Preparing to write the 21st-century résumé

Instructors: The Word table at the end of this post is designed to help students complete the below pre-writing tasks. You can assign its completion as homework or as an in-class activity.


Writing your résumé is one of the most fundamental and important tasks you will do throughout your working life. Before you do, take time to understand this important document and read about best practices and résumé conventions in your business communication textbook. You can also visit your campus career center or look at the helpful resources provided by the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Like all good writing, résumés require careful thinking before composing. This activity will help you gather the information you will need to write both a traditional résumé and a technologically enhanced, 21st-century version.

Part 1. Pre-write

Using the table your instructor distributes, list your skills, talents, abilities, and interests in the first column. Skills can be divided into hard skills (tangible, often technical skills that depend on acquired knowledge, such as learning a programming language, operating a machine, or calculating payroll) and soft skills (abilities that include people skills, communication skills, creativity, a positive attitude, and other intangible character traits).

In the second column, list your employment history, including jobs, volunteer work, community service, any achievements, and awards. Write the name and location of the organization, dates you worked, and your title, as well as accomplishments and tasks.

In the last column, list the jobs you aspire to, either in the short term (summer job, internship, volunteer position) or in the long term, or career fields in which you might be interested.

Part 2. Draft a traditional résumé

Use the information you’ve written on the table to create a traditional résumé, dividing it into customary sections (i.e. education, work experience, skill summary, etc.)

Part 3. Create a technologically enhanced résumé

Return to the table you completed and mark every item that could be showcased or illustrated using audio, video, or other technology. For example, musicians could imbed an audio clip into a résumé, writers could link to their written work, and chefs could refer to recipes or imbed a video of a cooking demonstration.

E-Portfolio Pre-Write Table
Skills Table


2 thoughts on “Preparing to write the 21st-century résumé

    1. bizcombuzz

      Josephine, due to a glitch, the two links were run together, appearing as though they were just one link. The table for the e-portfolio and the handout are now separate links. Sorry about the delay, too!!


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