Student Resume Whine: “But I don’t have ANY experience…”

Apr 15, 2019
Career, NGPF Fellows

This guest blog post comes to you courtesy of NGPF Fellow Aric Weiker of Interlake High School (WA). 


Student Resume Whine: “But I don’t have ANY experience…”

Templates and checklists are great, but students still struggle to include examples of relevant work experience and leadership when crafting resumes. In a typical class, more than three quarters are starting resumes from scratch and these are the same students who need the most help developing ideas for the core content.

A structured approach with guided questions and common examples has proven to be most effective.

The goal of the exercise is for each student to list at least one job and one leadership activity before they begin to complete the excellent NGPF template. As students develop ideas, these can be contagious if they are shared out loud. If a student is short on ideas, it’s best to combine the two sections into one called “Work Experience and Leadership” or simply “Experience.”


Questions regarding work experience:

  • Have you done work that you were paid for?
  • Have you had an internship or job shadow?
  • How do you spend your summers?
  • Have you helped a family member out with their job or business?


Work experience examples:

  • Student Store Retail Assistant
  • Summer Camp Counselor or Counselor in Training
  • Assistant Coach for a sports team or club
  • Tutor
  • Babysitter
  • Pet Sitter
  • Lawn Mower or Landscaper
  • House Cleaner


Questions regarding leadership:

  • Are you part of your student government?
  • Are you a captain/co-captain or do you hold another leadership role on a sports team or club?
  • Have you lead big projects at school?
  • Are you a scout?
  • Are you in band or theater and if so what are your responsibilities there?
  • Do you participate in a faith-based organization and are you a leader there?
  • Are you a representative on any Boards or Committees?


Leadership examples:

  • ASB Vice-President
  • Knowledge Bowl Fundraising Chair
  • AP Government “Mock”umentary Director
  • Senior Patrol Leader (scouts)
  • Drum Major
  • Church Youth Advisory Committee

I have also attached a resume peer edit checklist that I developed in case you find this useful.

About the Author

Jessica Endlich

When I started working at Next Gen Personal Finance, it's as though my undergraduate degree in finance, followed by ten years as an educator in an NYC public high school, suddenly all made sense.