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Lesson Plan

Help Wanted: Writing Professional Resumes

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Help Wanted: Writing Professional Resumes

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Marcea K. Seible

Marcea K. Seible

Waterloo, Iowa


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



In this series of seven class sessions, students will work through the process of creating a professional resume. With a special emphasis on helping students learn about resumes as professional documents, this lesson will discuss why writers create resumes, why they must consider the rhetorical situation of the resume, and why both content and presentation are so important in this type of writing. Students will analyze and critique existing resumes, create their own resume and tailor it to a real job posting, peer review resumes for content and presentation, and then present their resumes as professional documents to the class.

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ReadWriteThink NoteTaker: Students can use this online tool to take notes and organize them into an outline format.

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Creating a resume is one of the first steps students take to prepare them for their future roles as professionals who know how to communicate in multiple contexts. The process of creating a resume asks students to begin envisioning themselves as professionals and calls upon them to understand a new audience for their writing: employers and other business professionals (see Dean 55-61). In her book Genre Theory: Teaching, Writing, Being, NCTE author and consultant Deborah Dean notes the need for educators to help students "understand the need to adapt writing to situations," and the complex tasks involved in responding to a job posting with a professional resume provide such a teaching and learning opportunity (5). As they learn about the dimensions of resumes, including their purpose, format, and language, students gain greater insight into the social dimensions of writing and have the opportunity to explore the "implications of choosing to follow or resist the expectations associated with [various] situations" (7).

Further Reading

Dean, Deborah. Genre Theory: Teaching, Writing, and Being. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2008.

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