The Careers Team provides Resume and Cover Letter writing advice to students. Preparing a Job Applications is an important skill that can assist you to find work experience and casual jobs.
IDENTIFYING SKILLS, ATTRIBUTES and EXPERIENCES
What do you write on a resume when you have never worked before?
The careers team suggests thinking about skills and attributes. The Skills and Attributes worksheet can assist you to pair your traits to experiences.
Students can also benefit from writing a list of every experience that they can think of, then trying to match their top experiences to skills and attributes. Experiences can include paid work, volunteering, clubs, school activities, excursions, and awards.
WRITING A RESUME
The following websites have tips and sample resumes designed for high school students:
Tips for writing a Resume:
- Stay positive. A resume is an advertisement for your services. Always use positive, definite language. For example, rephrase 'I sometimes write stories, and try to use my creativity' to 'I like to write stories, using my creativity.'
- Link Skills and Attributes to experiences. For example: Teamwork - was a member of the Hoppers Crossing Cricket Club from 2015 to 2017.
- Make it easy to read. Avoid elaborate language. A recruiter will read hundreds of applications, and will not have time to re-read information that isn't clear.
- Order your information to catch the recruiter's attention with your first sentences.
- Limit your resume to two pages. Make sure each section is providing valuable information to the reader. Remove words that are not adding meaning to sentences.
- Keep formatting consistent. Use the same heading, font, size and spacing in every section.
- Mention that you study at a select entry high school.
WRITING A COVER LETTER
A cover letter is a 1 page document that introduces yourself to a company. A cover letter should include the following:
- A highlights package of you and your achievements
- Why you are interested in the job
- Why you are a good fit for the job
- Why the job is a good fit for you
The following websites have tips for writing cover letters designed for high school students:
Tips for writing a Cover Letter:
- Address it to the recruiter, or company e.g. 'Dear Mr Taig'
- Tailor your Cover Letter to each position you are applying for. Include information that matches the employer and job. For example, if you apply for a data analysis job, include evidence of your maths and technology knowledge.
- Tell your story. Avoid generic statements such as 'I am a good presenter.' Instead write about your experiences that make you a good presenter. For example: 'I played the role of Rusty in the school's 2017 Footloose production. In this role I performed in front of hundreds of audience members. This role highlights my presenting skills.' This will make your cover letter more memorable.
- Limit your Cover Letter to one page.
Tips for job interviews:
- Think about the job and identify what the employer is looking for in their staff.
- Reread your resume and cover letter. Note the skills, attributes and experiences you would like to highlight in the interview.
- Practice answering job interview questions. Write dot point answers to common interview questions. Prepare answers that detail your experiences. Avoid generic answers.
- Ask a friend or family member to perform a mock interview so you can practice your communication skills.
- Prepare your outfit 3 days in advance. This gives you time to wash and dry any items, and purchase anything you are missing.
- Prepare your journey, and arrive early. Allow time for traffic or train cancellations.
- Bring your resume to the interview.
- It is OK to be nervous. Everybody gets nervous when attending interviews. Take a moment to collect your thoughts before responding to each question.