Created: June 2017 Last Updated: October 2019
Depending on the time you have allotted for each group meeting, we suggest you engage in “Activity #2” and the “Assignment” in your second group convening.
|Group or individual activity:||Group|
|Ages:||16-18 years old|
|Online / offline elements:||This learning experience includes activities and an assignment that require the use of computers or mobile devices.|
Main area: Digital Economy
Additional areas: Content Production, Context, Digital (Literacy), Identity Exploration and Formation
|License:||This learning experience has been created by Youth and Media and is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionShareAlike 4.0 International license. For more information, please visit http://dcrp.berkman.harvard.edu/about|
Participants will learn about different resume formats and practice writing a resume based on interests, experiences, skills, and goals. Participants will also learn about what a resume and CV are and why they are important for your long-term goals.
[For educator] Computer with Internet access
Projector and projection screen
Flip chart (or poster) [If a board is not available]
[For participants] Computer or mobile device with Internet access
[One per participant] Paper
[One per participant] Pens or pencils
Flowchart: How to Start a Resume — Flowchart - by the Resume Genius team (Resume Genius)
Article: How to Write a Resume in 8 Simple Steps - by LiveCareer
Article: Telling Your Story - by Miami University
Video: How to Write a Resume - by Rachel Ballinger
Activity #1: Starting a Draft
Let’s begin today by each thinking of one of your favorite characters from a movie or TV show you love, whether that might be Harry Potter, The Avengers, or something else. Now, think of a positive quality or skill that this person has. In Harry Potter, this might be Hermione’s steadfast loyalty or in The Avengers, Tony Stark / Iron Man’s determined perseverance.
Then, I want you to think of a time that they demonstrated this skill.
Keeping this in mind, I’d like you to write down three things on a paper I will pass out.
First, what was the background / context of the specific situation where they demonstrated this skill? What was happening in the TV show or movie at that time?
Second, what did they do to show this particular skill? What were the actions they took?
And third, what was the result of their actions? How did it impact what was happening in the TV show or movie? What effect did it have on other characters?
You can think of these three elements as 1) Context, 2) Action, and 3) Results. An easy way to remember this is the acronym “C.A.R.”
You’ll have five minutes to write down the C.A.R. for your favorite character.
[Write these three variables — Context, Action, and Results (C.A.R.), and what they refer to — on a flip chart / poster or board. Pass out a piece of paper and pen or pencil to each participant. Give them five minutes to engage in this exercise.]
Does anyone want to share the C.A.R. example for their selected character?
By providing each of these elements — the context of a situation, the action taken, and the results achieved — we are telling a story, with a beginning (i.e., the context), a middle (i.e., the action), and an end (i.e., the result).
For different opportunities we’re interested in, the C.A.R. method is one helpful tool we can use to showcase our skills and tell our own stories about things we’re good at, whether that might be teamwork, data analysis, or art history.
Think of an opportunity you’re interested in — a volunteering opportunity, a specific university, an internship, or a career pathway — and one skill you have that might be relevant to it. Now, take the next 10 minutes to write your own C.A.R. story on the back of your piece of paper!
[Allow 10 minutes for participants to write their own C.A.R. example.]
Does anyone want to share their C.A.R. story?
Ideally, this short exercise allowed you to start thinking about skills related to opportunities you’re interested in and how you might be able to tell a story around these skills.
Another way we can showcase our achievements and work-relevant experiences and tell our story is by creating a resume or CV (which stands for “curriculum vitae”).
[Please note that the statement below (“A resume is a short summary . . .”) applies to the U.S. In other parts of the world, there are different norms around creating resumes. Beyond the U.S., for instance, there is a more flexible standard for resume page length (i.e., usually about two to four pages). Additionally, in many parts of Europe, the word “CV” is generally used instead of “resume.” A CV in Europe is somewhat similar to a resume in the U.S., though slightly longer (generally, two to three pages). In Europe, some CVs also begin with information such as age, marital status, and nationality. Including this type of information on a U.S. resume is typically uncommon. In Europe, the Europass is a European Union (E.U.) program that seeks to make an individual’s background, qualifications, and skills understood throughout Europe. The Europass CV provides a standardized template of a CV in 29 languages — users can enter their information on the Europass CV website, and the website will generate a CV for them.
Countries also vary in terms of whether it’s acceptable or not to have your picture on your resume or CV. In the U.S., including a picture on your resume or CV is extremely rare, whereas this tends to be common in many countries in Asia, Africa, and South America, as well as in the Middle East. However, norms vary by organization.
On a global scale, there are some helpful good practices to keep in mind when creating a resume:
Including contact details (e.g., one’s email)
Keeping the resume to two pages in length
Including one’s educational background (higher education and secondary school)
Adding bullet points under each work experience, noting responsibilities and accomplishments
Including a section that describes one’s skills and spoken languages (clearly specifying one’s native language)]
A resume is a short summary (typically one to two pages) of your experiences and skills. People typically modify their resume according to the job they are applying for. A CV is a much more detailed record of your career history (usually over two pages, depending on the length of someone’s career) that stays the same as you apply for different jobs.
