How To Write A Resume For A Teenager

The only guide you will need to create a teen resume.


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Last updated: March 17th, 2024

teenager resume

Last updated: March 17th, 2024

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Here’s the great conundrum when it comes to helping teenagers write their first resume. They have little experience and often limited relevant skills, yet they must prove their suitability for work to gain a paid job.

But writing a top-notch resume that differentiates a teen looking for their first job is relatively easy.

The formatting of teen resumes is relatively simple — and you’ll see the same basic advice everywhere — but the devil is in the details.

Effective teenager resumes must be without grammatical errors and include the right sections while showcasing your teen’s best attributes, academic achievements and extracurricular activities.

By the way, do you want expert help with writing your teenager’s resume? Consider using our:

(Related: How To Indicate Your Availability On Your Resume).

How To Structure A Teenager’s First Resume.

Even seasoned resume writers make mistakes when structuring a teen resume. They’ll sometimes include redundant ones like “Objective Statement” or forget to include the Key Skills section.

I recommend you include the following sections:

  • Contact details.
  • Profile.
  • Key skills.
  • Work history and achievements.
  • Volunteering history.
  • Education.
  • Hobbies.

Here’s what to avoid:

  • Getting too creative with fonts, colours, photos or graphics.
  • Excessive length and wordiness (keep to max. 2 pages).
  • Buzzword-laden, overly formal or exaggerated language.


Nobody expects a teen to be a master negotiator or technical expert. And no, they don’t have ‘proven’ digital marketing experience just because they’ve been on TikTok for five years.

What To Include In Each Section Of A Teenager Resume.

Top of mind always when you write a professional resume should be: ‘Will this be relevant for the hiring manager?’

The right level of detail to include will depend on a teenager’s actual strengths, achievements, and the job they’re applying for.

Here are the important points to cover in each section of a teen resume:

1. Contact Details.

The teenager’s name should be the most prominent text at the top of the resume. The heading might also include a tagline that clarifies their experience level.


High School Student/Graduate” or “Retail Assistant“.

Include the minimum expected level of detail:

  • Email.
  • Mobile Phone.
  • Suburb/State.

Only include social media links where relevant to your professional skills — such as LinkedIn, a GitHub repository that showcases personal coding projects, or perhaps an Instagram account with a sizeable following where you share your creative talents.


Make sure your teen is set up to receive professional messages. For instance, do they have a professional-sounding email address that includes their name? Have they recorded a clear voicemail message that ensures recruiters will feel confident leaving a message?

2. Profile.

This is your chance to make a great first impression and set the scene for how your teen will add value to a potential employer.

Here’s an example profile for a teenager without work experience who’s applying for a retail job:

3. Key Skills And Achievements.

A person with a professional history would usually expand upon their achievements within specific paid roles they’ve held in the past.

Teenagers may have some professional achievements, but they’re more likely to be drawing on:

  • Volunteering and community involvement.
  • Extra-curricular activities.
  • Hobbies and personal interests.
  • Sporting and athletic pursuits.
  • Academic awards and certifications.
  • Hard and soft skills.

Use this section to list the most relevant, powerful strengths and practical examples of how you’ve demonstrated them.

Here’s an example of relevant skills and achievements that our teen looking for retail work might list:

  • Effective presentation and critical thinking skills, gained through active involvement with the debate team and participation in the Lions Club Public Speaking Competition.
  • Excellent communication skills in both written and verbal interactions, having received the Year 11 Subject Award for English and been shortlisted for the State Library’s Young Writers Award.
  • A versatile team player with exceptional time management skills, and the proven ability to work independently, including a positive attitude and great time management.  
  • Proven ability to organise and prioritise workload, while effectively balancing study and sporting commitments.
  • Digital literacy and social media management skills gained from being a volunteer admin for a Facebook group for young creative writers with over 500 members.
  • Proficient in the use of software including Microsoft Word, Excel and Teams, Canva, and Facebook Business Manager.
  • Advanced leadership skills gained from coaching junior netball teams and in my role as Year 12 House Captain.

(Related: How To Write Outstanding Resume Achievements).

4. Previous Work And Volunteer Experience.

If your teen has ever been paid for tasks, held responsibilities relevant to a professional environment, or applied their skills to achieve a real-world outcome, you can list these experiences.

