A lesson plan based on “How to write a resume” from the January-February 2003 issue of L.A. Youth, in which Sage offers her advice on resume writing.

By Libby Hartigan, Managing Editor

Grades: 6-12
Subjects: Language arts, life skills
Suggested time allowance: 45 min.-1 hr.

Overview of lesson plan: In this lesson, students learn how to write resumes.

Students will:
1. Define audience.
2. Analyze how language is used to reach different audiences.
3. Write resumes.

Resources and materials:
— pens, paper
— copies of L.A. Youth article “How to write a resume” (one per student)
— blackboard

1. WARM-UP: On the board write: How do you ask for something? Ask students to divide into pairs. Each student has to ask the other student for something in writing–perhaps to borrow a pen or do a favor. The request can be very short–one or two sentences should cover it. Go around the room and ask the students to read what they asked for. What was it like to ask for something?

With the same partner, ask the students to imagine that the other person is an adult–perhaps a teacher, parent or administrator. Each student has to ask the adult for something in writing. Again, go around the room and ask the students to read what they asked for. What was it like to ask for something from an adult?

Have the students compare their two requests. How are they different? Which request do students feel would be most likely to be granted? Discuss.

Many students will naturally use different language when addressing an adult than when addressing a classmate. Listen for good examples of casual and formal language. Have students write these on the board.

Discussion questions: Which type of language is “right” and which is “wrong”? When is formal language appropriate–and what is it’s purpose? Specifically, when students are job-hunting, what kind of language should they use in their cover letters and resumes and why?

The goal of the discussion is to help students feel more comfortable and aware of what it means to be “professional.”

Sage recommends in her article on writing resumes that students should be conservative (for example, copying their resume on white instead of colored paper.) Why does she give that advice?

2. After reading Sage’s tips on resumes, ask students to write their resumes. You might have the class discuss key questions as a group:
–What should I put on my resume if I’ve never had a job? (Honors, achievements, church involvement, sports, club participation are possible answers.)
–Should I include informal jobs such as yard work for a neighbor or babysitting? (Probably, it depends what kind of job you’re applying for.)
–What if I can’t remember exactly when I won an award or was involved in a club? (Trying asking a parent, sibling or friend who might jog your memory. Think about what else was going on at the same time–for example, what grade were you in?)

After writing their resumes, have students trade with another student for feedback and editing. Remind students to use headings to keep the information organized. Sage recommends the headings, Objective, Experience, Skills, Language Abilities, Education and Personal Information. Students can tailor those headings for their own needs.

3. WRAP-UP: Collect the resumes and post them on a board. Students should be proud of their accomplishments. Lead a discussion with the class on what it was like to complete this assignment. Was it nerve-wracking? Tedious? Interesting? Do they feel better prepared for job-hunting?

Evaluation and assessment:
Students will be evaluated based upon their class participation and work.

Extension activity:
Have student apply for jobs in the community and report back to the class on the results of their job-hunting experiences.

Have students write cover letters to go along with their resumes, using a professional modular format.