Category Archives: 4. Classroom Exercises

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

 

Making the Right Match: Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Exercise

Instructors: Download this exercise and the solutions at the end of this post.

 

When a pronoun is used to refer to a noun, the noun is called an antecedent. Pronouns agree with antecedents when both are singular or plural.

Singular:           The student turned in her paper.                                                                                                   Student, a singular antecedent, agrees with her, a singular pronoun.

Plural:              The students turned in their papers.                                                                        Students, a plural antecedent, agrees with their, a plural pronoun.

To match antecedents to nouns, first determine which antecedent a pronoun refers to. Then make sure both pronoun and antecedent are singular or plural. In the case of collective nouns such as jury,class, or audience,consider the noun singular as long as the group acts as a unit.

Because today’s usage prefers gender-agnostic writing, good writers avoid using hewhen the antecedent could be either male or female. Likewise, using he/sheas a singular pronoun is frowned upon because it’s a clunky construction. Sentences with faulty pronoun-antecedent agreement are best corrected by changing a singular antecedent to a plural. This means that in some cases, sentences work better when they are rewritten to avoid agreement problems.

Instructions: Underline the pronouns and their antecedents. Then rewrite the sentence so pronoun and antecedent agree. If the sentence is correct, mark a “C” next to it.

  1. If someone smokes, they are at risk for contracting lung cancer.
  2. Every dog owner likes to think their dog is the smartest.
  3. The jury reached their decision after deliberating only one hour.
  4. Whenever a professor gives a lecture, he should prepare ahead of time.
  5. Gardeners frequently use their own trucks.
  6. A contractor who never arrives on time leaves their clients unhappy.
  7. When someone is looking for an apartment to rent, they should check rentals.com.
  8. Each cast member in the play knew their lines by heart.
  9. No one knows when they will die.
  10. Each of my parents has their own checking account.
  11. Many coffee shops often sell pastries to its customers.
  12. A homeowner has to pay his taxes on time or face severe penalties.
  13. A parent likes to make sure his or her child is safe even when the child has become an adult.
  14. The audience showed their appreciation for the play with a standing ovation.
  15. Anyone who gets an “A” in the class should share their study techniques.

PronounAntecedentExercise

PronounAntecedentSolutions

 

 

Practicing Routine Communication: Writing a Direct Request

Instructors: Use this short case study to help your students practice writing routine requests. You might want to assign the activity as a small group project or as homework. Our suggested solution can be found at the end of this post.

You’d like to learn more about the hiring process for a social media expert and the kinds of benefits that individual could bring to your organization. You wonder where that individual might fit into the corporate structure—would the position operate out of corporate communications, marketing, customer service, or elsewhere? You also are unclear about qualifications for candidates, salary, and how a social media expert’s success would be evaluated.

Compose an e-mail inquiry to <doreen.goodwin@mediaresources.com>. Explain your situation and list specific questions for her to answer. Although she is likely to want to talk on the phone, make it clear you want your answers in writing so you can have a record of her advice to share when you report back to your CEO.


Suggested Solution


To:  Doreen Goodwin <doreen.goodwin@mediaresources.com>

From:  [Your name]

Subject:  Searching for Advice and Information About Social Media Experts

Dear Ms. Goodwin:

You have been recommended by HomeCenter CEO John Brauburger as a valuable source of information. I’m hoping you can help me learn more about social media experts, as my company is considering hiring one.

Answers to the following questions will assist me in deciding whether to suggest pursuing this issue:

  • How could a social media specialist benefit HomeCenter?
  • What salary range is appropriate for such a specialist?
  • What qualifications would we seek in such a specialist?
  • In which corporate areas do social media specialists typically work: corporate communications, marketing, customer support, or some other area?
  • How could we evaluate that person’s success on the job, once hired?

I’m sure many other questions could be asked, but I’d like to start with these. A written response before March 15 would enable me to report to our CEO.

Sincerely,

Your name

[Your contact information]