Knowing Your Reader: Text-External Influences on Textual Features in Résumé Construction

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Drew S. Fagan


In the field of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), great importance has often been placed on using language in authentic ways. As a result of the inability of many second language (L2) students to construct and adapt language for various academic and professional needs (St. John, 1996), genre analysis has gained attention as a framework for teaching ESL students to write texts they way they are constructed in authentic situations. However, the lack of empiricallyderived discipline-specific genre exemplars to practically utilize in the L2 writing classroom has prompted the need for (a) further analysis of various texts found outside of the classroom setting and (b) an investigation into how language is manipulated to meet the purposes of those texts. Following Bhatia’s (2008) and Cheng’s (2008) notions that students need to have practical genre exemplars to aid them in understanding how text-external influences (e.g., the purpose for writing and the reader’s expectations) affect linguistic choices, the focus of this paper is to demonstrate how one type of professional text, the résumé, is constructed using a genre-based framework. 

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