Quick Tips – Résumé Writing

Even for someone with experience, building a résumé can be intimidating. Trying to build one before you’ve even had a job at all can seem downright impossible. Nonetheless,  résumé writing is a very important skill to begin working on, and the sooner you start, the better it will be later on. If you’ve ever wanted to build your résumé but don’t know where to start, I have some tips to share with you today.

For those of you just starting out, you may be concerned that you don’t have enough experience to even call for a full resume. Fear not: at the high-school level, your résumé obviously won’t be as comprehensive as someone with ten years experience, and at this point, employers are not expecting that. However, there are ways in which you can pad your resume with other important info about yourself that demonstrates your experience or your achievements.

Before we get there, let’s address some of the must-haves when it comes to resumes:


In your later years, work experience will take center stage, but at this point, your education will be the most important aspect of your résumé. When giving your education, you’ll want to include the high school you attend (in this case, San Dieguito Academy), name of the city and state, the years you attended including your expected graduation date, and your GPA.As far as this section goes, that’s all you really need. However, if you want to add any specific subjects that interest or classes you’ve taken (if they apply to the job), you’re welcome to include those as well.

In the case that you’ve attended multiple high schools, you’ll want to include your previous high school info as well.

Work Experience (if you have it)

If you are over the age of 16, you might have already taken the opportunity to work at a local job to either build experience or build your bank account. In any case, you can and should include this information if you have it. You’ll want to list the company or place of employment, your job title, the job’s location, the length of employment (months and years), and a few bullets of information about your job duties and responsibilities.

Using bullets is important for one reason: employers take only about a minute in total to read your résumé. It seems like such little time to spend reading something that you’ve worked possibly hours on, but considering how many applications they receive, they are looking to get through them as quickly as possible. Therefore, you’ll want to have all of your information clear and separated by bullet points and not paragraphs. Not only is it easier on the eyes, but it allows for employers to jump to any bit of info they want to with ease. When it comes to descriptions, the more concise, the better.

No work experience? No problem. Here are a few other things you can include in their place. Those who have work experience can use these sections to strengthen their résumé overall as well:

Extracirricular or Volunteer Experience

Chances are if you don’t have any work experience, you might still have a volunteer experience or two to include in this section. Volunteer work can be especially important to your résumé because it demonstrates that you have done something for more than just financial gain. It shows you are devoted to a cause or to an activity and serve to gain something more from it than money. This goes for extracurricular activities like sports and clubs as well, which show commitment to other things outside of schoolwork.

Awards, Recognition, or Certificates

Whether you’ve won a regional debate or won first prize at the Four-H Club, listing your awards and recognition is like putting the cherry on top of your sundae: it’s a nice little piece of garnish to add that extra flair to your résumé. While you might second guess whether these honors even relate to the job you’re applying for, still include them. They can be a great showcase of both your skills as well as your determination in multiple areas. If you have CPR, First Aid, or Lifeguard training, you can include that in this section as well.


If you have any specific skills that are applicable to the position you are applying for, you can include a list of these as well. Such skills you could highlight include:

  • Retail and sales experience
  • Customer service skills
  • Interpersonal or communication skills
  • Writing, editing, or typing
  • Calculation skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Multitasking skills
  • Leadership and management

You can be creative with how you present yourself. If there’s a better way you can describe an experience or skill that will strengthen you as a job candidate, go for it!

However, when it comes to formatting, just be sure that you can fit all the information about yourself into one page MAXIMUM. Like I said, employers are reading your entire resume for no more than a minute or two, so you don’t want a three-page summary of every single thing you’ve done since Kindergarten. Pick the things that are most important at showcasing who you are and be as concise as possible when you describe them.

The last and most important tip for building your résumé is this: Start doing stuff.

Sounds simple, but this really is the best way to build your résumé. Even if you’re not old enough yet to work, go join some clubs or volunteer your time at the library, at church, or at a local organization. These types of activities will ensure you have a strong foundation by the time you are ready for that first job.

Even if you think you’re still not ready to apply, just go for it. Jobs aren’t as scary as they seem…believe me, I’ve had all sorts of different jobs, from summer camp counselor to retail associate to trivia host, all the way to becoming your Writing Lab Teacher. I was able to get where I am now by pushing myself out of my comfort zone, pursuing new opportunities and, most importantly working hard to learn and grow all the time. Anyone can do it; it’s all a matter of when you start.

If you have any other questions about your résumés, please let me know if I missed anything.


Read. Write. Grow.

-Mr. S.



