Best High School Graduate Resume Examples For 2024 (Template & Free Guide)

Whether you’re a recent high school graduate stepping into the workforce or preparing for college applications, our resume examples and tips will help you showcase your achievements and potential. Get ready to take the next step in your educational or career journey with our resume templates and expert guidance as you craft a compelling high school graduate resume!

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High School Graduate Resumes: Overview

Crafting an impressive resume is a crucial step in your life journey after high school, opening doors to part-time jobs, internships, college admissions, and scholarships.

A resume for a high school graduate will list educational achievements and highlight skills, extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences, and any part-time jobs or internships undertaken.

Common components of a high school graduate resume include:

          • Contact Information
          • Objective or Summary
          • Education
          • Skills
          • Extracurricular Activities
          • Volunteer Experience
          • Part-Time Jobs or Internships

Navigating the transition from high school to the next phase of life can be challenging, but a well-crafted resume can be your ticket to success.

Our high school graduate resume examples will help you present your strengths effectively and make a positive impression on potential employers or academic institutions.

For more guidance, explore our collection of professional resume examples and downloadable resume templates. With our resources, you can build your next resume in minutes!

High School Graduate Resume: Choose a Format

Writing a high school graduate resume begins with choosing the right template and format.

It is particularly important to choose a format that clearly showcases your qualifications in an engaging manner so that you stand out among other job candidates.

There are three types of resume formats that high school graduates can consider.

Chronological Resumes For High School Graduates

The most popular and recommended is the chronological resume format, which strongly focuses on the applicant’s relevant experience, even if it includes part-time jobs, internships, or volunteer work.

A high school graduate would, for example, list all their relevant experience in the work history section, such as part-time jobs, internships, and volunteer positions.

Each work experience is given a detailed description of responsibilities and achievements, as well as the job title, name of the employer, location, and dates of employment.

Responsibilities and achievements are listed in bullets that should contain strong action verbs and quantifiable metrics to stand out and provide a unique context to their qualifications.

Chronological resumes are also very compatible with applicant tracking systems (ATS), helping your resume stand out during the initial screening process.

Functional Resumes For High School Graduates

Functional resumes emphasize the skills of an applicant. They are used when a candidate lacks relevant experience for the position.

For example, a recent high school graduate might use the functional resume format and focus on the skills they learned in school, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work.

Because most employers place a higher value on work experience, functional resumes are not usually compatible with most applicant tracking systems (ATS) and do not engage employers as effectively.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever use a functional resume, especially if you lack relevant work experience. However, it is important to understand the limitations of a functional resume.

Combination Resumes For High School Graduates

A combination resume is a hybrid between the chronological and functional resume formats. It places equal emphasis on skills and experience, which allows candidates to showcase both effectively.

A high school graduate’s resume might choose the combination format, especially if the dedicated skills section can help compensate for lack of experience.

How to Write a High School Graduate Resume

Are you ready to write an impressive resume that sets you on the successful path as a high school graduate?

Follow this comprehensive step-by-step guide that outlines what you need to do to ensure your resume stands out and showcases your qualifications effectively.

  • Contact Information:

    Your resume should begin with your full name, a phone number where you can be reached, and a professional email address. Including your location, such as city and state, is optional but can be helpful for local job searches.

  • Objective or Summary:

    Kick off your resume with a concise objective or summary statement. An objective focuses on your career goals and how they align with the opportunities you're pursuing. In contrast, a summary briefly highlights your qualifications and strengths relevant to the job or college admission.

  • Education:

    Start with your most recent high school information, including the school name, location, graduation date, and your GPA if it's competitive. If you've earned any honors or awards, be sure to include them.

  • Work Experience:

    If you have any work experience, even part-time jobs or internships, provide details about the roles, responsibilities, and skills gained. Emphasize any transferable skills, such as communication or time management.

    The work experience section is an important part of your resume, because most employers want to see proof that validates your skills.

    As a recent high school graduate you may feel like you lack the proper experience, but that is not necessarily true! Consider part time jobs, volunteer opportunities, extracurricular activities, and anything else that shows you have used your skills effectively in accomplishing certain goals.

  • Skills:

    Highlight relevant skills on your resume such as computer proficiency, language skills, or certifications to show that you are capable and professional high school graduate.

    Be specific about your proficiency level and choose words found in the job description so that your resume stands out with employers and applicant tracking systems (ATS).

