It's my first resume - what do I do?

If you’re in high school or college looking to get an internship, join an organization or even get a job, chances are you’ll need a resume. Consider this one of the first steps of “growing up.” You may think, "it's my first resume" and that it’s difficult to put one together, but once you know the basics – you’ll be fine.

Why do I need a resume?

Resumes paint a picture of who you are – what you’ve done and why you are qualified to do the job. This sheet of paper can make or break your chances of grabbing the attention of the admissions team, internship coordinator or employers.

Here are a few tips:

  • Take a minute to think about all your experiences and achievements. Write down each one that you feel would be relevant enough to impress someone and why.
  • Write a few sentences on why these experiences and achievement are relevant and how are they helpful in a position?
  • Make a list of key action words
  • Write down any volunteer work you’ve done
  • Study the criteria for the position or activity you need the resume for

Once you’ve completed this list, you can get to work. A resume should highlight your academics, skills and experience in one page. You should consider a few styles to determine which one highlights your accomplishments the best. Use your keywords, proofread, and proofread again.  

High School

Not many high school students understand how to write their resumes for a college application, internship or job, and that’s okay! It isn’t a hard process, and once you know the steps, you’ll be writing a knockout resume in no time. The key thing to focus on is your performance in and out of school. Make sure to highlight your GPA, awards and recognition, extracurricular activities, and any volunteer or community service work. This shows flexibility, the ability to multitask and your leadership potential. Colleges love mature, headstrong, independent, smart, and reliable students, so highlighting these skills and characteristics will impress them.


Writing a resume for an internship or job as a college student can be a bit more complex, but this is your chance to shine. It’s time to highlight your leadership skills in a comprehensive way. Draw from the resume you did in high school (if you did one) and start there. What have you done since enrolling in college? Are you in any organizations? Do you hold any leadership positions? Any additional training such as participating in team building, or special conferences you’ve attended should be listed according to relevance. If you play sports or have any academic accolades, now is the time to highlight them. Volunteer service is important, and any experience you have working on campus, such as being an orientation leader, RA, TA or student assistant.

Once you’re done, let someone else look at it. It’s always good to have a second set of eyes help perfect your writing. Depending on the role, you may want to add a picture. In some cases, that’s perfectly acceptable. In others, not so much – know your audience. Remember, confidence is key. This is your opportunity to show why you’re the best for the role, so sell it to the best of your ability. Focus on the future and keep your eyes on the prize.