TL;DR Resources: How to Write a Resume
By Erin Kang
December 29, 2021 · 3 minute read
You’re sitting at your desk, typing away at an application for a summer STEM program. You’re almost at the finish line until you see “Submit a PDF version of your resume below.” A resume? How do I go about making a resume? Keep reading this article for a brief rundown on constructing a resume.
Let’s define what a resume is first. A resume is a condensed accumulation of your education, experiences, and skills. It is most often used in the job application process. For high schoolers, however, it is a good way to keep record of all the experiences you’ve acquired and the extracurriculars you have completed. Many high school programs and scholarships also require resumes, so building a strong resume from the start is essential.
What Goes in a Resume?
For high schoolers, resumes should consist of any variation of the following:
- Some sort of heading with your name, address, and email
- The name of your high school and your graduation date
- GPA (weighted)
o School clubs
o Community service
o Special skills
o Work experience
o Summer programs
- Academic awards/honors
General Tips to Follow
Your resume should be to the point. When you submit your resume, chances are there will be other resumes that need to be viewed as well. Therefore, it is important to avoid creating lengthy descriptions for activities. Instead, you should focus on including activities that demonstrate passion, commitment, and show who you are.
2. Resume Language
- You should be very specific and mention components such as your role in a particular extracurricular (including any leadership roles), the amount of time you spent learning a skill, and contributions you’ve made to the experience.
- You should include language that grabs the reader’s attention and highlights the strengths within your resume. Below is a list of action verbs provided by Harvard University.
Image Credit: Harvard University
- Formatting is crucial when building your resume. The purpose of formatting is to ensure the reader can quickly read and understand the kind of person you are from your resume.
- You should always use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
- There is not one right way to format. As long as you stay consistent with the font, your sections have clear headings, and you utilize a system that works for you, the reader will have no issue scanning your resume.
Below is a simple example of a resume.
1800 Westwood Drive
Madison, Wisconsin 53558
firstname.lastname@example.org John Doe
Crest View High School – 2021-Present (Anticipated graduation May of 2025)
2323 Verona Rd Madison, WI 53558; (608)-388-1788
Special Program – International Baccalaureate
Weighted GPA: 4.72 Unweighted GPA: 3.95
Class Rank: 9 of 230
- Make sure to include your home address as well as your current school’s address. You can also add your GPA and class rank.
Science Olympiad – 2023-2024
President – Organized board meetings and general member practices. Implemented a new system of practice that improved member performances and helped qualify the team for Nationals.
National Honor Society – 2024-2025
Vice President – Organized an event that raised $2500 to donate to local COVID relief.
- In this example, the activities are listed in chronological order but they can also be listed based on importance and commitment.
- When writing descriptions, avoid using pronouns such as “I” or “we”. Use an active voice rather than a passive one.
HONORS AND AWARDS
2021 – Science Olympiad States
3rd place in Chem Lab
8th place in Anatomy and Physiology
2022 – Science Olympiad Regionals
1st place in Anatomy and Physiology
2023 – Science Olympiad Nationals
1st place in Disease Detectives
Intel Science Fair
2022 – 1st place in Engineering
- If you have multiple awards under the same organization or competition, you should organize the awards by year.
- Make sure to define the different headings and sections clearly by bolding, underlining, and using italics.
Resumes may seem like a foreign concept, but in truth they are simply a way for you to keep track of what you have accomplished and for future employers and organizations to see who you are. If you feel like you don't have enough experiences or skills to put on your resume, do not fret. The whole purpose of a resume is to showcase your strengths. As long as you show passion and commitment to the experiences, opportunities, and awards you have received, the reader will be thoroughly impressed. As a high schooler, you still have so many years to perfect your resume. For you, this is just the beginning.
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About The Author
Erin Kang is a freshman at the University of Florida and is a part of the Sciteens team. Her hobbies include baking, listening to music, and playing the violin. If you have any questions or future article recommendations, feel free to contact her at email@example.com.