Applying High School Experience to Career

ExperienceMany high school students face the daunting task of applying for their very first paid job with zero experience and very little preparation. Here are a few simple tips to help you translate your high school experience (volunteering, participating in clubs, playing sports, etc.) to a job application:

1. Everyday skills should not be taken for granted.

Top performers in school are organized and goal-oriented.  Good students use proven time management skills.  Club secretaries are detail-oriented.  Athletes take initiative and follow directions well.  FLVS students are computer whizzes!  Instead of listing previous jobs on your resume, you can list clubs, sports, and even your GPA (if you’re proud of it).  Just make sure to include a brief description for each item, and explain the valuable job skills you use on a regular basis for each task.

2. Some jobs require special training that you already have.

If you have manned the ticket booth for a school event, you have customer service experience.  If you have ever sold candy bars for a club, you have sales experience.  Or, if you have ever worked on a publication for the school, you have written communication experience.  Use these experiences to highlight the fact that you would need very little training to step into any one of these roles for a potential employer.

3. Deadlines are deadlines, regardless of the task, and you have mastered them.

Have you never missed an assignment deadline?  Are you particularly good at completing your homework on time, every single day?  Don’t be afraid to show off your studious habits on your resume or job application.  You can even have one of your teachers write a letter of recommendation to vouch for your timeliness!

4. Everyone is part of the team.

The bottom line for most jobs is teamwork.  Even if you are a star performer, you will not last long if you don’t get along with your co-workers.  So, playing on the basketball team or participating in a youth group is the perfect way to start your career. Highlight the teams of which you are a contributing member and discuss the way that you help to support your teammates.

Once you have created a resume of your high school experience, you can confidently fill out job applications, armed with a plethora of ways to describe how you will contribute to an employer.

Make sure you fill out all sections of the job application thoroughly, summarize your skills for each question, and emphasize your valuable job skills.  And, you can use former supervisors, coaches, teachers, and/or club sponsors as your “professional” references.  Good luck as you venture into the working world!

Post by Kristen Stone, former FLVS Team Lead Staffing Coordinator

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