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“The Journey Through Autism”: A Student Passion Project

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I wanted to share with the SDA campus community a writing project from one of our own students. Since March 2017, Sophomore Ethan Hirschberg has been curating a blog and website he calls “The Journey Through Autism.” A few weeks ago, Ethan reached out to me to let me know about this project and what it means to him.

Ethan and his Goldendoodle.

At age two, Ethan was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism, which he says has both its positives and its negatives. He began writing this blog to share his experiences and give insights into his life and living with autism in general, as well as to share advice “to indivudals on the spectrum, parents, caregivers, educators, and providers.” Ethan also offers answers to questions from individuals who post comments asking about specific topics, which helps those facing very specific situations. According to Ethan, “While people with Autism may share certain feelings or experiences, they can also be different in many ways as well.”

I have spent my time reading through the posts on The Journey Through Autism and I have found it incredible that Ethan has not only taken on this project, which he is most certainly passionate about, but has accomplished his goal. The site already has a strong following with a large number of subscribers and multiple comments from both his followers and those interested in getting advice and learning more about Autism.

This project, inspired by Ethan’s desire to educate, to inform and to raise awareness, has resonated with others with autism as well as their family members. He says, “There has been a lot of work put into this project, and it has been worth it. My goal is to help everyone and anyone that I can. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person with Autism, a parent of a child with Autism, a teacher that has an Autistic child, etc. If I can help just one person, I will feel that I’ve done my job.”

Ethan credits many people for their unending support, but especially highlights his parents and his younger brother: “My family is the most important thing to me. My parents are supportive of everything I do, and they are amazing inspirations to me.”

I wanted to share this with my readers not only because Ethan’s project demonstrates how one can apply their writing skills to outside projects and activities, but also how one can use their writing to tell their story, communicate their passions, and educate others on things that are personally important to them.

Ethan has done just that through his blog, and I urge you to read about his journey. I am personally looking forward to reading more posts in the future and it will be exciting to see how his story and experiences will develop!

You can find the link to Ethan’s website and blog The Journey Through Autism at www.thejourneythroughautism.com. Again, I encourage everyone to read and subscribe.


Read. Write. Grow.

-Mr. S. 

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A Note On Revision: Turn Your Thoughts Into Sentences

There is something I’ve noticed with some student writing over the past couple of weeks that I wanted to address in this week’s post.

Not everyone approaches writing in the same way. Some like to plan and outline days in advance and write with as much precision as possible. Others like to let it flow and bang out an essay in just a few hours. Whatever your method or approach to the written word, there should be one process that is universally the same for all writers: revision.

The problem with the free-flowing method I just described is that while it can be beneficial for some young writers to get the ideas out of their head and onto paper before they vanish, the final product is far from what one could call “complete”. It may be a full five-paragraph essay, but that writing is often made up strictly of “thoughts”, by which I mean compelling but incomplete fragments that often lack flow or connection to the deeper message of our writing, or “thesis” if we are looking at things from an academic point of view. These “thoughts” as they exist don’t serve to prove their point and therefore lead to longer writing,  but ultimately weaker writing as a result.

This is where the revision process becomes extremely important. I have tried to teach students never to undervalue revision. Every part of the process, from restructuring arguments and ideas to proofreading for grammar and fluidity are all important in turning your jumble of “thoughts” into actual “sentences” and “arguments”, thereby improving your writing as a whole.

Fortunately, most of us are editors at heart. This is why the crippling “writer’s block” exists: our left-brained tendencies toward logic and sense end up blocking us from reaching for the creativity and elevated thought associated with the right side of our brain. This is what makes it sometimes difficult to get our ideas down on paper. This is exactly why the “excessive planner” I described above over-prepares to write their essay; they are terrified they won’t have anything to say, or worse, won’t know the right way to say it.

The truth is simple: there is no right way of saying anything. The beauty of writing is how subjective it can be. As long as we are able to support it well, we can argue anything we wish, and people can either agree or disagree with our claims if they wish. At the same time, subjectivity is also the cause of much of the agony associated with writing. The uncertainty of “no right way” makes some people wary of the whole art of writing, which is why so many people claim they are not “good writers”.

If it’s the case that there is no right way of saying anything, then it is equally true that there is no such thing as a “good writer” or a “bad writer”. In the end, we are all just writers. But the goal of creating effective writing is to treat revision as a totally objective art form. In order to do this, you, the writer, need to be aware of when you are using thoughts to convey your ideas vs. sentences.

The difference between the two is objective.  As I said before, thoughts in their nature will be interesting, but incomplete and unrealized. Sentences on the other hand are, as they suggest, complete thoughts that all have some connection to your overarching purpose, thesis, or argument. The job of a good editor is to realize whether or not what you are writing is necessary and effective. If the sentence you have written is neither necessary or effective towards answering any questions, get rid of it. When you only have so many pages to work with, every word should count towards your final goal.

