Why You Need a Resumé in 9th Grade

What’s a resumé?

It was the summer of my sophomore year in college. I hit the streets looking for a part-time job. Having worked in retail stores since I was 12, I was sure I knew everything about getting a job. I went into a women’s clothing store and said I’d like to apply for a job. The clerk looked over the counter at me and said “Do you have a resumé?” My expression probably went blank, because my mind surely did. “What the heck is a resumé?” screamed the voice inside my head. Somehow, I managed to say, “Not with me.”   The clerk smiled and suggested I come back and when I had my resumé.  I went home, got out the dictionary (this was the 70’s…way before Google and Dictionary.com). After reading the description, I called a friend who, it turns out, had a resumé and knew exactly what I needed to do to create one.

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The next day, I returned to the store with my freshly typed resume and promptly got the job. I was never without an updated resumé from that day forward.  

  Resumé: “A brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience…” — Dictionary.com

A 9th Grader needs a resumé?

girl playing guitarWhile my resumé story begins in college in 1977, today the need for a resumé begins as early as 9th grade when keeping a record of what you’ve accomplished starts to become important.  It’s not that 9th graders are applying for jobs, but because they will soon be applying for scholarships and admission to college and will need letters of recommendation written on their behalf.  In a recent #CampusChat on Twitter, the lack of good information about the student — combined with not giving the recommender enough time — was mentioned as a top pain point for guidance counselors.

The solution to this pain point is to start early, beginning in the 9th grade. Keep a record of accomplishments such as awards, certificates, part-time jobs, volunteer work (including the number of hours volunteering per year), as well as anything extra or noteworthy in your life. Did you teach yourself to play guitar? Make a video that went viral on YouTube? Take an online class? Read 99 books in one summer?

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By keeping your educational resumé up to date throughout your high school years, you will have something any recommender will appreciate when it comes time to help you stand out during the college and scholarship review process.