Post Date: May 19th, 2019

How to help your student build his/her first résumé.

student in cap and gownI sat down with my daughter in March after she, her friend and myself had a conversation about data plans for their iphones. Her friend has one, she does not. When she asked if she could have a data plan, my answer was:

…when you can pay for it, you can have one.

She inquired about getting a job. I knew exactly what to do next.

First. Is my daughter old enough to work in my province/state?

I Googled “What age do you have to be to work in British Columbia?” Some provinces are as low as 12, but most are 14 or 16. Currently, British Columbia is working to raise the minimum age but for now, it’s 12.

Second. What are my criteria for a job that is safe? (distance from home, employer, safe work conditions, etc.) What are her criteria for a job that is good for the summer?

Third, Who is going to hire someone with zero work experience? How are we going to prove she has what it takes to be hired knowing she has never held a job?

We went to work immediately.


First, we sat down together at the computer. We Googled “part-time jobs” in our “local area”. We talked about what she thought the job titles meant before we clicked on them to read more. I tried to edit her selection to be efficient with our time. She didn’t like that. She wanted to learn why it was/was not a good fit for her. I backed off and let her read.

Once we had three job posters, I highlighted the first one using this method.

Pink: Descriptive words used in the job poster (team player, creative, outgoing).

Green: Skills your student is missing, but are required on the job.

Yellow: Tasks your student needs to perform on the job (look for and highlight the verbs).

See one, Do one, Teach one.

I used the first job poster to show her how to do it

I used the second job poster to let her do it on her own (with some guidance)

The final job poster, she highlighted on her own, while teaching me what she was highlighting and why. This isn’t a new teaching method, but it is an effective one.

Now we were clear about what all three jobs wanted from a candidate. The next stage was to prove that she was an ideal candidate for each job (even if she didn’t meet 100% of the criteria).


Before we could write her resume, we had to spend some time figuring out what we were going to include in a resume, given that I’m an executive resume writer, I had done most of the work in advance. That’s what I recommend you do as well.

Discover your child’s interests.

Is your child an active helper at home, in the community?

Consider any activity your child is interested in. Where do they spend their time? Have they won awards, volunteered, committed to the pursuit of excellence in their sports, hobbies or interests?

Was your student involved in track and field, debate teams, band, public speaking, part of the honour roll? Do they babysit regularly, do chores at home: cooking, cleaning, baking, gardening.

Parents are often so busy with their daily tasks, they overlook the tremendous effort their kids are making on a daily basis. Help your child connect the dots by working on his/her resume together.

We’ll use these section headers later to develop your child’s resume. You might do a section on

Work (Babysitting) and/or Volunteering in the community.

A student example

My daughter has four main areas of interest we can choose to discuss in her resume

School subject: Math | Sport: Athlete

Interest: Band (musical instrument) | Hobby: Girl Guides

I used each of these main areas to create a resume that speaks to employers.


(Writing your Student’s first résumé)

Student’s Name | High School Student | contact information

An opening paragraph that describes her as a respectful hardworking student and community leader. Use the pink and yellow highlighted sections to focus on the words you’ll use to describe the student (as long as these are accurate). For each green highlighted section, you’ll have to address how the student will make up for not having that specific requirement or qualification. Get creative, but also: ALWAYS BE 100% TRUTHFUL.

Success in each of her top four categories

  • A top student in math and science
  • Competitive athlete dedicated to attending 7 practices per week
  • Gold medal winner, regional championships (saxophone)
  • Community Leader volunteers at local food banks and clean-up events via Girl Guides of Canada

Student resume. Promotion Career Solutions. Maureen McCann. www.mypromotion.caNext, we created sections on travel, then finance experience (she’s a saver) then chores at home. That information filled one page. She looked it over, made some tweaks and it was done.

Super! Now we have one resume, but three different versions tailored for each job poster (remember you used the yellow, pink and green highlighted areas to address the employer’s requirements, so each of those resumes will be different).

We made sure to address the fact that this would be her first job. We used phrases like: “Student looking for first job” and “ready to learn.”

It may seem like a lot of work all at once, but really, it’s something you can start for your student at any age. I started resumes for my kids before they were 10 because I didn’t want to miss or forget anything!

That’s how we created the first student resume in our house.

What would you add?

How have you helped your student prepare for the world of work?

Related Categories: Career Development, CareerKid, Resume, Resume Writer Insider Tip, Value Proposition