Standard Lesson

Preparing a Character for a New Job: Character Analysis through Job Placement

9 - 12
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Four 50-minute sessions
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In this lesson, students find a job for a character in a text they have read, prepare a resume for their character, and help them prepare for a job interview. Students first identify characteristics of effective resumes. After exploring an online introduction to writing a resume for a character, students search job ads for jobs that would be appropriate for a specific character from a text they have read. They then analyze that character, looking for direct and implied information about the character and textual evidence of the character's strengths and weaknesses. They work in small groups to write a resume for their character, based on their analysis. Finally, they explore interviewing tips and techniques and write ten job interview questions and accompanying answers designed to highlight the character's strengths.

Though the examples in this lesson focus on The Glass Menagerie, many other pieces of literature can be used.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

In her English Journal article, "‘Walk with Light': Guiding Students through the Conventions of Literary Analysis," Judith Burdan explains that "For many students, literary analysis is primarily a means by which their teachers demarcate the gap between the students' naïve or inept readings of literature and their own, more sophisticated ones, and students are not reluctant to point out their sense of vulnerability" (23). This lesson plan challenges students to move beyond this understanding of literary analysis to engage in a sophisticated transaction with the texts they read. As students search for details in the text and match the character's personality to potential jobs, they engage in deep textual readings. Teachers not only test student knowledge of plot and character descriptions but also have students learn the important skill of resume preparation and polishing, which will benefit them in their job or college application process.

Further Reading

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).




  • Before this lesson, students will read a book independently, in literature circles, or as a whole class. Students should be familiar with the plot and the major themes of the literary work. The examples in this lesson focus on The Glass Menagerie; however, many other pieces of literature will also work for this classroom activity. Other dramas that would work well, for instance, include A Streetcar Named Desire, The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, and Our Town.

  • Ask students to bring copies of the books that will be the focus of their project to class for reference.

  • Make copies of the Assignment, Resume Writing Tips, Resume Checklist, and Rubric.

  • Test the resume and job search Websites on your computer so that you can be familiar with problems or concerns students may have when constructing their resumes.

  • Test Drama Map and the Writing Resumes for Fictional Characters presentation on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • identify basic facts and main ideas in a text and use them as the basis of analysis.

  • apply direct and indirect information about a character, noting the context of the reference and the reliability of the speaker.

  • compile disparate and/or unconnected information about the chosen character into a coherent format (the resume and interview questions).

  • learn appropriate resume techniques.

  • use knowledge of standard English conventions in their writing, revising, and editing.

  • (optional) examine the way that word choice affects meaning by focusing on using strong, active verbs to describe the character's experience.

Session One

  1. Pass out the Assignment and Rubric, and explain to students that they will be preparing a resume and interview questions for one of the characters in a literary reading. For instance, for the play, the Glass Menagerie, students might create resumes for Laura Wingfield or for Tom Wingfield. If desired, use the customized version of the assignment focusing on Laura Wingfield to talk about how students can think through the activity for the characters that they have chosen.

  2. Discuss resumes, perhaps using some of online templates as guides. Be sure to cover questions such as the following:

    • What is a resume?

    • Why are resumes used?

    • What information does a resume convey?
  3. Use the Writing Resumes for Fictional Characters presentation to introduce the ideas for character resumes.

  4. Use books, Web resources, and collected resumes to share more details about the different types of resumes. If desired, go over the components of a resume in more detail, using the Online Workshop: Resume, from Purdue OWL. Invite students to explore the sites further on their own. The resources include sample resumes. Additional sample resumes are available at the sites listed in the Resources section.

  5. Give students time to look at sample resumes you or your class has collected. Ask them to identify those that have a style or format you might like to imitate or borrow. See how much detail each type of resume includes.

  6. Explore online classified ads to consider job opportunities. Be sure to consider how the jobs would be different in the setting of your novel.

  7. Distribute the Resume Writing Tips handout to review what to include and what not to include.

  8. Arrange students in small groups to complete the activity. Alternatively, students can complete this activity individually.

  9. Have students choose a character to investigate and jot down preliminary notes they can recall about their characters in their groups.

Session Two

  1. Review the Assignment and Rubric, answering any questions that students have about the project.

  2. Discuss the difference between direct and implied information presented in literature. To provide an example without exploring a character that students are using for their projects, you might talk about what is directly stated about the setting of a play and what is implied by the characters' comments and the stage directions. For Laura Wingfield, discuss the differences among these examples:

    • Amanda, having failed to establish contact with reality, continues to live vitally in her illusions, but Laura's situation is even graver. A childhood illness has left her crippled, one leg slightly shorter than the other, and held in a brace. . . . Stemming from this, Laura's separation increases till she is like a piece of her own glass collection, to exquisitely fragile to move from the shelf. (Character Descriptions, 394)

    • "I wonder," she said,"if you could be talking about that terribly shy little girl who dropped out of school after only a few days' attendance?" (Amanda reporting on a conversation with Laura's typing instructor, 407)

    • And she said, "No-I remember her perfectly now. Her hands shooks so that she couldn't hit the right keys! The first time we gave a speed-teest, she broke down completely-was sick at the stomach and almost had to be carried into the wash-room!" (Amanda reporting on a conversation with Laura's typing instructor, 407)

    • It was the lesser of two evils, Mother. I couldn't go back up. I-threw up-on the floor! (Laura to Amanda, 408)
  3. Have students return to their small groups from the previous session.

