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Describing Skills, Achievements and Experiences in Resumes: Teen Job Applications

March 21, 2013

Describing skills, achievements and experiences in resumes – job applications for teenagers and high school students

Whichever resume template that you use, your resume must showcase all your skills, achievements and relevant experiences that are suitable for the job you are applying for.

As a teenager or high school student with little work experience, it is essential to describe your skills, activities and experiences well in the resume so that it will help you gain an interview for the job.

Describing skills and experiences

When describing skills, think about the various experiences you may have or the leadership positions you may hold or have held at high school or elsewhere. Here, it is helpful to create a list of responsibilities and functions. For example, these responsibilities may describe how you spend your time as a leader or member with an influential position and they then become your transferable skills.

The list of responsibilities should include phrases or sentences that include some of these words:

  • analyzing
  • budgeting
  • collaborating
  • communicating
  • controlling
  • coordinating
  • creating
  • delegating
  • demonstrating
  • developing
  • documenting
  • drafting
  • editing
  • forecasting
  • identifying
  • informing
  • inspecting
  • interviewing
  • managing
  • monitoring
  • ordering
  • organizing
  • planning
  • recruiting
  • reporting
  • researching
  • scheduling
  • selecting
  • serving
  • strategizing
  • supervising
  • teaching
  • training
  • writing

For example, responsibilities and functions of a scout leader may include “scheduling tasks for team members”, “documenting work in progress” and “organizing and planning field trips”.

Describing your strengths

It is not enough to describe your responsibilities and transferable skills. Analyze your strengths and how such strengths may allow you to excel in the job you are applying for.

To help you with your analysis, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What made you stand out in school or in any leadership position you held at school?
  2. Did you innovate in any way in your position, school, processes, duties or functions?
  3. What other roles, responsibilities and assignments did you volunteer for apart from the duties that were required of you?
  4. Did your friends, colleagues and team members look for you for any special knowledge, talents or abilities?

Describing your achievements

Apart from strengths, it is equally important that your resume includes a list of your achievements. A common method is to create achievement statements using the STAR methodology:

  • S = situation. Assess the situation, for example, was the customer service at the cafe you worked in previously ineffective in some way?
  • T = thinking. Identify the reasoning you made to solve the problem.
  • A = action. Record the actions you took to achieve the results.
  • R = results. The results produced because of your actions.

The best type of results that you can include in your resume is one that can be measured. Following on from the customer service example, the result of your action to resolve the problem may be that you were able to serve 4 customers instead of 3 customers every 15 minutes. The number need not be perfect as it is more important for it to be indicative of your achievements.

Preparing a list of achievements will also help you answer tricky interview questions.