In today’s economy, it’s crucial to give your teen an edge as he or she
enters the workforce. Find out how you can—on this week’s Homeschool
Heartbeat with host Mike Smith and Becky Cooke.
Mike Smith: Becky, it’s great to have you on the program
Becky Cooke: Well, thank you, Mike, for having me back!
A competitive edge [0:18]
Mike: Becky, you regularly work with homeschool parents who are
anxious to successfully prepare their teens for future careers. With this in mind, how
helpful is it that a teen create a résumé while still in high school?
Becky: Well, many parents think that résumés are
something that student will create in college in preparation for looking for a job. But
high school students should begin creating such a document in the 9th grade, updating it
each year of high school. Then when the teen looks for that part-time job or applies for
an internship or apprenticeship, a résumé will give him an opportunity to
Compiling pertinent information into one document will save a lot of time when
filling out job and college applications. But it can also motivate the teen to see the
worthiness of the academics and extracurricular activities, and then encourage him by
all that he has accomplished.
Putting your best foot forward [1:11]
Mike: Becky, if a high school student has never worked a regular,
paid job, what do you suggest he or she put in the “experience” section of a
Becky: Mike, teens should not think that jobs such as babysitting or
mowing yards are too menial to include on the résumé. However, I’d
recommend giving them more professional sounding titles.
And in addition to work experience, it’s important to include volunteer and
community service. Don’t forget to include the dates worked, including average
number of hours per week or month, position held, responsibilities, and skills
Mike: Becky, a résumé also communicates a personal
brand. In addition to experience and education, what else can a homeschooler list on a
résumé to promote him- or herself?
Becky: Well, leadership positions in training are highly regarded by
colleges and employers. Honors and awards are other areas worthy of mention. If the teen
has proficiency in a foreign language, or computer skills, or certifications, or
licenses, be sure to include these on the résumé. And also foreign travel
experiences and hobbies can set the teen apart from others.
Showcasing your education [2:20]
Mike: Becky, homeschooled teens have an education to be proud of,
but homeschooling can be difficult to describe to people who are unfamiliar with
it—such as prospective employers. What do you suggest that a homeschooled teen
should include in the all-important “education” section of a
Becky: Well, since every résumé includes the expected
academic achievements, homeschoolers will want to indicate the level of education
attained, as well as the most difficult level of courses taken, such as AP, honors, or
college prep courses. Such courses will highlight the teen’s motivation and
independent learning skills. If the teen has an excellent GPA, and high SAT/ACT scores,
then these should be prominent on the résumé. She may also want to note
specific courses taken, relating to the position she’s seeking. If the teen has
received honors such as National Merit Scholar, dean’s list through college
dual-enrollment, or is a member of an honor society, include these in the
academic achievement section.
You . . . on paper [3:19]
Mike: Today I’m joined by Alan Hudson, a marketing manager and
homeschooling father of seven. Alan, welcome to the program!
Alan Hudson: Well, thank you for having me, Mike! It’s
certainly my pleasure to share on this important topic.
Mike: Well, Alan, once a student has an updated
résumé, he or she will need to tailor it to each specific job that is
applied for. How can homeschooled teens do that?
Alan: A résumé is a portrait of the person applying
for the position, but it is also a mirror that reveals the reflection of the ideal
candidate. If possible, challenge the teen to place themselves in the position of the
person reviewing the résumé, and ask questions like, “What is it
about this résumé that shows that they are the best person for the
job?” or, “Are there specific skills, or experiences or capabilities, that
make this person perfect for our team?” Or, “What kinds of attitudes and
soft skills—such as motivations and disciplines—are revealed in the
résumé to indicate that they will be successful?” Remember,
it’s not about the applicant writing the résumé, but about the
potential employer who is reading it.
Success is in the details [4:22]
Mike: I’ve heard that employers spend an average of 15 seconds
looking at a résumé. Alan, what suggestions do you have that will make
important information actually jump out?
Alan: Well, you are right. Most résumés are only given
a quick glance. But there are some strategies that will allow you to make it to the next
step in the hiring process. First, I would say to be clear that you meet or exceed the
requirements for the position, and to be concise and targeted with your skills and
experiences. Also, be clear and uncluttered, using bullets instead of full sentences.
But be accurate, without spelling or grammatical errors.
And I would also encourage to not be afraid to use a diagram or a word picture to
make yourself stand out. I would list your accomplishments and your activities in a way
that show your commitment to teamwork, to dedication, and to success. And if it’s
a handwritten application, use a good pen and your best handwriting.
Finally, be sure to follow up within a few days to connect with the reviewer.
Remember, what you’re trying to do is to make your résumé more
memorable, so that you get the call for a face-to-face interview.
Mike: Alan, I’m sure many homeschooled teens and their parents
will find this very helpful. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.