  • Academic Achievements (optional):

    Detail any notable academic achievements, such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses, scholarships, or participation in academic clubs. These can also help validate your skills by showing that you were recognized for your abilities.

  • Extracurricular Activities (optional):

    Highlight your involvement in clubs, sports, or organizations and describe your roles and any leadership positions you held. Extracurricular activities are a great way to fill up your resume to showcase your skills in action and that you are an active member of your community!

  • Volunteer Work (optional):

    If you lack professional work experience, you can describe any volunteer experiences and their impact on your personal growth and community involvement. This also demonstrates that you are willing to learn new skills and put them to the test.

  • Awards (optional):

    If you received any awards for school, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or at a part-time job, be sure to include them on your resume to showcase your value as a recent high school graduate.

Top 5 Certifications for a High School Graduate Resume

Having certifications on your resume will show that as a high school graduate, you have successfully undertaken important professional development that demonstrates your skills in action.

This can be especially useful when your certifications are sought after in the job descriptions that you apply to.

  • High School Diploma: Mention your high school diploma as a foundational certification that indicates your completion of basic education.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Courses: If you’ve completed AP courses, list them to highlight your commitment to challenging coursework.
  • First Aid and CPR Certification: Consider obtaining a basic first aid and CPR certification, which can be valuable in various situations.
  • Language Proficiency Certificates: If you’re proficient in foreign languages, include relevant language certificates or awards.
  • Extracurricular Certificates: If you’ve received certificates or awards in specific extracurricular activities, showcase them to demonstrate your achievements beyond academics.

Key Skills a High School Graduate Resume

When creating your high school graduate resume, it’s essential to highlight the hard skills and soft skills that make you a standout candidate for college admissions or entry-level jobs.

Here are key skills for your resume that can help you shine:

          • Academic Excellence: Showcase your strong academic performance, including a high GPA and any honors or awards you’ve received. Mention specific subjects in which you excel.
          • Critical Thinking: Highlight your ability to think critically, solve problems, and make informed decisions. Share instances where you’ve applied critical thinking skills.
          • Communication: Emphasize your written and verbal communication skills, essential for college coursework and most professions. Provide examples of presentations, essays, or projects that demonstrate your communication prowess.
          • Time Management: Describe how you effectively manage your time to balance school, extracurricular activities, work, or volunteer commitments. This skill is highly valued in both academic and professional settings.
          • Leadership: If you’ve held leadership roles in clubs, sports teams, or organizations, mention them. Describe how you’ve motivated and guided your peers to achieve common goals.
          • Adaptability: Highlight your ability to adapt to new situations, whether it’s adjusting to college life, taking on challenging coursework, or navigating the demands of a job.
          • Problem-Solving: Provide examples of situations where you’ve successfully identified and resolved issues. Problem-solving skills are valuable in various settings, from academics to the workplace.
          • Computer Literacy: Mention your proficiency in using software and technology relevant to your field of interest to highlight your computer skills. Specify any programming languages, software, or applications you’re comfortable with.
          • Teamwork: Explain how you collaborate effectively with others, whether in group projects, sports teams, or community service initiatives. Teamwork is essential for both academic and professional success.
          • Initiative: Share instances where you’ve taken the initiative to start projects, propose ideas, or volunteer for leadership roles. This shows your proactive approach to learning and work.

By showcasing these skills, you’ll demonstrate your readiness for college and future career opportunities.

Remember to provide specific examples or experiences that illustrate each skill, making your resume more compelling and persuasive.

Top 10 Tips for Writing a High School Graduate Resume

Creating an impressive high school graduate resume is essential for showcasing your accomplishments and securing opportunities.

Follow these top 10 tips to craft a compelling resume:

Tailor Your Resume: Customize your resume for each application by emphasizing skills and experiences relevant to the position or college program.

Use a Clean Format: Maintain a clean, well-organized format with clear headings, bullet points, and consistent fonts to enhance readability.

Start with a Strong Objective or Summary: Begin with a concise statement highlighting your career or educational goals and how they align with the job or college program you’re pursuing.

Highlight Academic Achievements: Emphasize your academic accomplishments, such as your GPA, honor roll status, or specific courses that showcase your strengths.

Include Extracurricular Activities: List involvement in clubs, sports, volunteer work, or leadership roles to demonstrate your well-roundedness and dedication.

Showcase Relevant Skills: Highlight skills such as communication, problem-solving, technical skills, and teamwork, which are valuable in academic and professional settings.