By the time you have finished strengthening what works and omitting the things that don’t, the final step is proofreading. I highly encourage writers to read their work our loud, because if it makes sense when you’re saying it, it will make sense on the page. This will also help you recognize if you are repeating any phrases or need to vary your word choice to improve the flow of your writing. There are so many benefits to this practice, be they grammatical or organizational.

As a writer myself, these are the things that I find helpful when it comes to revision of my own work. In the end, not only do I have a better piece of writing, but I also feel like I have more ownership over my writing than I did before. If you follow these methods, I guarantee you’ll feel this way too, and you’ll have a good grade to match it!

Now, if you’ll excuse me now, time to edit this post before I publish. Hope I didn’t miss any pronouns or articles in here somewhere.


-Mr. S.

Posted in College Essay, How to Write an Essay, How to Write Correct Sentences, Sentences, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Note On Revision: Turn Your Thoughts Into Sentences

Follow the Writing Lab on Instagram and Twitter

New for the 2017-18 school-year, the SDA Writing Lab is now on Instagram and Twitter!

This will be a beneficial way for you guys to get updates on everything going on in the center, including any changes to our schedule and any writing tips we can share with everyone. Not only that, but it will be an awesome way for us to promote the Lab and help stay in the loop in all campus activities, so help us spread the word!

follow us on Twitter @SDAWritingLab and Insta @sdawritinglab and be on the lookout for updates, pictures, tips and other things to come!

Mr. S.

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The Writing Lab is Back in Business!

Salutations, SDA!

I am excited to announce that the SDA Writing Lab is open for business for the 2017-2018 school year!

In case you weren’t aware of our existence, the Writing Lab is a free (yes free!) on-campus writing tutoring service set up by the SDA Parent Foundation to assist SDA students with all of your writing needs, including but not limited to college essays, analytical writing, research papers and reports, and even creative writing. If you write it, we can help revise it! Even if you haven’t written it yet, you can always book an appointment to brainstorm ideas, make notes, and create outlines for your work. And did I mention it’s totally free??

Already thousands are lining up at my office door for an appointment, so make sure that you book yours soon! (Okay, not literally thousands, but still, book an appointment if you need assistance!)


To book an appointment, please visit out website’s “Make an Appointment” page HERE. You will find all the information you need to book an appointment through our Google Calendar. All Writing Lab sign-ups will be conducted online now, so make sure you have visited the website and made your appointment official!

Our hours for this semester are as follows:

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8am-12pm, 1pm-3:30pm

Appointment typically last between 10-30 min per session. However, if you feel that you need more time with me, you can book up to two half-hour sessions daily, so up to a 60-minute session.

Though it is not required, please consider dropping off or sending in the assignment you wish to work on during our sessions at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment. That way I can get a head start on reading your work before you come in so our time during sessions will be much more efficient.  You can spend less time wait for a tutor to read your paper and more time learning about what make you a great writer!

The most important thing for students to know is that I am here to help YOU become a better writer. The tutoring process is a collaborative effort, so it is very important to me that you are able to feel comfortable having a conversation about your writing. Therefore, I will work to make our sessions as laid-back as possible so that anytime you have a question, you can always feel free to ask. As I said, the tutor is there for YOU!


I’m happy to make time to visit your classes and help students one-on-one with their writing assignments or to conduct a presentation about a particular topic.

To book time with me, visit our Make An Appointment Page and book a time or if you’d like to book me for multiple periods, you can also shoot me an email at SDAWritingLab@sduhsd.net to sign up!

Teachers can also make appointments for students if they feel they need the extra help by making an appointment or sending an email.


As an added bonus for everyone, I will also be working on building the Writing Lab’s Blog with new posts and new articles about topic and information relevant to writing, analysis, thesis statements, screenplays, and everything in between!

Consider this an extra resource for your work or as something interesting to read in your spare time. I will try to vary the topics as much as possible to keep the blog fresh and exciting!

Students and teachers can check in every week for new posts or can subscribe to our blog if you also have a WordPress account.


If you have any other questions about the Writing Lab or any of the services we offer, please send us an email anytime at SDAWritingLab@sduhsd.net. We will do our best to answer your questions as soon as possible!

With that, all I have left to say is thank you to SDA and the Parent Foundation for making this possible! I am excited about the directions we can take things in the center this year and I look forward to working with students and faculty this school year!

Read. Write. Grow.

-Mr. S.




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