Skills for First Resume

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Advice for High School Students Writing Their First Resume

Here are the top skills for your first resume.  You should try to demonstrate each of these skills using examples. For each skill, think of an ‘achievement story’, a time when you used that skill to achieve a result.  There are some prompt questions for each skill to help.  

For advice for preparing your resume, see related article: How to Write Resume for First Job with No Work Experience

7 Skills for First Resume


Self-Management means that you can take responsibility for your behaviour and well-being. People who have good self-management quickly move between tasks, manage their time to achieve deadlines, and respond to setbacks positively.

  • Has there been a time when you have taken on too much and needed to re-prioritise? What did you do? What was the outcome?
  • Do you have strategies to manage study/exam stress? How do you look after your well-being?
  • Has there been a time when you didn’t perform well and needed additional efforts to enhance your performance? What was the outcome?


Having initiative means you look for things that need to be done and do them without being asked. You work independently, find solutions to problems, and contribute original and valuable ideas.

  • Have you even delivered more than was required?
  • Have you put in additional effort and helped a critical project or idea succeed?
  • Have you tried a new way of doing things and succeeded?
  • Have you ever taken the initiative to learn a new skill? How did you go about this?

Organisation & Planning

Good organisation and planning skills allow you to coordinate time and resources to achieve goals, including quality and deadline expectations.

  • When working towards a goal, have you been required to overcome a setback that forced you to adjust your plan?
  • Have you had any challenging deadlines to achieve, perhaps multiple assignments due at the same time? How did you ensure you met all deadlines?
  • Have you organised an event, a community event, or even a family event? How did you go about it? What was the outcome?


As a team player, you put team success first and encourage cooperation and commitment to achieve team goals and outputs.

  • Have you been a part of a team to deliver a group assignment at school? What was your role? What was the result?
  • Have you experienced a team situation when one member was not pulling their weight? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?
  • Are you part of a sporting team? How do you ensure you don’t let your teammates down?
  • Do you have an example of when you have put the team’s success ahead of your own?


Communication skills cover both written and verbal communication skills. Orally and in writing, you convey ideas and facts verbally and achieve understanding.

  • Have you done any public speaking? How big was the audience? What was the outcome?
  • Have you taught someone younger to perform a task? What was the task? What was the outcome?
  • Have you delivered an oral presentation at school? How did you prepare? What was the result?
  • Has there been a time when you have given a motivational speech to your sports team? What was the outcome?
  • Have you assisted a classmate in understanding a new concept? How did you do this?
  • Have you used your written communication skills to get an important point across?
  • Have you achieved any exceptional results for written assignments or reports as part of your studies?
  • Do you have a blog? What is the purpose? How do you measure if you achieve your goals?
  • Have you had your writing published? School newsletter, online, or in traditional print?

Learning Aptitude

Having an ongoing commitment to learning and self-improvement demonstrates learning aptitude. You find and maximise opportunities for learning and ask for and use feedback to improve performance.

  • Have you completed any short or online courses?
  • Do you have any hobbies? What are they?
  • Have you leant a musical instrument? a second language?
  • Have you experienced difficultly learning a new skill? What strategies did you apply to overcome?

Problem Solving

Solid problem-solving skills will all you to resolve complex or complicated challenges.

  • Have you fixed an item around the house that stopped working?
  • Have you ever resolved a technical problem at school or home?
  • Have you been required to solve a problem as part of a school assignment?
  • Have you identified a minor problem and fixed it before it became a significant problem?

Additional Advice

Don’t overuse the word ‘skills’ on your resume. Make sure you provide actual examples to prove you have these skills.

Related: How to Write Resume for First Job with No Work Experience

Related: How to Take a Career Test Drive

Example Resume – How you show your skills on your first resume when you have no experience

An aspiring Automotive Technician, I have completed my Certificate II in Automotive and developed my knowledge and skills in automotive mechanical systems and components, body repairs, electrical systems, vehicle batteries and safe systems of work. I am seeking an opportunity to complete my Certificate III as a full-time apprenticeship. 
Year 11 | VCAL; Secondary College, 2018
Certificate II Automotive Vocational Preparation; TAFE, 2018
123 Auto Repairs; Jun 2018
Completed two-week placement in an automotive workplace
	Rated ‘Above Average’ for all performance criteria
	Received customer praise for interior clean
“John’s gusto is unmatched, always the first one to class, he brings a positive energy and a desire to learn.
His eagerness is complemented by his strong mechanical aptitude. He has proven himself capable and thorough.
John has great potential, and I would happily recommend him for an automotive trade apprenticeship.”
Bob Johns, VET Teacher
‘Very High’ in Mechanical Aptitude Test; Institute of Psychometric Coaching, 2018 

The test measured ability to quickly learn and apply basic mechanical principles to solve work-related problems.

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