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Writing first resume and cover letter, any advice?

I’m applying to work at Build-a-Bear Workshop (in Canada) and they told me to bring in the application form with a resume and cover letter.

I’m 16 and looking for my first job so I have no work experience. I also don’t have any “academic achievements” and I’m not involved in any clubs or sports at school. (I’m in grade 10 by the way)

I was told not to use the Microsoft Office template things because employers supposedly don’t bother looking at resumes like that and you have to make yours stand out or something.


Oh yeah, after applying at BABW, I also wanted to apply for Petland (a pet store, in case you don’t know). So any advice in this direction would be appreciated as well.

Image taken on 2009-04-16 08:45:16. Image Source. (Used with permission)

5 Responses to “Writing first resume and cover letter, any advice?”

  1. heart o' gold says:

    With no work experience you will have to focus on your academics, activities and volunteer work.
    Start by making a list of all the things you’ve achieved academically, any activies you’ve ever been involved in and any volunteer work that you have ever done. While making the list, don’t edit or critisize, just write it all down. Really spend some time on this and don’t judge or try to make decisions at all about what is or is not appropriate during your ‘brainstorming’. Then go back and see what you can use in the list you have made. Trust me, you will find some unexpected things.

    At this time, you are very young and no one will expect you to have a lot of work experience, but being able to format your past acheivements of any sort, even if it’s captain of the vollyball team, assistant editor of the school paper or even teachers cleanup assistant would be things to put on your resume. Did you babysit? Do yardwork for a neighbor? Volunteer for a beach cleanup? All stuff you can use…

  2. Michael Sand says:

    In addition to what has already been said, make sure you provide clear-cut, descriptive examples of things you have done in the past which can be translated into what can provide VALUE (this is the key word) to your future employer. This is true for any job you apply for.

    Good examples include times when you:

    -Took initiative
    -Came up with a creative solution to a problem
    -Did the ethically correct thing, rather than taking the easy way out
    -Sold XXXX number of widgets in XXXX amount of time
    -Mentored someone in need
    -Performed beyond your required role (AKA overachieved)

    All of these things can be translated into you being a potentially good future employee for the company. Best of luck to you.

  3. appocs says:


    I was in a similar situation and found an online site that had an easy to use resume-builder.

    its called

    its pretty easy to follow and the layout looks good. Your resume stays online as well and becomes interactive but you can also print it or save it as a pdf.

    you can even apply for jobs directly from within the site and even write/save cover letters as well.

    it has everything you need. check them out.


  4. andrew8857 says:

    There a ton of sites out there that offer free resume templates besides the Microsoft Office templates. Smaller sites, such as, have a ton of freely available templates that are nearly as commonly-used as the Office ones.

    I hope this helps!

  5. Tressa M says:

    Please see my article on 10 Helpful Tips that Make Your Cover letter Stand Out