Detail Work Experience: If you have part-time jobs or internships, describe your responsibilities and achievements, emphasizing transferable skills.

Quantify Achievements: Whenever possible, use quantifiable achievements to demonstrate your impact. For example, mention how you contributed to a successful school event or fundraiser.

Include References: While not always necessary, you can mention that references are available upon request to add credibility.

Proofread Thoroughly: Review your resume carefully for spelling and grammatical errors. Consider seeking feedback from teachers, mentors, or career advisors.

Following these tips to create a high school graduate resume that effectively communicates your qualifications, skills, and potential.

Tailoring your resume to your specific goals and showcasing your achievements will set you on a path to success in your academic and professional pursuits.

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Key Takeaways

  • Tailor your high school graduate resume for each application to highlight relevant skills, achievements, and experiences that align with your goals.

  • Use quantifiable achievements to illustrate your contributions, whether it's raising funds for a school event or excelling in a leadership role. This adds depth and credibility to your resume.

  • Maintain a well-organized and visually appealing format with clear headings and consistent fonts for maximum readability.

  • Start with a compelling objective statement that succinctly conveys your aspirations and how they relate to your chosen path, whether entering the workforce or pursuing higher education.

  • Showcase your academic excellence, such as your GPA and honors, and highlight your involvement in extracurricular activities to demonstrate your dedication and versatility.

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High School Graduate Resume FAQ

Updated: May 31, 2024

If you want to write a resume with no job experience, focus on your skills, education, and any extracurricular activities or volunteer work you have done. Use a functional resume format to emphasize your abilities and potential. Highlight any relevant projects, coursework, or school activities that demonstrate your skills and qualifications.

Your high school graduate resume should include the following key sections:

          • Contact Information: Full name, phone number, professional email address, and location (city/town and state).
          • Summary or Objective: A brief overview of your most relevant skills and career goals.
          • Work History: List of your past jobs, internships, and volunteer experiences, with descriptions of responsibilities and achievements.
          • Skills: A list of relevant skills that match the job description.
          • Education: Details of your high school education, including the name of the school, graduation date, and any relevant coursework or achievements.
          • Additional Sections: Any certifications, awards, extracurricular activities, or hobbies that are relevant to the job.

It's not necessary to include references directly on your resume. Instead, prepare a separate list of references to provide when requested by potential employers or college admission offices.

To make your resume stand out:

          • Tailor it to the job by using keywords from the job description.
          • Highlight your achievements with quantifiable results (e.g., "Increased sales by 20%").
          • Use a clean, professional layout with consistent formatting.
          • Include a compelling summary or objective that grabs the reader's attention.
          • Proofread carefully to avoid any typos or errors.

Highlight leadership roles you've held in clubs, sports teams, or student organizations. Describe your responsibilities, achievements, and how you positively influenced others or contributed to the group's success.

For high school graduates, a one-page resume is typically sufficient. Keep the content concise and relevant to the job you are applying for. Use bullet points and clear headings to make the resume easy to read.

Including your GPA on your resume is optional. If you have a strong GPA (generally 3.5 or higher), it can be a positive addition. If your GPA is lower or if you have other impressive achievements, you might choose to leave it out.

Yes, including extracurricular activities can be very beneficial, especially if you lack work experience. Activities such as sports, clubs, student government, or volunteer work can demonstrate valuable skills like leadership, teamwork, and commitment.

Use a simple and clean format with clearly defined sections. Stick to a professional font like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman, and use bullet points for easy readability. Ensure there is enough white space to make the document visually appealing.

While not always required, a cover letter can enhance your application by allowing you to explain why you are interested in the job and how your skills and experiences make you a good fit. It also shows that you are serious about the application and willing to put in extra effort.

Include a mix of hard skills (technical abilities) and soft skills (personal attributes). 

Examples of skills that are valuable for high school graduates include:

          • Hard Skills: Microsoft Office, Google Suite, social media management, basic coding, customer service, cash handling.
          • Soft Skills: Communication, teamwork, problem-solving, time management, adaptability, leadership.


Conor McMahon, CPRW
Conor McMahon, CPRW
Content Writer

Conor is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) for He has over three years of professional writing experience as well as experience in professional development training. As a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC) Conor has written on career development topics ranging from resume and cover letter best practices, employer/employee communication, job seeking help, and more. He received his degree in Music Industry at Northeastern University and plays guitar in his free time.

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