Top Jobs You Can Get With A High School Diploma

High school graduates of 2020 are facing a job market unlike any in recent years. With many experienced workers facing job loss due to the global pandemic, high school graduates are left wondering if they can find a job in an increasingly competitive market. Do not despair! There is a great need around the U.S. for young, enthusiastic workers who are ready to start their careers.

While it may seem as simple as filling out some job applications, there is a strategy to finding high paying jobs with a high school diploma. First, you must identify the industries most in need of employees with high school diplomas. Booming industries may pay higher wages than companies who are not in as dire of a need for workers. By researching different industries you may find a job you never thought of before, that is perfect for your interests or skills!

Next, you need to create or edit your resume to fit the specific requirements of the job you are applying for. When you tailor your resume to the details of a job posting, you improve your chances of getting past software that many companies use to vet qualified applicants. 

To help you get started we’ve identified the best jobs for high school graduates and created tips for starting or improving your resume. Here’s a look at some of the most in-demand industries of 2020, all with exciting jobs for high school graduates.

healthcare jobs

Healthcare and Hospital Jobs

Healthcare and hospital jobs are highly sought after because they tend to have good pay, job security, and they provide fulfilling work for those who want to make a difference in the lives of others. The need for qualified healthcare workers continues to soar, and there are ample opportunities to find healthcare and hospital jobs with a high school diploma. 

Consider these rewarding careers:

Caregiver

Job description: Caregivers are entrusted with the care of clients who are injured, disabled, elderly, or otherwise unable to care for themselves. In this role you may assist clients with taking medication, getting in or out of bed, bathing and personal hygiene care, light housekeeping, running errands or taking clients to doctor appointments, and other daily activities that your client needs help with. You may be a perfect candidate for a caregiver job if you are passionate, kind, patient and trustworthy. 

Average pay: Caregivers earn an average of $11.30 an hour.

Where to look for available jobs: Start your job search at Google by searching “caregiver jobs near me.” You can also look for opportunities at care.com

Medical assistant

Job description: Medical assistants work in doctors offices and hospitals and are trusted with many administrative tasks, such as answering phones, processing patient insurance, scheduling appointments, handling patient billing, and other duties that are critical to the day to day functions of a medical office. While many employers require certification as a medical assistant, there are plenty of opportunities to “get your foot in the door” without any additional training. 

Average pay: Medical assistants make an average of $15.13 an hour.

Where to look for available jobs: Focus your search on job sites such as ZipRecruiter and Indeed. You may also want to browse the career pages of your local hospitals and medical buildings, to see if opportunities are available.

Certified nursing assistant

Job description: Certified nursing assistants, commonly referred to as CNAs or nurse assistants, provide healthcare services to patients in hospitals, at home, or in other medical environments under the direction of a registered nurse. Because CNAs must be licensed/certified, they can perform more advanced tasks than caregivers, such as evaluating patient condition, observing symptoms, taking patient blood pressure and vital signs, and other responsibilities.

Average pay: CNAs earn an average of $12.67 an hour.

Where to look for available jobs:  Hospitals are one of the largest employers of certified nursing assistants. Use Google to search for “hospitals near me” and locate their job/careers page to explore opportunities. You can also search for “CNA recruitment agencies” in your area. 

Psychiatric aide

Job description: Psychiatric aides, sometimes referred to as psychiatric technicians or mental health technicians, provide intensive care for patients who have mental illness or developmental disabilities. Daily duties may include monitoring vital signs, helping patients dress, bathe or eat, and at times restraining patients. To succeed in this job you must be compassionate, patient, physically strong enough to maneuver patients of many sizes or weights, and you will need to undergo training or certification.

Average pay: Psychiatric aides earn an average salary of $28,816 per year.

Where to look for available jobs: Start your search at iHireMentalHealth, one of the leading job search engines for jobs in the mental health field.

Office Jobs

The traditional 9-5 office job may be heading more toward remote or virtual job opportunities, but the day to day functions of a business remain the same. Small business owners and offices around the country need detail-oriented and energetic employees to greet customers, handle multi-line phone systems, process mail & correspondence, and perform many other administrative office duties.

High school graduates may be excited to learn that there are many opportunities to obtain rewarding office jobs with a high school diploma.

Customer support representative

Job description: Customer support representatives exist in almost every industry and job responsibilities will vary depending on each employer. Even so, there are some core duties including answering customer questions about products or services you provide, processing orders, and resolving customer complaints or escalating them to a higher level in the company. Customer support representatives are committed to ensuring customer satisfaction and providing excellent service. Customer support representatives must have great communication skills, practice patience, and be able to handle large volumes of calls and customer needs.

Average pay: Customer support representatives earn an average wage of $14.84 per hour.

Where to look for available jobs: Browse job sites such as Indeed to find opportunities near you, or if there is a company in your area that you would like to work for (such as Amazon), visit their website to explore job opportunities.

Administrative assistant

Job description: Administrative assistants are key in ensuring offices run smoothly. Duties often include answering phones, greeting visitors, preparing meeting agendas or other administrative documents, creating presentations for executives, and other tasks that are integral to daily office operations. People employed in this role must have a high degree of proficiency in common office software for PCs and Apple computers, an upbeat personality, and the ability to manage shifting priorities without becoming overwhelmed.

Average pay: Administrative assistants earn an average of $15.78 an hour.

Where to look for available jobs: Start your search at job sites like SimplyHired or ZipRecruiter to find available positions near you. These sites are also great for finding remote or work from home administrative assistant jobs!

Data entry clerk

Job description: Data entry clerks are tasked with maintaining databases by entering or updating customer account information. Nearly every industry needs data entry clerks to help maintain and protect confidential information. Data entry clerks also review existing database entries to check for accuracy or incompatibility. People in this position should be proficient in using computers and quick to learn new software programs. A high level of attention to detail is a core requirement of this job.

