Creating Resume Magic
Students learn how to draft a resume and portfolio by first creating one for Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and then writing one for themselves.
- Grades: 9–12
- Unit Plan:
Students will study the biography of author J.K. Rowling, write her resume, and apply their learning to create their own resume and career portfolio. My students learn about J.K. Rowling for this unit, but any prominent figure or favorite fictional character study would work as well.
The students will:
- Gain knowledge of the social context surrounding J.K. Rowling’s biography using the internet
- Compile information about J.K. Rowling into a resume
- Gather, compile, analyze, and categorize information about personal interests, skills, activities, careers, and achievements in order to create a career-related portfolio
- Record information to be used in the creation of a resume
- Learn appropriate resume techniques
- Interactive whiteboard
- The biography page on J.K. Rowling’s website. You could also use the book Conversations with J.K. Rowling or supplement with Scholastic's J.K. Rowling Author Study.
- Writing Resumes for Fictional Characters
- Several resume and career portfolio samples (some helpful websites include: Indiana University Career Services: Creating a Portfolio and Microsoft Office Online: Resume Templates)
- Portfolio folders or binders with sleeves
- Chart paper (optional)
- Any book from the Harry Potter series (optional)
- Your resume (optional)
Set Up and Prepare
1. Schedule 2-3 days for computer lab time.
2. Print and copy multiple sets of various resume styles and portfolio samples for each student or small group. Prepare your own resume and career portfolio for modeling, if you wish.
3. Have students bring their own three-ring binder or portfolio folder from home. Otherwise, students should make their own folder or scrapbook to hold documents.
4. Write "Resume Requirements" at the top of a piece of chart paper or the whiteboard, followed by these requirements:
- List the job you are seeking, real or imagined.
- List all the work experience you have had: real jobs, household chores, extra jobs at school, volunteering.
- List your education: schools attended, grades, unique classes.
- List your extra-curricular activities: sports, band, chess club, debate team.
- List your recreational activities: surfing, dancing, camping.
- List any awards you have won, honors you have received, or special recognition.
- List your references: two contacts, not related to you, who know about your character, abilities, and work habits.
Days 1-2 (In computer lab)
Step 1: Introduce the lesson by asking students what they know about the Harry Potter series or the author, J.K. Rowling. Hold up any title, if possible. Discuss the excitement that the series has brought to the world of reading. Tell the students that they will be studying J.K. Rowling’s biography on her website.
Step 2: Have students take turns reading aloud the J.K. Rowling biography. Ask students to take note of her education, job history, and special skills and awards.
Step 3: Inform students that they will be thinking about their future careers and learning how to write a resume, complete a job application, and how to perform in a job interview during the course of this unit study. Explain that they will first practice by preparing a resume for J.K. Rowling.
Step 4: Distribute the resume samples. Discuss how resumes function and what they should convey.
Step 5: Introduce the Writing Resumes for Fictional Characters student interactive. Review each of the five tabs, instructing students to follow the suggestions. You may have students choose a fictional character instead of J.K. Rowling if you wish. Make sure to provide appropriate research materials. This activity will require students to focus on their character’s skills, choose an appropriate job for their character, and format the resume. Remind students that J.K. Rowling’s resume would tell a prospective employer who she is, what she has done, and why they should hire her. Of course, some embellishment may be necessary.
Step 6: Allow students time to review J.K. Rowling’s biography, research the necessary information, and draft their resumes.
Step 7: Upon completion, have students follow any resume sample of their choice for publishing, tailoring it to meet the job description. Evaluate the resumes before the next class meeting.
Step 1: Choose a few completed resumes that reveal the important details of J.K. Rowling’s life story in a succinct one-page document and have those students read them aloud. Generate a discussion about the importance of being clear, direct, and concise when writing a resume.
Step 2: Ask students to envision their own resume. What would it say? Would it be similar or different than that of J.K.Rowling’s? What are their job aspirations? Skills? Interests?
Step 3: Now introduce the Resume Requirements list that you created on chart paper or for the whiteboard. Review the necessary information that must be on a resume. Discuss each section, asking students to provide examples from their own lives. Talk about the objective section of a resume and share some examples. Instruct students to free-write their responses to each of the seven sections and include an objective.
Step 4: Instruct students to share their completed drafts with members of the class for review and helpful comments.
Step 5: Share the resume examples once again, asking students to choose a resume layout. Allow students to complete and print their resumes.
Step 1: Explain that a resume should not be the only necessity when they apply and interview for jobs. Share that a career portfolio can help them present their talents in a convincing and fresh manner.
Step 2: Using your own portfolio or online examples, introduce the purpose and components of a career portfolio. This should include artifacts or objects representing personal interests, skills, experience, certification, grades, awards, career interests, references, and a completed resume. Inform them that their homework will be to gather their own documents and artifacts.
Step 3: Using their binders or constructed folders, instruct students to set up their career portfolios in the following way:
First Section: Introduction, table of contents, acknowledgments
Second Section: 5 to 15 samples of artifacts and documents including personal information, education/special skills/recognition, work experience, completed assignments, information on careers, etc.
Third Section: Summary of the portfolio experience, what was learned from the process.
Step 4: Provide time for students to set up their binders and complete any additional documents, title pages, table of contents, and their summary.
Step 5: Instruct students to share their drafts with members of the class for review and helpful comments.
Step 6: Allow students to present their completed career portfolios, including their resumes, with the class.
Supporting All Learners
Allowing students to work with a partner or in groups during this lesson would provide struggling students feedback and resourceful ideas.
Invite a professional resume consultant or the personnel director of your school or local business to evaluate the resumes and offer feedback and suggestions for writing an outstanding resume.
- Create J.K. Rowling resume
- Create personal resume
- Create a career portfolio
Do you need to provide a variety of biographies to study? Did students have adequate artifacts to build their portfolios? Do you need more/less time? How might you do this lesson differently next year?
Evaluate the student resume according to the Resume Requirements Chart. Evaluate the portfolio according to the three sections listed in Days 3-5, Step 3.