How to Gain Employment
12.03: Resume Writing for Students
Writing a resume when you're a high school student can seem daunting. How can you demonstrate your aptitude for the job when you don’t have much (or any) formal work experience?
Even if you're writing your first resume, chances are that you have more work experience than you think. Experiences like babysitting, lawn mowing, and volunteering all help to show valuable work skills that employers want to see. Just because you haven’t had a job like the one you are applying for, doesn’t mean you haven’t acquired the skills necessary to succeed.
One of the best ways to get started on your resume as a high school student is to look at examples of student resumes and read tips on what to include and how to format your resume.
*Don't forget to scan/click to view PDF!
What to Include in Your Resume
Informal Work Experience and Activities: If you have formal paid work experience, certainly include it. Otherwise, you can include informal work like babysitting, pet sitting, lawn mowing, shoveling snow, or anything else you've done to earn money. Even if you didn't collect a regular paycheck, informal work still displays skills and your reliability as an employee.
Since most high school students haven't held a lot of jobs, it is important to draw upon all aspects of your life that show you have the character, work ethic, skills, and personality to succeed in a job.
Tip: Mention your extracurricular activities, volunteer work, academics, and athletic pursuits.
List Leadership Roles: If you held any sort of leadership positions in these roles (such as secretary of a club or team captain), be sure to note this. For each item, include a bulleted list of your responsibilities and accomplishments.
Promote Your Attitude and Performance: Employers will be most interested in your work habits and attitude. They don't expect you to have a lot of experience. If you have perfect or near-perfect attendance and are punctual for school and other commitments, you might include language to that effect when describing an experience.
Note: If supervisors, teachers, or coaches have recognized you for a positive attitude or outstanding service, mention it in your description of the activity.
Mention Your Achievements: Employers look for staff who have a history of making positive contributions. Review each of your experiences and ask yourself if there are achievements in class, clubs, sports, or the workplace that you can include. If so, use verbs like enhanced, reorganized, increased, improved, initiated, upgraded, or expanded to show what you accomplished. Include any challenging advanced academic projects since this shows employers that you are intelligent and a hard worker.
Tips for Writing a High School Resume
Make an Outline: Make a quick list or outline of all possible experiences, paid and unpaid, to include in your resume before you try to find the right language to describe them. Think of this as a brainstorming step and try to jot down as much down as you can.
Include Resume Skills: It's always a good idea to include skills related to the jobs for which you are applying. You probably have many skills that you can include that you acquired in school, sports, youth groups, extra-curricular activities, or volunteering.
Use Action Words: Use active language when describing your experiences, so you are portrayed in a dynamic way. Start the phrases in your descriptions with action words like organized, led, calculated, taught, served, trained, tutored, wrote, researched, inventoried, created, designed, drafted, and edited.
Keep It Short - Include All Necessary Information: Your resume doesn't need to be any longer than a page. Some sections of the resume—such as contact information and experience—are required. But others, such as an objective or career summary, are optional.
Tell a Story: Connect your experience and skills with the qualifications for the role. For example, if you’re applying for a cashier position, but haven’t yet held a job with that exact title, emphasize your customer service skills, facility with mathematics, work ethic, and ability to work as a team. Read the job description and match your experience with their requirements.
Proofread Your Draft and Print Copies: Review your draft very carefully before finalizing your document and make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Ask your guidance counselor, parents, or a favorite teacher to critique your resume.
12.04: Cover Letters
A cover letter is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information on your skills and experience. The letter provides detailed information on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for. Don’t simply repeat what’s on your resume -- rather, include specific information on why you’re a strong match for the employer’s job requirements.
Note: A cover letter is a document that you send or upload with your resume when applying for jobs to provide additional information on your skills and experience.
Food Service Industry Cover Letter Examples
*Don't forget to scan/click to view PDF!
When a Cover Letter is Important
A cover letter also gives you an opportunity to include details that your resume does not contain. For example, if you are applying from a distance, your cover letter will enable you to present a rationale for relocation and to mention that you will be in the area shortly for a possible interview.
Gaps in employment with reasonable explanations can also be addressed in your letter. A cover letter is also an ideal place to provide specific examples that prove you have the skills and experience listed on your resume.
Additionally, employers often expect to receive cover letters even though they did not stipulate the need for a cover letter in their job advertisements.
Important: Candidates who don't take the time to compose a letter are often viewed as less motivated for the job.
In many cases, employers won't even look at a job application that doesn't contain a cover letter or letter of interest.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
Fortunately, on-the-job experience is not the only thing that showcases your abilities. You can also mention volunteer work, academic achievements, participation in clubs or activities and internships. Your academic background is also an asset.
