Charlene Brown
  Employability, History, Life skills, Resumes -- personal, Technology, Writing skills

Learner Level:
  This lesson is designed for multi-level learners. Lower level learners may need more assistance from the instructor and other learners than learners with higher level skills.

Time Frame:
  2 hours

Learner Grouping:
  Individual, Whole class, Self-directed student work

  Participants are in a workplace education class.

  Not available

  Jefferson County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education

Type of Program:
  Workplace education

Student Population Served:
  Basic skills (grade levels 5-8.9)

Creating an effective resume

Participants learn to assess their skills and document their employment history through the preparation of a resume. __________________________________________________________

Learning Objective:
Participants will be able to assess their current skills and abilities. Participants will prepare an effective resume.

Primary Skill:
Convey ideas in writing

Secondary Skills:
Personal qualities

Learner Needs & Goals:
Frequently employees wish to upgrade or change jobs. In order to obtain most jobs, the employee must present his qualifications in the best possible way. The resume is an accepted and expected way to inform prospective employers of an applicant's skills and qualifications. The preparation of a resume is also a valuable tool for helping an employee to inventory his strengths and weaknesses.

Learning Activity Description:
1. Open the lesson by offering a reward to any participant who qualifies for the award. Tell participants that they must convince you that they are the most deserving by stating their qualifications. The instructor then explains that the awarding of positions works in much the same way. A resume is one tool that is used to offer a summary of one's qualifications.

2. Distribute copies of various resume formats. Lead the class in a discussion of the pros and cons of each layout and discuss the importance of selecting the format that is best suited to the job or company to which one is applying.

3. Distribute a personal skills worksheet on which each participant answers a series of questions about special training, skills, previous work history, salary history, and references. Point out that a resume is more than a sheet of paper--it is a history of the applicant. Tell them that a resume is built just as a building is because they both begin with a strong foundation. The foundation for a good resume consists of training and work experience. Ask participants to list all the experience and training that appears on their worksheet. (This sheet is only for brainstorming to help isolate the pertinent items to list on the resume.) Stress to participants that they should list everything they can think of.

4. Divide the class into groups. Distribute newspapers, magazines, professional journals, and/or job vacancy postings to each table. Tell participants to select a job for which they would like to apply. If participants do not have a desire to actually apply for a job, they should select a job similar to the one they currently hold, but at one level higher. Participants should then list everything they know about the job qualifications for the job they have chosen. They may need to do some research from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles or call the advertising company.

5. Have participants choose one of the resume formats from the sample packet and prepare a handwritten copy of their resumes. After the resumes are written, lead the participants in preparing a checklist of the attributes of a well-written resume. Write the checklist on the board. Some of the attributes might include the following: the resume must be concise; the resume must pertain to the job requested; the resume must contain a work history; and, a resume must have the applicant's address and phone number.

6. Ask the participants to evaluate their resumes by using the checklist criteria and make revisions. The participants may type their resumes. While one group types their resumes, the instructor may wish to work with participants to set training goals for themselves. This lesson should lead participants to make a career plan for their future.

Materials and Resources:

  • PBS Literacy/Link Workplace Essential Skills Series video titled Resumes, Tests, and Choices available through KET, The Kentucky Network - Enterprise Division, 560 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502-2200, phone (800) 354-9067.
  • Samples of resumes in differing formats
  • Newspapers, professional journals or magazines, and job vacancy postings from the workplace
  • Blackboard/Markerboard and chalk/markers
  • Computers
  • Dictionary of Occupational Titles or other career exploration resources


The participants together with the instructor will evaluate their own completed resumes using the checklist criteria.

I would prepare a lesson on doing research about careers to precede this one. I would also allow more time for participants to plan for future training and career development.


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