Students develop their own career portfolio as they practice writing resumes (one for an author or character and one for themselves), complete job applications, and participate in mock interviews.
- 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
- Research materials about J.K. Rowling or your chosen author. For J.K. Rowling, I recommend using:
- Several resume and career portfolio samples
- Portfolio folders or binders with sleeves (students can bring their own)
- Whiteboard or chart paper and markers
- Writing Resumes for Fictional Characters online interactive
- Computers for student use
- Computer and projector
- Writing paper
- Optional: Your own resume
- Optional: Any book from the Harry Potter series
- If necessary, schedule 2–3 days for computer lab time.
- If you are planning to use an author other than J.K. Rowling, make sure you have multiple resources for students to read during the research portion.
- Print and copy multiple sets of various resume styles and portfolio samples for each student or small group. You can find samples online, like Indiana University Career Services: Creating a Portfolio and Microsoft Office Online: Resume Templates, or prepare your own resume and career portfolio for modeling.
- Either have students bring their own three-ring binder or portfolio folder from home or set aside materials and time for students to make their own folder or scrapbook to hold documents.
- For Part II, write "Resume Requirements" at the top of a piece of chart paper or the whiteboard followed by these requirements:
- Section 1: List the job you are seeking, real or imagined
- Section 2: List all the work experience you have had: real jobs, household chores, extra jobs at school, volunteering, etc.
- Section 3: List your education: schools attended, grades, unique classes
- Section 4: List your extra-curricular activities: sports, band, chess club, debate team, etc.
- Section 5: List your recreational activities: surfing, dancing, camping, etc.
- Section 6: List any awards you have won, honors you have received, or special recognitions
- Section 7: List your references: two contacts, not related to you, who know about your character, abilities, and work habits
Part I: Researching the Author
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.
Step 2: Have students take turns reading Scholastic's Author Page for J.K. Rowling, Biography page from J.K. Rowling's website, Conversations With J.K. Rowling by Lindsey Fraser, or other materials about J.K. Rowling. Ask students to take notes about 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 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: Project and introduce the Writing Resumes for Fictional Characters online interactive. Review each of the five tabs with students. If you wish, give students the option to choose a fictional character instead of J.K. Rowling for this assignment.
Step 6: Explain the requirements of the assignment: Students should focus on J.K. Rowling's/their chosen character's skills; choose an appropriate job; and format the resume. Remind students that the resume should tell a prospective employer who J.K. Rowling/the character is, what she has done, and why they should hire her. Of course, some embellishment may be necessary for this assignment.
Step 7: Allow students time to review J.K. Rowling’s biography, research the necessary information, and draft their resumes.
Step 8: Upon completion, have students follow any resume sample of their choice to format their draft resume for publishing, tailoring it to meet the job description.
Step 9: Collect the resumes and evaluate before the next class meeting.
Part II: Writing Your Own Resume
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. 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 the whiteboard. Review the necessary information that must be on a resume. Discuss each section of a resume, asking students to provide examples from their own lives. Talk about the objective section of a resume and share some examples.
Step 4: Instruct students to free-write their responses to each of the seven sections and include an objective.
- Section 1: List the job you are seeking
- Section 2: List your work experience
- Section 3: List your education
- Section 4: List your extra-curricular activities
- Section 5: List your recreational activities
- Section 6: List any awards, honors, or recognitions
- Section 7: List your references
Step 5: Have students share their completed drafts with one or more members of the class for review and helpful comments.
Step 6: Share the resume examples once again and ask students to choose a resume layout. Allow students to type up, format, and print their resumes.
Part III: Compiling Career Portfolios
Step 1: Explain that a resume is not the only material students should have on hand 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 students that their homework will be to gather their own documents and artifacts.
Step 3: Using 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: 5–15 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, such as title pages, a table of contents, and their summary.
Step 5: Have students share their draft portfolios with members of the class for review and helpful comments. Provide time for students to make any changes.
Step 6: Allow students to present their completed career portfolios, including their resumes, to the class.
Supporting All Learners
Allowing students to work with a partner or in groups during this lesson would provide struggling students with feedback and resourceful ideas.
Invite a professional resume consultant or the personnel director of your school or a local business to evaluate students' resumes and offer feedback and suggestions for writing an outstanding resume.
- Create a mock resume for an author
- Create a personal resume
- Create a career portfolio
- Did you provide a variety of biographies to study?
- Did students have adequate artifacts to build their portfolios?
- Did you need more or less time to complete the lesson?
- How might you do this lesson differently next year?
- Evaluate student resumes according to the Resume Requirements chart.
- Evaluate student career portfolios according to the three sections listed in Part III, Step 3.