Resume Tips to Land a Summer Job or Prepare to Re-Enter the Workforce

By Jennifer Mellor, Chief Innovation Officer, Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation.

Tips for Teens

Spring is a great time of year for high school students to start looking for summer jobs or internships. Summer jobs provide young people with an opportunity to learn new skills, gain experience, and add to their resumes.

ElevateEdAZ, an initiative of the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation, recommends students pursue summer jobs and internships that are aligned to programs of study or areas of interest.

As an example, students interested in healthcare might consider a summer job at a local doctor’s office, hospital, or healthcare clinic. Jobs such as lifeguarding, retail positions, restaurant host or hostesses, movie theater attendant, camp counselor, golf course positions, babysitter or childcare worker also offer great customer service, teamwork, and communication skills.

Many teens do not have a lot of experience or skills to build a resume. When creating a resume, ElevateEdAZ suggests these tips for teens:

  • Refrain from using tables, columns, headers & footers in your resume. Applicant tracking systems won’t pick up the text.
  • Refrain from including a photo or using fancy templates/fonts in your resume.
  • Employers typically spend 3-6 seconds scanning through resumes, action verbs, and word choice can make a difference in moving forward.
  • Relate your school and extracurricular experience to job skills. For example, participation on a team or club teaches teamwork and communication skills. Babysitting or neighborhood jobs demonstrate the ability to show up on time and communicate well.
  • References should not ever be listed on a resume. No need to put “references upon request” either. If they want them, they will ask.
  • Resumes should be limited to 1-2 pages. Pick your most relevant experience and tailor it to the job description and use chronological order.
  • No need to list a home address either, you can put that information on an application if requested.
  • Proofread and better yet, have another person read it before you submit to a potential employer, errors on resumes are a big red flag.

Tips for Adults Re-Entering the Workforce

In addition, during the pandemic many mothers put aside their careers to help care for school-age children who were doing online school. The U.S. Department of Labor found that there were 1.6 million fewer working mothers in January 2021 compared to January 2020.

The Greater Phoenix Chamber offers these tips to mothers who are ready to return to work and haven’t created a resume or interviewed in a while:

  • Update your resume highlighting your skills, education, and experience. Note gaps in your work history and remember to mention your transferable skills that may translate well to the jobs you are now seeking.
  • Tailor your resume for each position you apply to.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile or create one if you don’t already have one; be sure to highlight your skills and accomplishments.
  • Practice how you’ll address your gap in employment for interviews; It will come up and you want to be confident and brief. For example, you can say “I took time off to take care of my family and am ready to come back to work full-time again.”
  • Lean on your network – maybe you know other moms or neighbors who can help connect you to contacts at companies where you’d like to work. LinkedIn is also a good way to reconnect or find former supervisors and colleagues that might be able to connect you to jobs and/or serve as references.

Each month, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation partners with AZ Careers NOW to host hiring expos with local industry employers who will hire entry-level to senior positions. Professionals, healthcare workers, students, veterans, military spouses, mothers re-entering the workforce, career changes, and those ready to reskill or upskill can attend.

Launched in 2020, ElevateEdAZ prepares individuals for college and career through stronger alignment between education, business, and the community. The program offers mock interviews, resume workshops, and career fairs for students to help prepare them for college and career opportunities.

The Greater Phoenix Chamber represents 2,400 businesses and promotes regional prosperity by serving as a catalyst for economic vitality and strong communities.