Average pay: Data entry clerks are paid an average of $13.43 an hour.

Where to look for available jobs: Search Google for positions near you by searching the term “data entry clerk jobs” or “data entry specialist jobs.” You’ll be presented with a list of local or remote opportunities.

truck driving jobs

Logistics and Truck Driving Jobs

If you’re looking for a job with a high degree of job security and plenty of opportunity to earn a great wage, consider a career in logistics or trucking. Few careers are as critical to the health of the economy as trucking, order fulfillment and other logistic operations. People in these industries help commerce move across the country and around the globe, from commercial trucking all the way to order fulfillment for retail customers. 

Local truck driver (sometimes called light truck drivers)

Job description: Local truck drivers transport or deliver goods at a local level (e.g. within short distances). Local truck drivers often deliver directly to customers or carry light cargo from a warehouse to a local store or destination. Drivers are also tasked with inspecting and maintaining their vehicles for safety. This is a great job for people who like to be on the road, but who don’t want to be away from home for extended periods of time. To be successful in this job, you will need to be able to lift heavy cargo and possess great physical stamina. 

Average pay: Local truckers earn an average of $51,355 a year.

Where to look for available jobs: There’s a high chance that most companies in your area rely on local truck drivers for delivering or receiving goods. Start your search on Indeed to see the different industries and companies hiring local truck drivers in your area.

Long haul driver

Job description: Long haul truck drivers transport goods and materials across great distances, typically across the country. In addition to operating a large vehicle, long haul truck drivers need to inspect and maintain their trucks to ensure they can safely meet delivery schedules on time. Long haul truck drivers are required to have a CDL (commercial driver’s license). Click here to find a CDL school near you. This job is great for people who want to see new places, and who are not put off by schedules that keep them away from home for what can be weeks at a time.

Average pay: Long haul truck drivers earn an average of $64,210 a year. Earning potential can be greater if the driver owns their own truck and offers trucking services on a per-contract basis.

Where to look for available jobs: There are tons of long haul trucking jobs available across the country, from large corporations to smaller businesses. To get started consider browsing opportunities at some of the larger trucking companies such as Schneider, FedEx, and Swift.

Order fulfillment specialist/order filler

Job description: Order fulfillment careers come in a variety of job titles including “logistics team member” “order fulfillment representative” and “order fulfillment specialist.” Order fulfillment workers perform a number of tasks including warehouse or in-store inventory management and stocking, and pulling & preparing orders for shipment, delivery or pickup. Other duties may be assigned based on the warehouse or company’s specific needs. 

Average pay: Order fulfillment specialists earn an average of $22.16 an hour. 

Where to look for available jobs: Large retailers such as Amazon, Costco and Walmart have many opportunities for job seekers. If working for a large distribution center isn’t your style, you can also search “order fulfillment jobs near me” on Google to find smaller, more local companies.

resume writing tips

Creating a Resume With Little or No Work Experience

Before you set out on your job hunt you will want to start building or applying some finishing polish to your resume. Sometimes considered a dated tradition, resumes are still a requirement for most jobs because it is a quick way for employers to assess your communication and critical thinking skills. A resume that is free of typos & grammatical errors, and that speaks specifically to what you can bring to a job, will help set you apart from the competition.

You may feel unsure of what to include in your resume because you may not have any prior job experience. Don’t worry! There are plenty of skills and achievements that you earned in high school that you can showcase to potential employers.

First, take a critical look at the activities, clubs and classes you took in high school. You may have even held a volunteer or part time job. Make a list of anything you were actively involved in, such as:

  • Babysitting
  • Pet sitting
  • Church functions 
  • Sports
  • Academic clubs
  • Gig jobs (delivery services, lawn mowing, freelance/commission art)
  • Popular Youtube, TikTok or other social channels you manage and produce content for

All of these are examples of “soft skills” that are helpful to employers. Soft skills are skills that are not easily measurable, such as being “a good listener” or “confident at speaking in front of others.” 

Caring for a child or pet shows responsibility and trust. Church functions and sports activities show a willingness to work on a team and know when to lead or when to follow. If you create work-appropriate and popular social media content, you can use your success to highlight your ability to manage your own brand and the pressures that come with it. These are just a few of the soft skills you may identify with that you can include on your resume. 

“Hard skills” are measurable skills that point to specific outcomes or abilities, such as:

  • Proficiency at using Microsoft Excel
  • Amount of words per minute you can type
  • Knowledge of art or code editors

When explaining your hard skills be sure to point to specific measurements of proficiency, such as “90% accuracy when typing 80 words per minute.” If you know you are an expert at Microsoft Excel but only possess a beginner skill set at Microsoft Access, focus primarily on the skills you have the greatest amount of experience with, and those that align with the functions and responsibilities of the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a job at a car wash it may not make sense to include information about your typing skills.

Once you have created a list of your achievements, experience and skills, it’s time to start formatting them into a formal resume. Be sure to read our How To Find a Job article for more in-depth information regarding how to write a resume that speaks to your skills and how they relate to the job you are applying for.

You can even run your resume through free resume scoring websites such as RezScore.com to see how your resume stands up against industry standards.

Before submitting your resume and job application make sure you are using an email address that looks professional. You may need to create a new email address that consists of your first and last name, or close variation that includes your city or other identifying trait. You want to avoid sending formal job correspondence through an unprofessional address like “TikTokAndPuppiesRock@.”
Remember: just because you’re joining the workforce doesn’t mean you have to leave your memories in the past!

Find your high school and create a profile at AlumniClass.com to keep in touch with classmates and find out where they’ve ended up.

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