Additional sections you might want to include in your high school graduate résumé template:
- Education – you can include the degree, major and minor, institution, any placements or study that you completed abroad, any optional items, any key achievements such as exceptional grades during your study and any projects you are particularly proud of.
- Experience – this can be split into related experience and other experience if you have quite a bit to list. You can include any ‘work’ experience that is unpaid such as voluntary work, and even regular tasks you have performed for others such as babysitting, cleaning and shopping.
- Activities – if you do anything outside of school, it may be worth listing here – together with any specific achievements relating to those activities.
- Skills – since you have less work experience than others, adding a skills section can really help highlight to your employer why you are suited for the role.
- Certifications/accreditation – if you have attained any awards during your school years such as the Duke of Edinburgh award, it is worth including them as these say something to your employer about your abilities and work ethic.
- Availability – this is a useful section for employers, particularly if you are applying for a job where night work, weekend work and work during public holidays are a possibility. Having a wider availability during these times when it is difficult for employers to staff their business can be really attractive.
How to optimise your high school graduate curriculum vitae or résumé template
There is no single right way to put together and finalise your CV but the following basic rules always apply:
1. It is targetted on the specific role or industry you are aiming for and hones in on the most significant skills you possess.
2. It is meticulously and neatly set out, logically ordered, easy to read and not crowded.
3. It is insightful but concise.
4. It is free from spelling and grammar flaws. If you mention attention to detail as a skill, make sure your spelling and grammar is perfect.
In addition to these ‘musts’, these are our best tips for customising this template:
1. Keep evolving
If your curriculum vitae is put together the wrong way round on luminescent yellow paper and it lands you regular interviews, why think about changing it? The bottom line is that if it’s producing results, don’t be too quick to interfere with a winning formula. By contrast, if it’s not working, ask people to look at it and offer their thoughts. Having said this, if you go with the template above as a starting point, you are unlikely to go far wrong.
2. Make use of keywords
If you have uploaded your curriculum vitae to a job website so recruiters can find you, keywords are particularly important. Job titles along with job keywords can help search engines lift your CV to the top. To get ideas for keywords, have a search on the Internet and see which words are commonly mentioned when you input your target role.
3. Short and sweet
Commonly a CV will be no more than two pages – and by that we mean two pages of A4 sized sheets. Employers take, on average, just a few seconds browsing through each CV, and a reliable way of landing your application on the rejected pile is to give them your entire life history. Maintain it punchy, pertinent, and save the detail for your interview.
4. Make it look good
Image is everything these days, and that also goes for your CV. Make the effort to perfecting how the CV looks, as well as the content. Use bullet points to help organise your information, and keep sentences punchy. Use the graphic design trick of allowing enough of white space surrounding your text and between categories to make the layout easy to read.
5. Tailor it
It’s a pretty common trick. Posting or emailing the same CV to a bunch of employers to save time. Across-the-board messages provide small results so never fall into this trap – put in the time to adjust your CV for every job that you send an application for. Research the business and use the job advert to figure out specifically just what skills you should show to them. They will appreciate the obvious effort.
6. Sell the facts
Backing up your achievements with numbers makes selling yourself considerably simpler. When putting together your work history, don’t just claim that you increased sales – inform them you boosted sales by 60 percent over a six month period. Be precise.
7. Put together an objective
Don’t just believe that an recruiter will understand how your experience relates to their position. Instead, use a brief personal statement to explain why you’re the perfect person for the position. This should be reflected in your cover letter too.
8. Tell the truth
Outright lies on your curriculum vitae can land you in a heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your references and background. The very last thing you need is to begin work and then lose your new role for lying. Furthermore, you might get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly can’t answer questions on what you have claimed to know. It’s never worth the trouble – don’t do it!
9. Never leave gaps without an explanation
Leaving obvious gaps on your curriculum vitae immediately makes recruiters wary – and they will not give you the benefit of the doubt. If you have been out of the job market it can be a concern but just put a positive spin on it. Did you study for a course, do some volunteer work or cultivate soft skills like communication or teamwork? In this case, make it evident. Never presume you will get the opportunity to clarify at the interview – as the gaps may possibly deter them from giving you a chance.
10. Correct your errors
Employers do scour for mistakes on CV and if they should spot them, it makes you seem careless. With many employers dealing with huge volumes of prospects these days, giving them an excuse to throw out your application due to avoidable grammar and spelling errors is definitely not going to enable you to secure an interview. Even if you believe that your spelling and grammar is excellent, use a spellchecker and ask someone else to double check what you have written – the ‘sanity check’.
11. Maintain up-to-the-minute
You should maintain your curriculum vitae updated whether you are looking for a new role or not. Every time something important happens in your career, record it so you don’t later forget something that may be worthwhile.