Sixth grade? These days, it seems like most pre-teens have enough life experience to actually create a compelling resume. Ever heard of Hannah Altman, Sam Klein or Arjun Metah? All were CEO’s of companies they started before any of them turned thirteen. So seriously, when should you start your resume?
Before I answer that, you need to understand what the real purpose of a resume is. It’s to open doors. Most resumes are screened for ten to fifteen seconds initially, just long enough to decide if they go into the “yes”, “no” or “maybe” pile. So, the stronger the resume, the more likely yours is to land in the “yes” pile.
Think back to when you were applying to college and all the experience you built up to make your college application as strong as it could be. Unfortunately, college is not a time to slack off on building your resume. You need to be doing the exact same thing you did in high school during college if you want to increase your odds of landing a great job. I have seen numerous college graduates’ resumes with accolades from their high school days and nothing more current. Once you enter your senior year in college, you can erase all your high school honors and awards. They are no longer relevant. Put them on your resume and it’s almost asking to be put in the “no” pile. An prospective employer wants to know “what have you done lately”?
I generally advise clients to start their resumes by the fall of their sophomore year in college. Why so soon? Because by starting then, you’ll realize how much you have to do to create compelling material for your resume. You’ll also have a lot more time to create it, whether it’s internships, leadership opportunities in school clubs or sports teams, or volunteer work. The more compelling your work experience, the stronger your resume will be and the more likely doors will open. In summary, it’s never too early to start building your resume so get going, there’s no time to waste. Doors are waiting to be opened.