earlier you start compiling your resume content – freshman or sophomore year – the easier and more complete the task will be. As with most future-enhancing endeavors, there’s benefit in thought and planning. Reflect on anything and everything that makes you worthy of attention, including:
- Academic Record – Highlight your range of study (indicating broad and diverse background), the subjects you excel in, and any unique or pertinent classes you took (i.e. language courses, if you’re applying to an international school).
- Extra-Curricular Activities – Since your employment experience might be limited, keep track of all other activities to demonstrate your high level of energy, involvement and interest.
- Accolades – Include contests and awards you’ve won, honor societies that accepted you, high praise you received from teachers, etc.
- Jobs – Even if it’s lawn mowing or babysitting, any past job experience shows that you’re ambitious and willing to work.
- References – Find at least three people (outside of your family) who admire you or speak highly of you. Then ask if they’d be willing to write a brief reference. Personal references go a long way to round out resumes and/or college applications.
- Skills, Special Traits or Experiences – What makes you shine? In what ways are you interesting? Have you lived through a challenging situation? You learned from it – so talk about it.
Keep It Up-to-Date
Start by keeping a written, running tally of all of the above. Then convert it to electronic form, using the apps below. As soon as you have a new experience, add it. Don’t wait until someone asks for your resume, because that’s crunch-time. If you wait, you’re likely to forget something, too. Put a note on your calendar at the end of every quarter, reminding yourself to re-evaluate recent activities or achievements that might enhance the overall Story of You.
Apps Make It Easy
Here’s the list we promised of readily-available tools to help you build and format a polished resume:
- Naturally the iTunes store has everything an iPhone user needs for resumes.
- And as usual, Google won’t be outdone. Their apps work with Android.
Now start building your resume this weekend!