Make sure to include details that are relevant to the position you want (use the job description as your guide to the qualities and training the employer seeks).
If you are an honors student with a GPA higher than 3.5, it is a good idea to mention this on a cover letter as well, along with any honors societies you have been inducted into.
Other things you can mention are soft skills – interpersonal “people” skills like creative thinking, communication, teamwork, or time management that will help you to adapt easily to the people and clients or customers you will be working with.
Tip: Your goal in this cover letter is to show how you would be an asset to the company, describing the skills you bring that would allow you to perform well in the position. Think of your cover letter as a sales pitch that will market your credentials and help you get the interview.
12.05: Letters of Recommendation
For some jobs, employers request written letters of recommendation. They may even request them as part of the application process. In these cases, applicants need to submit recommendation letters (typically two or three) along with their resume and cover letter.
A letter of recommendation is a letter acknowledging your strengths and skills. It is usually written by someone who knows you and what you can bring to the job. They are usually from past employers, teachers, coaches or other professional people that can attest to your skills and character. Sometimes these people do not have time or know how to write a letter and may tell you to write it yourself and they will sign it. If this is for a specific job, this is actually a good time to write your own letter as you probably know more about the job, what the employer needs and your own attributes than the person you have asked. If it is for a general letter, you can still write a great letter. Remember the person will only sign if they agree to what you have written in the letter.
*Check out this sample letter of recommendation template.
12.06: Job Interviews
Do you have a job interview coming up? Are you prepared? The best way to get ready for an interview is to take the time to review the most common interview questions you will most likely be asked, along with examples of the best answers. Knowing what you are going to say can eliminate a lot of interview stress.
Best Techniques for a Successful Interview
1. Improve Your Interview Technique
A job interview gives you a chance to shine. What you say and do will either move you to the next round of consideration for employment or knock you out of contention. Here are some tips to improve your interview technique and wow the interviewer.
2. Dress for Interview Success
The first impression you make on a potential employer can make a big difference in the outcome of your job interview. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That's why it's always important to dress appropriately for a job interview. What's appropriate varies by employer, so you'll need to pick out an outfit that's a fit for where you want to get hired.
3. Brush Up Your Interview Skills
During a job interview, your ability to interact with the interviewer and articulate your thoughts are just as important factors in getting the job as the qualifications listed on your resume. Take some time before the interview to ensure your interview skill set is as ready as your resume.
4. Make the Best First Impression
First impressions really do matter, and you don't have much time to make a good impression during a job interview. From the time you greet the receptionist until the time you leave the building, you're being evaluated as a potential new hire. It's important to leave everyone you meet with the best impression you can.
4. Sell Yourself to the Interviewer
When you're in a job interview, it's up to you to sell your qualifications and credentials to the hiring manager. You'll also need to show the interviewer that you're a good fit for both the position and the organization. With some preparation, you'll be able to present yourself as a candidate any organization would love to hire. Doing your best to get the hiring manager on your side will help you get hired.
5. Take the Time to Say Thank You After the Interview
Taking the time to say thank you after a job interview not only is good interview etiquette. It also reinforces your interest in the position and shows the interviewer that you have excellent follow-up skills. Use your thank you letter, as well, to address any issues and concerns that came up during the interview.
6. Practice Interviewing
Taking the time to review typical interview questions you will probably be asked during a job interview will help give you a framework for your responses. It will also calm your frazzled nerves because you won't be scrambling for an answer while you're in the interview hot seat.
Practice interviewing with a friend or family member ahead of time, and it will be much easier when you're actually in a job interview.
12.07: Review/Critical Thinking
Please complete the following questions. It is important that you use full sentences and present the questions and answers when you submit your work.
Go to the Assessment area in the course to complete the assignment Review and Critical Thinking and submit the work as a file attachment.
The answers to the Review and Critical Thinking Questions are worth 10 points.
12.08: Cooking Assignment #12
You are to make one of the following vegetable side dishes:
This assignment will NOT be graded on presentation so please do not worry if your final product does not turn out perfectly. The goal for you on this assignment is to TRY YOUR BEST! At a minimum, you should take pictures of: (1) the ingredients prior to cooking, (2) a picture demonstrating a preparation or cooking technique, and (3) the completed product/dish. When you're finished, write a brief description of the techniques you used to prepare the dish. Write a separate paragraph evaluating the results. Include any problems you encountered and how you overcame them. It is ideal to put everything into ONE document/presentation. Submit in the Assessments area.
12.09: Module 12 Quiz
Before you take the quiz for this unit take a moment to review what you have learned.
When you feel that you are ready to complete the Module 12 Quiz, How to Gain Employments, click HERE.