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“Job-hunting is always mysterious. Sometimes mind-bogglingly mysterious.
You may never understand why things sometimes work, and sometimes do not.”
–Richard Nelson Bolles (1927-2017), Author of “What Color is Your Parachute“
By Samantha Jungheim and Eric H. Roth
How do you help prepare your English students to enter the workforce? How can you introduce authentic texts in your English classroom when teaching resume writing? What career resources can you use to support your English students?
Writing a one-page resume can prove challenging for many non-native speaking students. Condensing experiences onto a single page may seem daunting. What should be included? What should be excluded?
Resume writing requires several specific language skills beyond just self knowledge. For instance, English teachers often introduce and explain professional vocabulary. Action verbs (like this list from the Muse) need particular attention. Verb tenses, previous work experience needs to be written in the past tense. Finally, students want to make a vocabulary shift from vague language to more precise descriptions. How else can we help these English learners?
Quick Tips Include:
- Having students look at Glassdoor to read about their field of interest.
- Tailor a resume for a specific potential employer.
- LinkedIn Premium provides automated resume feedback which is valuable.
- Private university students can often access AI resources from their career centers.
Resume Articles: Authentic, Relevant, & Interesting
Activate your English classroom conversations by having your students read a short article that helps job seekers write better resumes. English teachers may already be looking for authentic reading matters for their students. Why not have students select the text for their own specific field and interest at the same time?
Similar to “Collecting Advice on Writing Professional Emails” (page 6 on the Search and Shares Sample PDF), “Collecting Resume Advice on the Internet” (located at the bottom of this blog post) prompts students to find resume advice from reputable sites for business articles. The Search and Share handout guides readers through the article and helps students clarify their ideas. By the end, students evaluate an article by rating it on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest.
Authentic articles on resume advice teach students new phrases, common collocations, and business vocabulary on professional development. Instead of simply providing a sample resume and template, allow your English students to read an article on resume advice. Incorporate reading skills in your resume writing lesson. Before our students write their own resume, they can read professional advice and share what they have learned in class and on the class LMS.
Reputable Sites of Note:
Some Advice We’ve Seen and Shared:
- Defining yourself using verbs, not nouns (from “What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard Nelson Bolles).
- Don’t forget the impact of AI in sorting out resumes (take a look at this extensive article from Vox).
- Resumes serve different functions, so it is always important to remember your audience, context, and purpose (for example submitting a resume to new people versus in support of a promotion).
- You can create a word cloud of the job post, like our ESL colleagues in their classes (like Richard Jones a co-presenter at TESOL 2019).
Compelling Classroom Conversations
Search and Shares can transform classroom conversations into more informed conversations. English students can refer to their chosen resume article when conversing with a partner or group. Students can exchange recommendations for what to read next, promoting reading with interesting and relevant texts. It’s quite useful to build English students’ resume knowledge based on their specific career interests.
In the past, teachers might have asked students to tell their partner what they liked about a text and hear students stumble to speak beyond a simple “I liked it” or “It was good”. Rather than asking students to “say what you think”, teachers can provide the Search and Share handout to aid students in expansive conversations. Students discuss and share their opinion on a deeper level, including specific vocabulary and strength of evidence.
Questions for Job Search Conversations:
- What writing tips did the article provide?
- Who do you think is the target audience for this article? Why?
- Why did you choose this article?
- What surprised you about the article?
- Did you find any helpful vocabulary or phrases?
- How would you rate the article on a sale of 1-5, 5 being the highest?
Students could find the conversation more meaningful and engaging because they are involved in the process. Instead teachers providing a multitude of worksheets, readings, and resume templates, give students a chance to source some of the information. English students can start formulating their thoughts, opinions, and questions with the Search and Share handout. Help your students prepare for an exciting and unique English class.
Closing Resume Advice
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
― Barack Obama (1961- ), 44th U.S. President
Incorporating resume advice into the English classroom can empower students to “do something” and take steps toward achieving their dreams. Have students read different version of resume advice to master American resume writing and go beyond generic textbook advice. Resumes are a way for students to get a chance to make the argument that they are qualified for a specific position. A successful resume often leads to a desired job interview.
Search and Share Worksheet for Collecting Resume Advice:
Where do you find contemporary resume advice for your students to read? How do English students improve resume writing in your class? What other professional skills do you highlight in you English course?