Has anyone ever created a resume? If so, what was the most fun part? What was the most challenging part?
Have you explored other ways of showcasing your experiences and what you are good at? If so, would you mind sharing some examples with the group?
In addition to a resume and CV, there are also other — more and less comprehensive — ways that can illustrate our work-relevant experiences.
A more comprehensive way might be to curate a digital portfolio. A digital portfolio can be a collection of digital materials (e.g., drawings, pictures, texts, multimedia, blog entries, etc.). Such a collection can not only help illustrate your abilities, but can also be a means to express yourself. An example of an illustration-focused portfolio is that of Youth and Media team member Elsa Brown, http://portfolios.massart.edu/ebrownart.
You could also consider writing a bio. A bio is a short summary (usually not more than a page) of your most important experiences and achievements. Instead of listing set dates for different jobs or specific tasks as part of a job (like a resume and CV do), a bio presents a broad overview of your greatest accomplishments. Bios, which are written in the third person (e.g., “Sara currently works aat . . . ”), often include a photo, previous / current job titles, credentials (e.g., university degrees, online certificates), and awards. Check out some bios at https://cyber.harvard.edu/people, for instance https://cyber.harvard.edu/people/ahasse.
You could also have a simple profile about yourself you can point people to. A profile is a very short summary (about three sentences) of where someone currently goes to school / works, their main project(s), and possibly some of their interests. Like a bio, a profile tends to be written in the third person. See some examples on Youth and Media’s website at http://youthandmedia.org/team/core/.
We’ve now briefly covered different ways you may highlight your background and achievements.
Today, however, we’re going to focus on one specific way — a resume, by having you create your own resume! If you already have a resume, feel free to use it as your starting point.
I’m also going to pass out a helpful resume template you might use as your basis — whether you have an existing resume or are creating one for the first time.
[Pass out the Resume / CV Template Handout (U.S. Resume or Europass CV). There are placeholders in both of these templates where participants would add their address (“Your Address), email (“email@example.com”), and the location of their school. Feel free to adapt these versions based on your / participants’ local / regional context.]
To begin, I’d like you to visit the website “How to Start a Resume — Flowchart.”
[Project the How to Start a Resume — Flowchart website on a projection screen. Please note that this website is in English and is based primarily on a U.S. context. Feel free to show an example aligned with your / participants’ local / regional context. Monster.com, for instance, is a global employment website that offers job search tools and resume / CV advice.]
Then, take about 10 minutes to read through this website.
Using what you learned, begin creating your own resume or modifying your existing one — with a computer or mobile device — using a resume format that fits your ideal job.
If you already have a resume, feel free to pull this up on the computer or your mobile device. If you don’t have access to it at the moment, try to write down or type out your current resume as best you can remember.
As you develop or revise your resume, be sure to include all of your relevant experiences and skills!
Activity #2: Getting Feedback
[Ask each participant to print out two copies of their resume, or make the copies for them.]
Every day, we consider the environment(s) we are in when we decide what to share with others. For instance, maybe we talk in a different way with our teachers or parents / caregivers than we do with our friends. Thinking about the characteristics of our audience is an important way of understanding how to best connect with the people we are trying to reach. While we have a lot of ideas floating around our heads throughout the day, we have to figure out which ones are appropriate to share and with whom. In resume terms, this approach is no different. Though we have probably engaged in a variety of work-relevant activities, it is important to figure out the items that will resonate best with the decision makers reviewing resumes.
Now, we will take a look at the resume draft you each have made (from your own unique point of view) to figure out which aspects work really well and which aspects could be made even more effective / impactful for the resume’s intended audience.
First, at the top of your resume, write down the particular job you have created your resume for. In other words, think: who are you telling your story to? Then, exchange your resume with another participant (i.e., you give your resume to them, and they give their resume to you).
With a computer or mobile device, each of you should then take 10 minutes to look up some of the skills and requirements needed for that particular position. You can do this by using online databases, like LinkedIn, or searching for some combination of “[job title]” + “skills” + “qualifications.”
After your search, take 10 minutes to review your partner’s resume and give constructive feedback. On the back of their resume, write down at least two things that you particularly liked about their resume (e.g., formatting, or the way they highlighted a specific skill) and two things that you also really liked but think could be modified to make the resume even better.
Then, repeat the process by switching partners, searching for the skills and qualifications for your partner’s preferred job, and reviewing their resume.
By the end of this exercise, you should have reviewed two people’s resumes and received input on your resume from two people.
Take a look at the feedback you have gotten from the two other participants. Review and revise your resume as needed.
If you have the chance, show your resume to someone like a teacher, librarian, family member, or a friend. After receiving their feedback, edit your resume to make a final version.
Finally, in a written paragraph, compare the first and second versions of your resume and explain what you learned during the process of revising your resume.