Writing a professional resume can put students a step ahead of their competition.

“Your resume is going to be a critical tool that will, at the very least, get your foot in the door,” says James Washington, TeenQuest Facilitator. “Your resume is your marketing tool. It gives a snapshot of who you are, where you’ve been and where you want to go.”

According to Washington, a former General Motors executive, it’s important to know the difference between what your experiences are and what your skills are.

“An experience is something you’ve done,” Washington says. “A skill is something you have learned from an experience. Employers want to see what kind of skills you have.”

For example, a person who has worked a cash register might highlight their skills in customer service, handling money and multi-tasking.

For a recent graduate or someone who is still in high school, it might seem as though you don’t have much to show off just yet, but Washington says that’s just not the case.

In fact, here are five ways to put together a stellar resume:

  • List academic and nonacademic honors, awards and accomplishments.
  • Highlight specific courses that have helped you build professional and technical skills. Do you have a good GPA or impressive class rank? Include those, too!
  • Identify extracurricular activities, such as sports or TeenQuest, that you have participated in and outside of school.
  • Include any community service or volunteer work you have done throughout high school.
  • Include any work experience, including part-time and summer positions.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for TeenQuest, a five-week pre-employment training program, at www.flintandgenesee.org/teenquest.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, Hagerman Foundation, and other generous funders.