Resumes & Cover Letters

Resumes

Resumes are NOT just for job hunting!  Your high school resume will be used for college applications, scholarships AND to find work.   Keep track of everything you do in high school.  For example, if you volunteer for concessions, serve on a committee, lead a club, join a sport, or perform in a play.  All of these things will create your resume.

A resume is a formal document that provides an overview of your qualifications, including your relevant work or volunteer experience, skills, education, activities, and notable accomplishments. Usually paired with a cover letter, a resume helps you demonstrate your abilities and convince employers you’re qualified and hirable (ResumeGenius.com).

Cover letters

Cover letters typically introduce you and your resume to employers.  They can also be used for scholarship applications or anything else you might apply for such as an internship.  A cover letter allows you to add information that may not lend itself to a bullet point on your resume.  Because it is in paragraph format you can elaborate on your qualifications and add sentences about why the position interests you and how you learned about it; these are common elements in the first paragraph.  

Should I use a resume template (LinkedIn or NextSteps Idaho) or a document?

Using a template can help you get started because it prompts you for the basic resume fields.  LinkedIn is used by professionals and your account will stay with you after high school.  Accounts are free to anyone over the age of 16.  The profile section offers all of your resume categories such as education, experience, licenses, and more.  Once complete, you can send an employer a link to your resume, or download a paper version that is nicely formatted. One of the best things about LinkedIn is that you don't misplace your information as you might with a file!

NextSteps Idaho has a similar resume template and does not have an age requirement.  The drawback is that after you leave high school your account with all your information might not be available to you.

A self-made document is always an option too.  Documents are nice because they are more versatile than a template.  Sometimes templates can feel restrictive in the fields offered or their formatting.


Social media

Check your social media accounts before you submit your application materials.  Most employers look you up on social media to see what kind of person you are in your free time.  Hopefully, you've refrained from posting immature or negative things but if not, take the time to delete those posts and work on building your professional identity online.

Resume & Cover Letter Writing

Below are a few resources that have great samples and general information about the how-tos of resumes and cover letters.  

Cover Letters & Resume Writing through NextSteps Idaho

Cover Letters & Resume Writing at University of Idaho Career Services

Interview Skills

Tips in the Interview Skills section will help you think about how to compose your thoughts not only for an interview but when writing your application materials as well.