I am a high school student looking at applying for an internship. The specific company is a programming-type company. I need to make a resume but have absolutely no experience in doing so.

My question for you lovely ladies and gentlemen is this: What should I list as experience? CS 1&2 in C++, or maybe my three years of helping run a set painting committee.

I have taken through Pre-Calc in mathematics, through physics in science, and through 11th grade English, two semesters of college computer science in C++, as well as three years in a theater troop, if that helps at all.


Since you are relatively young, it is expected that your work history might indicate the life of most teenagers - doing whatever you can find. First, list any other employment you have had, relevant or not. Second, list any volunteer work you have done (church, community, etc.). Third, list any awards you have received, e.g. Boy/Girl Scouts, local community organizations, school clubs, service organizations like Lions, Kiwanis, Elks, etc. Finally, list the classes you have taken that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and your overall GPA.

This information should give them a better idea of who you are, and what you have to offer. Be honest. Don't make stuff up to look better. If you don't have these things, that's ok. You might consider volunteering somewhere to get a little experience that could be "resume material."

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Things that you need to make sure that are on your resume:

  • Grades
  • Experience in programming languages (if during a class the grades for those classes)
  • Any examples that you have done on the side. Get these on the internet if they aren't already. This more than anything would have an impact on a hiring manager.
  • Reference from a programming teacher
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  • +1 for the reference from a programming teacher. As an interviewer, I don't mind if you don't have samples of your work online. But if you do have samples, I will check them out. If they're not good I will hold it against you. This might be a factor for someone who is just starting out. – Kent A. Apr 15 '15 at 12:13
  • @KentAnderson - you are right. Examples can go either way. So can grades. I know I interview pretty hard so I am not sure what I would say to someone with bad examples and poor grades. I think I would find out eventually. – blankip Apr 15 '15 at 18:43

I've been in a similar position :)

You should mention your achievements in order of the importance, trying to capture the attention.

What matters the most here are the examples of your work. Working code outweighs a lot of stuff because there are much more people who got A in calculus than people who completed a personal coding project.

If you haven't done already, push your projects to github (make sure you write decent documentation). If you have experience where you used some niche technology - write a blog post or two about it, add a link to CV. Impressing the company with your projects is your best chance and you should emphasize it.

The related courses you took are very important too (although working code outweighs it). Make sure you mention it, what you've learned there and if you've applied it for any of your projects.

After that, your school grades are worth mentioning (although still, great personal projects often enough will outweigh A in physics).

Things such as experience in theater troop are better than nothing, however, it doesn't carry much weight compared to e.g. code examples. They are worth mentioning at the bottom, they might help to start a conversion (e.g. the interviewer had similar experience and can relate to that) but they have very little influence to the hiring decision.

Good luck!

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