Helping students get working

With summer time here and students out of school, many young people will start looking for part-time jobs to earn some extra money or start down their potential career path.

Showing that experience on a well-written resume is something that Humboldt Collegiate Institute teacher Tom Schwinghamer teaches his students.

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A simple resume can be easy to create, especially when students coming out of high school do not have the same level of experience as adults.

Work Experience

Whether formal or informal, work experience is important to have on a resume.

Schwinghamer encourages all his students to get out and do something. Whether it is volunteering or asking neighbours if they need a hand with something, it is something that they can put on a resume to show that they are willing to work.

“Cutting grass, babysitting, cleaning gutters; anything like that shows that people are willing to work…They are probably good things to put on. Better than nothing at all.”


When it comes to putting achievements on a resume, any kind of course that bettered the applicant is important, says Swinghamer.

“Just about anything, whether it’s a drivers license, kids that take a food safety course, or babysitting. Even if you’re a 14-year-old kid that has really done nothing, anything like that is important.”


Showing a positive attitude is also important on a resume and that comes through with the applicant’s language.

Use words like ‘willing to’ and ‘available’ can add some appeal to the applicant, as well as good action works like ‘I lead this’ and ‘I organized that,’ says Schwinghamer.

Resumes also have to be clear and concise, he says.

Applicants need to proof read and spell check their resumes. Mistakes like spelling, grammar, and punctuation can often cause resumes to be cast aside, says Schwinghamer, even if it is an experienced applicant applying for the job.

Making sure that contact information is correct and appropriate as well is key.

If someone sees an inappropriate email address listed under the contact information, that could cause employers to rethink hiring that person for a job.

For students who do not have these kinds of achievements or work experience to put on a resume, these are the types of things that will catch an employer’s eye.

Beyond the resume

While a lot of jobs only hire through online portals, there is still a benefit in being prepared for a face-to-face meeting, says Schwinghamer. Looking at jobs that young people are traditionally hired for, the majority are those in the service industry.

Applicants need to be prepared and get over the interview nerves to show that they have strong people skills.

“Something as simple as making eye contact, shaking hands with somebody, making small talk, even just pauses in conversations. Kids are shy; kids haven’t done that before. The hand shake is a first impression.”

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