Career planning from a résumé: Starting with the objective

With various ways to plan for careers, students can start with a résumé.

Can students use résumés to plan and prepare for their future? First, résumés are important for students and their future as they look for jobs. They give an employer some information on the skills and qualities the student has as a prospective employee. The information given in a résumé can send the message that a student entering the workforce is prepared to work for a company, agency or organization. Résumés can be thought of as a document to qualify a person for a job interview.

The items that make up a résumé can help youth prepare for their future. Generally, résumés consist of the following items: Objective, education, work experience, skills, volunteer experience, activities, and awards/honors. For each item of a résumé, youth can participate in reflective activities that will make each section of the resume stronger.

Objectives state what a student wants to do and their career desires for a company, agency or organization. The importance of an objective starts when a student realizes what they would like to pursue as a career and what they would like to accomplish in their career. If a student is unsure about a career field, taking career assessments is a helpful activity to explore careers that match their skills and interests. For students who are sure about their career paths, it is helpful to begin thinking about how they can utilize their skills and interests to perform well with the responsibilities of their future career.

Participating in a job shadowing activity will give a student a learning experience to help explore a career field, find out what a typical day is like and discover the skills and education needed to enter and advance in the field. The experience and information gained from a question and answer session with a career professional can be utilized to put together the career objective for a student.

Developing an objective is essential to begin career planning. The following basic questions can help start the planning process:

  • What career or careers are you interested in?
  • How do you want to utilize your skills in your career?
  • How can you express how you want to utilize your skills in your career?

Starting with the objectives, résumés can be used to prepare youth for their future. The objectives can be used to start students to focus on their career goals and learn how to express how they want to utilize their career skills for a future employer. If a student is seeking a way to plan for their career, they can start with a résumé. For students or 4-H members interested in learning about résumés, Michigan State University Extension has resources on the Michigan 4-H Careers website.

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