It’s easy to write a resume when you have tons of relevant work experience but when you are a teenager with little to no previous experiences, how do you put up a resume that will land you a job?
Formatting and style
Just like any document, formatting and style give a first impression of the entire contents of the resume. Avoid cramming up too much words. Bullets and tables are preferred over lengthy paragraphs. Do not attempt to lengthen your resume by putting in filler contents. Someone fresh to the workforce should not need more than one page to describe all relevant skills, qualifications, and experience.
Incorrect spelling, whether just a typographical error or really misuse of words, can imply that you may not be paying as much attention to details as you should. One employer had to decline an applicant because he wrote “pervious employers”. A spell check before printing out your resume might well indeed save your ass!
You will be surprised that email addresses are actually a big deal to employers! Many employers prefer formal looking email addresses than those that have punk, princess, hot, or badazz phrases in them. If you have this kind you email address and you don’t want to dispose of it just yet, consider creating a new account exclusive for formal transactions. My suggestion is to use parts of your first and last name but here is also good list of tips for a professional-looking email address. If you don’t want to maintain two addresses, most email providers have a feature called Mail Forwarding that allows you to forward mails to another account.
Relevant or not, putting in your previous work experiences will give a hint that even if you are still young and starting out, professionalism in the work industry is not new to you. Include volunteer work and even those that aren’t at all in the same field as what you are applying for. If possible, exclude those that you had an unpleasant work experience — you don’t want to be talking much about it during the interview or else, you will be forced to lie about it.
Putting in character references is very important especially if you don’t have yet a lot of work experience. Include credible references, preferably those that are non-familial to eliminate possible bias. Remember to inform the person ahead if you will use him as reference so that he can prepare some good words for you if asked by your prospective employer.
Deliver a message. The big things you want employers to understand is that 1) you are responsible 2) you are a team player, and 3) you are available. But how do you deliver this message in a subtle way without actually saying “I am responsible” or “I am a team player”? This is probably the most tricky part. Perhaps you could mention an award you got for having perfect attendance (responsibility), include experiences of working in a group (team player), and not highlighting current jobs that might interfere schedule-wise with the one you are applying for (availability). Be creative!
Remember that a resume will make or break your application and is the stepping stone into landing an interview and getting hired. Hopefully these tips will put you at an advantage. Good luck!