How to Write a Resume for a Summer Job

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As school days start to wind to a close and the first hint of summer makes itself known, it's a sure bet that competition will be fierce for any jobs that involve working outdoors, getting wet, operating rides at an amusement park, or just staying cool inside a neighborhood ice cream shop. To make sure your resume stands out from the herd, here are some formatting tips you'll want to follow.

Make a list of your skills, interests, and work experiences. If you're fairly new to the job market, don't forget that volunteerism counts, too, especially in situations where you have been able to demonstrate leadership, be a team player, help raise money, or organize a special event.

Identify jobs that would be the best match for your skills and background. Read the job specifications carefully to make sure that you qualify.

Purchase good-quality stationery for your resume. Although the standard is white bond, you can also print your resume on ecru, ivory, light blue or light grey. Office supply stores that carry stationery will have matching envelopes that will give your material a smart, polished look.

Choose an easy-to-read, 12-point font such as Times New Roman, Courier, Bookman or Palatino and use this same font (in black ink) for the entire resume. The exception to using the same size font throughout is your name, which can be displayed in a font size slightly larger than the rest of the document.

Set your margins for 1 inch on all sides. A good resume should not exceed one full page in length.

Center your name, address, phone number and email on single-spaced separate lines at the top of the page.

Drop down two lines and at the left hand margin type the word "Subject " or "Re:" followed by the title of the position you're applying for. If you're applying for a position you found on a school jobs board or in the classifieds, be sure to identify the job title exactly as it appears in the announcement so that it will be routed to the right department or individual.

Drop down two lines and type the word "Experience" at the left hand margin. This can either be all in caps or underlined but should stand out from what follows; specifically, the single-spaced listing of jobs you have previously held. Always start with your most recent employment first and work backward down the list. Identify the title of the job and the company, and include a brief description of the duties you held.

Drop down two lines below your last job description and type the word "Education" in the same format that you typed "Experience." If you are still in school, identify your grade level, what school you attend, and—if requested to do so—your GPA. If you are in college or are a graduate, identify your degree, course of study, and the name of the institution. Example: BA, English, California State University Northridge.

Drop down another two lines and type the words "Honors, Awards, Memberships." This section will be for listing such items as awards that you have won, scholastic, civic or athletic groups you belong to, or scholarships you have received.

Drop down another two lines and type "Additional Skills." This will be for anything that didn't fit into any of the other categories. For instance, if you're applying to work at a country club, an employer would want to know if you are fluent in other languages, have had CPR training, or are a certified lifeguard. If you are seeking work in an office environment, be sure to identify your familiarity with different software programs and office equipment.

Drop down two more lines and type "References." Although it's standard to type "Available Upon Request," you may want to include names and phone numbers of teachers, counselors, former employers, or members of the clergy who would be happy to put in a good word about you.

Proofread your resume thoroughly so that it is error free. It's also a good idea to have a parent, a teacher, or a counselor read it over to make sure it is not only flawless but also that you haven't left out anything important.

Address the envelope properly and completely. If it's practical, you may want to deliver your resume in person. There's always the chance that the person who will be interviewing you will happen to notice you that day and be impressed by your initiative.

Tip

Even if you end up filling out a job application in pen or pencil onsite, your accompanying resume should always be typed, never handwritten. If you deliver your resume in person, always dress exactly as you would on the day of the interview itself. Always be polite to the person at the front desk. You may see her as just a receptionist who greets people and opens the mail but there's a good chance that she has the boss' ear and will be asked her impression of you as a future employee. The URLs at the end of this article offer additional advice and resources for summer job seekers.

Warning

Never lie or exaggerate on your resume. These things have an ugly way of coming back to haunt you.

About the Author

Ghostwriter and film consultant Christina Hamlett has written professionally since 1970. Her credits include many books, plays, optioned features, articles and interviews. Publishers include HarperCollins, Michael Wiese Productions, "PLAYS," "Writer's Digest" and "The Writer." She holds a B.A. in communications (emphasis on audience analysis and message design) from California State University, Sacramento. She also travels extensively and is a gourmet chef.