7 Ways to Build Your Kid’s Resume [Advice Column]


I feel a lot of pressure to make my kid do something amazing because otherwise he won’t get into a good college. It is not hard to even get into the private high schools in my area. How can we beef up his resume and application value without freaking him out?

-Marsha, Boston, MA mother of 2 tweens

“Impossible is the Opposite of Possible:” Micheal Sera’s Mock Video Resume. This video brings a little light to this overall stressful article. I saw this a few months ago and just love his humor. (Just to be sure for you serious readers, he is being sarcastic and making fun of some of the ridiculous video resumes out there…please do not make a video like this)


I purposefully titled this article “How to Build Your Kid’s Resume” not “How to Build Your Teen’s Resume”, because parents have to start early.

I love writing this blog, but I hated writing this article. It sort of feels like I am encouraging parents to sell their child’s fun-loving soul for a stronger college application. I DO NOT MEAN THAT!

Yet, for parents who want their kids to be competitive in the workplace and in the college application pool, they do need to start early because it is fiercely competitive.

Here are a few tips to plant the seeds of a great college application and resume in your kids and make it as painless—and beneficial as possible.

1) Find passion
Never, ever, push a hobby or interest on your kids. My parents tried with piano, with soccer, with softball, with gymnastics (I hate all of these things now). Try to tap into and foster a passion (even if it is small) that already exists.

2) Don’t bring up the resume idea too early
You do not want to make your kids paranoid. You and I know that their sports interest might have great potential, but they do not have to know necessarily. Tell them you think they have a lot of potential and maybe you should try taking it to the next level.

3) Think of ways kids can bring a new spin to an old topic
Everyone talks about being more green, but when a kid talks about it and spreads a message, it is much more newsworthy/interesting/exciting and resume worthy. If your child loves art, have them hold a neighborhood camp on teaching each other crafts, if they love to cook have them do some fun instructional videos on YouTube.

4) Give them a project

No summer should be boring, have them come up with a month-long project and teach them how to tackle big goals. Check out my post on this: 10 Ways to Tackle Any Problem.

5) Any expertise can be giving back
No matter what your child’s passion is, they can make it charitable. This is a good message, good for the community and lastly, good for resumes. If your kid wants to be a vet, have them organize a group with friends and their pets to elderly homes and hospitals to give puppy love to patients.

6) Bring in outside help
I have a fabulous career coach, Courtney Macavinta, author of Respect RX who has helped me with all of my projects, career and resume from the beginning. She lives in San Francisco and helps me and her other clients all over the country and world by phone. I really recommend having a phone consult with her! Contact her here and tell her I sent you and you are interested in her coaching!

7) Think outside of awards
Ew, awards are so much pressure. A lot of parents are so focused on getting awards, nominations and certificates. In this day and age, just doing something different can be good for a resume. Most of what they do can be great content for interviews and college essays, it does not have to be so official.

Hope this helps! Post your comments below!

Dream big, work hard and you will get there,


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6 Responses to “7 Ways to Build Your Kid’s Resume [Advice Column]”

  1. Austin
    May 12, 2008 at 8:02 am #

    Thanks for the great tips. My 17-year-old sister and I created a resume builder on our site myfirstpaycheck.com to help teens build their first resumes. By using our dynamic tool, making resumes becomes a lot easier and you and and your child can focus on presenting the content and not layout.

  2. Vanessa Van Petten
    May 12, 2008 at 8:42 am #

    Sounds great, I will check it out!

  3. Jane Brown
    June 15, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    Thank you for the tips, they are certainly great. I had actually come across a website that was specifically built for saving your childrens achievements, athletics, academics etc all throughout their education. I have started using the website and I see an incredible value at the resume I will be able to take with me and my children when we start looking at colleges. I also have been learning a ton about scholorships and probably over 100 pages about getting my children into college. The site is http://www.mychildsresume.com, I highly recommend it.

  4. Kris Manley
    February 8, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    If I may suggest this website, http://www.resumesforchildren.com, which has some terrific sample children’s resumes along with great info on children’s activities.

  5. market for liberty
    February 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Why build a resume that the child might not need? Do you need a resume to start a business? I know they need a resume to slave away at a high end investment bank…but why would you want such a high stress job?

    …in fact, any job requiring resume most likely sucks. The resume is a paper that qualifies yourself to a higher authority. Thus, during that job, you will be answering to a higher authority…AKA…voluntary slavery.

    Allow your child to do what they want to do. That resume may form naturally along the way.

    Or teach your child the value of entrepreneurship. Encourage every activity that arises spontaneously. If they start a lemonade stand, encourage them. If they play basketball alot, encourage them. If they play videogames encourage them. They may own a business, be a basketball player, or be a videogame developer later in life.

    “You will win the championship.” was the most inspirational quote of my life. I never won that championship…but I wont more valuable championships later in my life. Your words have the potential to instill a great motivation. Those five words changed my life. You don’t need a lot of words…just make sure you say it in the right way and at the right time.

  6. Logan Clemente
    September 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    yes but most jobs that require a resume are actually legitimate.

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