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Create a Resume for Yourself

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Resume by Michael Nutt

Just one of many types of resumes.

michaeln3 via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
back to school > desktop publishing lesson plans > resume lesson plans > resume lesson plan #1

Can you put everything about yourself — your life story — on a single sheet of paper? You probably will have to do that at some point in your life. A resumé is a piece of paper that tells a prospective employer who you are, what you've done, and why they should hire you. If you want to get a job, you'll probably need a resumé.

But an employer doesn't need to know absolutely all there is to know about you. They need to know that you have the skills, knowledge, and personality traits needed for a particular job. Can you pick out which of your many skills are most important for different positions? Can you present them in such a way that the prospective employer can quickly and easily evaluate your qualifications?

Task:

Write your own resumé. Put everything you have learned (in school, in extracurricular activities, in volunteer or paid jobs) into a few short paragraphs that would convince a prospective employer to hire you (or convince your teacher to promote you to the next higher grade).

Resources:

The major components of a resumé:

Checklist:

Many of the items in this list are optional. You must decide which ones are appropriate for your resumé.
  • Your Name.
  • Address.
  • Phone Number.
  • Fax Number.
  • Email Address.
  • Web Page and/or Social Media Address (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
  • Job Objective or Career Goal.
  • Education.
  • Employment History.
  • Professional Societies and Organizations.
  • Personal Data (if pertinent to job).
  • Hobbies and leisure Activities.
  • Military Service.
  • Personal History.
  • Biography (of business owner, key members of organization, officers, etc.).

Miscellaneous Tips: Some may not apply to all resumé formats or styles.

  • Generally start with work history unless you have none, then start with educational background.
  • Start with present or most recent experience (job or education) and work back.
  • Don't write in the third person but don't overuse "I".
  • Include dates.
  • Keep personal data to the minimum.
  • Do not include your age.
  • If hobbies or leisure activities enhance your image, consider using them. If they can be directly tied into your job objective, do use them.
  • Do not include personal references directly in the resumé.
  • Do not tell why you left previous jobs (that discussion, if pertinent, is best covered in the job interview).
  • Do not discuss salary in the resumé.
  • Be honest.
  • Brief is best. Try to keep your resumé to one page (front only) and not too crowded.
  • Leave adequate margins (space around the edges).
  • Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
  • Make the resumé pleasing to look at but don't let it become so elaborate that its appearance overshadows the content.

Design Tips:

With very few exceptions, stick with one — no more than two — fonts. Use highly readable fonts. This is not the time to show off all the cute characters you have at your disposal. Let the message shine through. Use no clip art or graphics other than simple bullets for lists or unobtrusive rule lines to separate sections, if desired. Keep it all on one page if at all possible, two if absolutely necessary. Brochure-formatted resumés are not completely uncommon but for most jobs a standard letter size, portrait-oriented format is best.

Steps:

  1. First, decide what kind of job you seek. It could be a real job that interests you or simply the job of reaching the next grade level in school.

  2. Write down everything you can think of about yourself. List every job you've ever done (real jobs, household chores, extra jobs at school such as hall monitor, line leader, or crossing guard). List your education — schools, grades, special classes (such as a basket weaving class or a karate class). List your extracurricular school activites (football, band, chess club, debate team). List your activities outside of school (camping, skateboarding, raising chickens). List any awards you've won, honors you have received, or special recognition.

  3. Research resumé writing. Use the materials provided in the classroom or from other sources to gather more details about the different types of resumés. Choose one or more formats that you feel will work for you.

  4. Look at sample resumés you or your class have collected. Identify those that have a style or format you might like to imitate or borrow. See how much detail each type of résumé includes.

  5. Using the Checklist (above), list the major components of the resumé. Mark out any components you wish to omit from your resumé. Arrange your personal information in chronological, functional, or other appropriate form.

  6. Write an objective for the resumé (based on #1 above). Even if you do not plan to use a Job Objective in the resumé it will help you decide what information is needed and what can be safely omitted based on what you hope to achieve.

  7. Sketch out some rough ideas of how you want the resumé to look. Try out different formats to fit your text. Edit your text to fit your layout. Experiment.

  8. Using the page layout software available to you, transfer your rough sketches to the computer. Your software may have templates or wizards that will provide you with even more ideas.

  9. Print your final design.

Evaluation:

Your teacher will use the criteria listed in the Checklist to see how well you have presented yourself and your experience. Be prepared to explain why you made certain choices concerning your job objective, how you chose your format, and why you used certain words and phrases to describe your experience. Your teacher may enlist the assistance of a professional resumé consultant or personnel director to evaluate your resumé.

Conclusion:

"A good resumé predicts how you might perform in that desired future job." — Yana Parker, author of Resumé Pro: The Professional's Guide

Describing yourself is not as easy as you might think. Writing your resumé helps you to see yourself and your personal experience in new ways. Certain parts of your education or skills take on a different level of importance when you attempt to use that education or skills to support your stated job objective. A properly researched and written resumé not only helps to show prospective employers (or teachers) how you might perform at a new job but it also helps you see your own strengths more clearly.

Note to the Teacher:

In evaluating the resumes, you may want to enlist the aid of a professional resumé consultant or the personnel director of your school district or of a local business. In the case of Vocational Training/Studies, this lesson could be evaluated in connection with real or mock job interviews conducted in or out of the classroom. For younger students writing a "resumé to get promoted to the next grade level" you might enlist the aid of students and teachers from the next higher grade to provide feedback to your students. For younger students you may want to prepare a "fill-in-the-blank" form for the required information or for the resumé itself.

Download lesson plans in *.doc format

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