Format each experience the same way you would a paid role, including:

  • Description of the role you held.
  • Organisation or clients you serviced.
  • Timeframe.
  • What you did/achieved in the role.

Expert Tip.

List experiences in reverse chronological order (newest first), be selective about what you include and be honest about the scope of the activity.

Examples of work and volunteer experiences that may be worth adding:

  • Mowing lawns for neighbours every fortnight regardless of the weather, earning praise for 100% reliability.
  • Pet sitting service established from the Mad Paws platform, receiving 5-star reviews from pet owners and building up a regular clientele.
  • Babysitting for friends and relatives, ensuring the safety and well-being of children aged 4-10.
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter to provide care and companionship for rescue animals.
  • Moderating a fandom social media group to create a positive environment and uphold group rules.
  • Coaching a junior school netball team, with the team progressing to semi-finals at 2023 Unigames.
  • Unpaid work experience placement at Vinnies facilitated through school, gaining valuable insights into the operational side of the not-for-profit sector.

5. Education.

Clarify your educational history, including the bare facts:

  • Name of the school you’re attending (or attended).
  • School’s location.
  • Years you’ve studied there.
  • Your expected graduation date.

If you’ve gained a vocational qualification alongside your high school subjects, include the name of the certification and which institution you obtained it through as well.

You could also list any academic awards and specific extra-curricular achievements here, especially ones you didn’t include under the ‘Key Skills and Achievements’ section.


Very few hiring managers will be interested in a blow-by-blow account of your subjects and grades, or even your ATAR score. This might be better left off, or briefly mentioned in a cover letter if impressive.

8. Hobbies And Personal Interests.

Including hobbies isn’t a priority, but it can help you round out a teenager’s resume if there’s room.

Your personal interests can convey aspects of your personality that can’t be described elsewhere — such as teamwork, commitment, passion, community-mindedness, social skills, creativity and cultural awareness.

Keep it to 2-3 hobbies. Where possible, highlight the value or relevance of your pastimes, for example:

  • If you’re a netball player, you could mention how your peers elected you to captain the team, which also involved charity rides or team organising social functions for team bonding.
  • If you’re a cyclist, you could mention charity rides or team events you’ve joined (such as a relay triathlon).
  • If you’re a musician, note times you’ve participated in live performances at school or through private gigs or other presentations.

8. Character References.

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t list the contact details of referees on your professional resume.

However, it’s wise to have referees lined up in advance, so you can confidently state on your teen’s resume that ‘References are available upon request’.

Expert Tip.

For a teenager without any work experience, this can include character references from reputable individuals who know them personally — such as a teacher, coach, or church leader.

How To Play Up Your Teen’s Strengths On A Resume.

If there’s a job description, read it and map out the qualities your teen needs to demonstrate.

Or simply think about the kind of business and the work involved as your starting point.

Teenagers often vie for positions in retail, hospitality, care, customer service and manual labour. Paint a picture of accomplishments that position your teen as ideal for these roles.


It doesn’t matter if the resulting resume doesn’t reflect their long-term career ambitions.

Your Teen’s ExperienceEmployability
Relevant Job Types
Volunteered To Run A Stall At A School FeteFriendly And Personable
Good communicator
Customer Service
Helped Parents Complete A Home Renovation ProjectMotivated And Reliable
Good Work Ethic
Practical Problem-Solver
Manual Labour
Raised Money For A Charity Through A Fitness ChallengeReliable And Positive
Aged And Health Care
Volunteered As A Coach To A Junior Netball teamPunctual And Disciplined
Team Player
 Retail and Hospitality

Standout Teenager Resumes Are Tailored And Professional.

It’s a universal truth when it comes to resumes, no matter your experience level — you need to understand and address what the employer is looking for.

That’s rarely a boring list of past jobs and responsibilities you’ve held.

Teens, like all jobseekers, must emphasise what makes them ideal for a specific role by showcasing what they’ve achieved—plus the impact it had or how it represents value to an employer.

Instead of relying on a traditional work history—teen resumes must leverage any and all personal attributes, life experiences, academic wins, sporting activities and personal pastimes.

Remember, those qualities and achievements will change over time, so it pays to update your teen’s resume before applying anywhere new.

Additionally, be certain your teenager’s resume is free from errors. Ask someone else with superior writing skills to do a final proofread for you.


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