Career planning from a résumé – Tracking your skills

As young people build skills by participating in activities, encourage youth to document skills learned and develop a résumé as part of career planning.

Whether you have or not, have you considered using a résumé for career planning? Students can use each section on a résumé to plan for their career. For each section on a résumé, students can begin to think of how they would like to represent themselves as they prepare for their career. Creating an objective, education, work experience, activities and skills section is one way to do this.

The skills section on a résumé is a showcase of the different talents and abilities a prospective employee brings to an employer. There is also a résumé called a skills résumé, or functional résumé, that the Purdue Online Writing Lab states as being for students who gained experience through jobs and courses and it emphasizes what a person can do instead of where they worked. 

High school students can begin to plan how to build skills and reflect their readiness for a job to future employers. How can students plan to build their career skills? Michigan State University Extension believes participating in different activities assists in building career skills. Consider these activities to build skills:  Volunteering and community service, working a part-time job or an internship, participating in activities in school and out-of-school such as science clubs, band or orchestra, computer clubs, sports, arts and theatre, and 4-H. As a student participant in these activities, make plans to keep a record of the skills that are gained. Michigan 4-H Youth Development has an Action Verbs Handout to help students list the skills gained on a résumé.

Kim Isaacs from gives a list of three types of skills for job seekers and a résumé. The types of skills are job-related, transferable and adaptive. Students should learn about these skills to help identify and incorporate them in their résumé as they plan for their future.

Youth can highlight their skills in four different types of résumés: Chronological, combination, functional and electronic. The Michigan 4-H Careers website provides résumé samples for youth to explore how skills are listed on different types of résumés.

As a student planning for the future, start planning to be active in different type of activities to learn skills and track skills learned by keeping a record or journal. The skills youth learn and excel in can help lead to a promising career.

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