If you are a parent of a school-aged child, today’s post is for you. Last year I shared several things I learned about having a graduating senior after walking through the process twice in two years. One of the things I wish I had known before we arrived in their senior year was how important it would be to have a resume ready to go.
By the time you need a resume, which usually occurs while applying for scholarships and submitting college applications, the last thing you want to do is sit down and reconstruct the last four years of your student’s life. The application process would be so much easier if that document was waiting for you, updated and ready to go.
I have a daughter who is a sophomore in high school and a daughter in eighth grade, and I am learning from my past mistakes by setting up a framework for their resume now. It’s as easy as creating a Google Doc, naming it, and adding to it consistently.
My advice? The middle school years don’t matter much on the resume, unless there is something remarkable and unique like international travel, an exceptional leadership award, or some sort of community involvement that is noteworthy. Most of the items that really matter for college applications will occur during high school.
My suggestion is to set up a document for your child when they begin high school. Include a place for academic achievements, extra curricular activities, leadership roles, community service, and any other hobbies or interests. I like to have my child update the document every six weeks at a minimum. The idea being that it is easier to think back over the past month or so and add any new information than it is to think back over four years. Add events such as choir competitions, church participating, updated GPA, involvement in weekend jobs, volunteer roles, and sports or other extracurricular activities. Little by little, semester by semester, your child’s resume will grow, and you will not be faced with the overwhelming task of creating this vital document from scratch.
As more and more items collect on their resume, you can decide to cull through them and perhaps delete items that over time don’t seem to matter as much as they first did. As an added bonus, when your child graduates, they can continue this pattern while in college (or whatever they do next in life). Keeping an updated resume is a skill they will continue to hone for the rest of their professional life.