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How to Help Your Teen Make a Standout First Resume

Here’s how to create a stellar resume, even without work experience.


©istockphoto.com / Steve Debenport

So, your teen wants some spending (or saving) money with part-time work, but doesn’t have a resume. Use these tips to guide her in the right direction, and maybe even land her a job she loves.


  • If you’re not sure where to start, use a template on Microsoft Word or a resume template website like ResumeBuilder. It’s as easy as filling in the blanks.

  • Verbs reflect action in a dynamic way; use words like organized, led, trained, created instead of did, tried or got when listing previous duties and job tasks.


  • Honor roll? National Honor Society? On the board of a club (hint hint, that’s leadership experience)? Add it!

  • Experience goes beyond school. Any vocational training, skills, volunteering and life experience makes a resume more well-rounded. Relevant interests and hobbies are worth putting down, too.

  • Informal work experience counts. Shoveling snow, babysitting, pet sitting, lawn mowing are all solid things to add to a resume.

  • Punctuality and perfect attendance mean he’s dependable, which is a super attractive quality to employers.


  • Fact: not all employers (and colleges) creep on potential hires via social media, but many do. That means your teen should clean his accounts of profanity, red Solo cups and anything else he wouldn’t want his future boss to see.

  • Add URLs to blogs and other relevant online sites.

  • Is your teen always glued to his phone or computer? Turns out, all those media and digital skills are valuable . Microsoft, Adobe and social media skills are great add-ons.


  • Make sure your teen tailors  her resume to the job in question (if it’s a camp counselor job, make leadership experience shine; if it’s a ref  job, put down the number of years she played soccer

  • Consider getting letters of recommendation from coaches, teachers or previous employers to beef up credibility.

  • Proofread, proofread, proofread! Typos and mistakes are big turn-offs and may seem like signs of carelessness by employers.


So, he made the resume, but doesn’t know where to start his job search. Try these resources to find a part-time gig:

TeenJobsNJ.com: Serving Morris, Essex, Union and Somerset Counties, this org’s site lets employers post jobs that registered teens can view. The site also offers resume help, interview tips, the scoop on working papers and more.

HireTeen.com: Search based on where you live to find companies currently hiring teens. You can also register for teen jobs fairs and summer youth employment programs, and get advice on getting hired and giving a good interview.

Youth Employment Programs: YEPs can offer youth valuable skill training, work experience, academic enrichment courses and even paid internships. If you live in Union County, head to uwguc.org/YEP. Newark residents can go to application.newarkwep.org. Trenton and Camden have also had YEPs in the past. Find out if there’s one especially for your town.


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