How to Start a Resume

Created: March 2017

Last Updated: April 2020

This learning experience is part of a playlist — two or more learning experiences focused on specific areas of the digital world. You can find this playlist, Crafting a Successful Resume, here. This particular learning experience is the fourth in a sequence of six. Learning experiences in a playlist build off of each other, but they were designed so that they can also be completed on their own! 

Estimated time:

40 minutes 

  • [20 minutes] Activity

  • [20 minutes] Challenge

Group or individual activity:Individual
Ages:16-18 years old
Grades: Grades 10-12
Online / offline elements:  This learning experience contains an activity and challenge that requires a computer or mobile device with Internet access.

Main area: Digital Economy 

Additional areas: Content Production, Context, Digital (Literacy), Identity Exploration and Formation

License:  This learning experience has been created by Youth and Media and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution­ShareAlike 4.0 International license. For more information, please visit

Learning Goal

Learn about different resume formats and practice writing a resume based on your interests, experiences, skills, and goals. You will also learn about what a resume and CV are and why they are important for your long-term goals. 


  • Resume / CV Template - U.S. Resume or Europass CV

  • Computer or mobile device with Internet access

  • [Optional] Paper

  • [Optional] Pen or pencil



Let’s begin today by thinking of one of your favorite characters from a movie or TV show you love, whether that might be Harry Potter, The Avengers, or something else. Now, think of a positive quality or skill that this person has. In Harry Potter, this might be Hermione’s steadfast loyalty or in The Avengers, Tony Stark / Iron Man’s determined perseverance. Then, think of a time that they demonstrated this skill. Now, write down three things on a piece of paper. 

First, what was the background / context of the specific situation where they demonstrated this skill? What was happening in the TV show or movie at that time? Second, what did they do to show this particular skill? What were the actions they took? And third, what was the result of their actions? How did it impact what was happening in the TV show or movie? What effect did it have on other characters? You can think of these three elements as 1) Context, 2) Action, and 3) Results. An easy way to remember this is the acronym “C.A.R.”

By providing each of these elements — the context of a situation, the action taken, and the results achieved — you are telling a story, with a beginning (i.e., the context), a middle (i.e., the action), and an end (i.e., the result). For different opportunities you’re interested in, the C.A.R. method is one helpful tool you can use to showcase our skills and tell our own stories about things you’re good at, whether that might be teamwork, data analysis, or art history.

Think of an opportunity you’re interested in — a volunteering opportunity, a specific university, an internship, or a career pathway — and one skill you have that might be relevant to it. Now, take a few minutes to write your own C.A.R. story on the back of your piece of paper!

Ideally, this helped you to start thinking about skills related to opportunities you’re interested in and how you might be able to tell a story around these skills. Another way you can showcase our achievements and work-relevant experiences and tell our story is by creating a resume or CV (which stands for “curriculum vitae”).  

A resume is a short summary (typically one to two pages) of your experiences and skills. People typically modify their resume according to the job they are applying for. A CV is a much more detailed record of your career history (usually over two pages, depending on the length of someone’s career) that stays the same as you apply for different jobs. 

Today, you’re going to focus on a resume and have you create your own resume! For inspiration, you can also check out the Resume / CV Template you’re going to focus on one specific way — a resume, by having you create your own resume! If you already have a resume, feel free to use it as your starting point.


Follow the How to Start a Resume flowchart, and choose a resume format that fits your ideal job. Feel free to check out the Occupation Profile database from CareerOneStop to learn more about jobs you are interested in (you can also search for the skills / requirements for a job you’re interested in using Linked in, or searching for some combination of “[job title]” + “skills” + “qualifications). Next, create a draft of your resume, including all of your relevant experiences and skills, for the resume format that you have chosen. Finally, in a paragraph, explain why this resume format is the best choice for you. 

Next Steps 

Awesome job on completing this challenge! We just know that others are curious to see what you learned! We encourage you to share your resume and / or write-up with an educator, mentor, advisor, or family member (or a friend!). We invite you to also share your write-up with the Youth and Media team through email ( Please note the title of the learning experience in the subject line of the email.

You can also keep revising your resume and improving it! If you want to take your resume to the next level, you may be interested in the “Boost Your Resume” learning experience.  


Individual vs. Group 
Release Date 
April, 2020