  4. Ask students to return to text and search for specific literary evidence from the text on the characters they have chosen. For example, students analyzing Laura Wingfield from The Glass Menagerie would return to the first two scenes of the play and look for specific details and search for details on the character. They would discuss Laura's interests and how they are communicated in the scene.

  5. Next, ask students to search for the strengths and weaknesses of their character and to note how they have identified the qualities. Laura Wingfield, for instance, has no work experience and is painfully shy (weaknesses); but she does have a strong will and can be determined (strengths).

  6. Ask students to use the Drama Map to fully understand the character of Laura Wingfield.

  7. Ask students to identify possible career choices for their characters by consulting such resources as the Purdue OWL Job Skills Checklist, O*Net Online, and USAJobs and other job search Websites listed in the Resources section. You may also use such library resources as the Worker Trait Group Guide, Chronicle Guidance Occupational Library, Career Discovery Encyclopedia, OCCU-FACTS, and so forth. Career exploration can continue as homework if desired. By the beginning of the next session, students should have identified the careers for their characters.

Session Three

  1. Answer any questions about the character analysis from the previous session or the Assignment and Rubric.

  2. Write an objective for the resume, based on information gathered about the character in previous session. Even if students do not plan to use a Job Objective in their resumes, this step will help them decide what information is needed and what can be safely omitted.

  3. Distribute the Resume Checklist. Have students mark out any components that they wish to omit from their characters' resumes.

  4. Explain that during this session, students will arrange the character's resume information in chronological order, functional format, or another appropriate form.

  5. Have plenty of sample resumes on hand for students to consult as they work (either printed copies or links to the sample Websites listed in the Resources section). Encourage students to try out different formats to fit their texts.

  6. Remind students to be sure that any names, dates, or places connect to the plot and setting of the literary piece.

  7. Type final versions of the two documents using a word processor. Alternately, you have studednts continue work on their drafts for homework, asking them to submit their work at the beginning of the next session.

  8. By the end of the session, groups should have a finished resume for their character. You can collect a copy of the document at this point or ask them to hold the piece until they have the second part of the assignment complete.

  9. As groups work during this session, circulate through the class, providing feedback and support as appropriate.

Session Four

  1. Review the next part of the Assignment, which requires students to create ten questions that a potential employer might ask someone applying for a job and then formulate appropriate answers for the characters that they have chosen. Their goal is to help the character through the interview.

  2. Share information on job interviews from the following resources. You might lead students through one or more of the sites, or simply make the sites available for the groups to explore independently:

  3. After students have had an opportunity to explore the available resources, ask them to brainstorm sample questions that may take place in an interview session. For example, an interviewer might ask, "What do you think your strengths are? What would you say your weaknesses are?"

  4. Once a list of general questions has been gathered, have students discuss how the character that they have chosen would respond to these questions. If desired, work through an example question and answer for the class as a whole before groups begin their task.

  5. Remind students to choose ten questions and suggest ten related answers that the character might use. The goal is to prepare the character for potential questions in an interview.

  6. Collect questions and answers, and, if applicable, character resumes at the end of the session.


  • Expand on students' focus on a particular character by having them write a character diary entry from their adopted character's point of view. You might ask students to write the entry for the day before the job interview or the evening after the interview. Alternately, you can use a diary prompt from Traci's Lists of Ten, or let students make up their own topics.

  • Based on student need and experience, you might add a mini-lesson that will help students strengthen their word choice. The Purdue OWL resource Some Action Words to Describe Skills in Resumes provides a great list of strong, action verbs that are appropriate for resumes. Demonstrate the process of revising for stronger word choice, using the list and modeling how to use the dictionary and thesaurus as necessary. Divide students into small groups, and challenge them to add at least three action words to each character resume. Students can revise and submit their documents at the end of class or the beginning of the next session.

Student Assessment / Reflections


  • Informal feedback can come from students who respond to the character resumes and then search out the related book is excellent feedback for students. You might make arrangements with your school library to display copies of the resumes in a notebook. Students looking for something to read can then browse through the notebook for suggestions.

  • Interview students, asking them to explain why certain choices were made concerning the job objective, format choices, word choice, and voice. Questions such as the following can guide your feedback on the resume and interview questions:

    • Does the student fully understand the character? What evidence in the documents shows the student’s level of understanding?

    • Does the resume highlight the character’s strengths? Would it help the character find an appropriate job?

    • Would the character enjoy and excel in the job that the group chose?

    • Are the interview questions and answers appropriate? Do they reflect the interaction that would take place in a real interview?

    • Do the interview questions help the character prepare for difficult questions?

  • For more formal assessment, use the Resume Checklist or the Client Preparation Rubric.