Design a Resume for a Historical Figure with Adobe InDesign

Students design a resume for a historical figure
5 teachers like this strategy

About This Strategy

In this 2- to 3-hour strategy, students create a resume for a historical or otherwise famous person using Adobe InDesign. Students translate biographical information into a professional one-page resume designed to make the perfect first impression. This lesson may be paired with an Adobe Illustrator lesson on how to make infographics or shared on Adobe Spark Page.

Because InDesign enables students to create professional and unique page layouts, this strategy empowers students to use visual emphasis to convey information succinctly. You can adapt this strategy to multiple disciplines, and students can work individually or in small groups.

Supporting Tools and Resources

  • Student Sample
  • Adobe InDesign

  • Adobe Spark Page

  • Editable Resource Bundle

  • PDF Resource Bundle

Outline for Teachers

180 minutes


Students research a historical figure. This may be someone related to other presentations in the class, such as famous authors, historians, thinkers, or artists. (30 minutes)


Students review the key elements of a resume. (30 minutes)


Students select appropriate biographical information to provide a snapshot of their historical figure. (15-20 minutes)


Students sketch how to convey biographical information using the principles of graphic design. (15-20 minutes)


Students design their resumes in Adobe InDesign.  They use these steps to guide them.  Students can examine an example here and read/watch  a tutorial here.  (60 minutes)


Students export resumes as PDFs and share them on an Adobe Spark Page

Steps for Students

You will research a historical figure, selecting key biographical information that would provide a snapshot of their life, highlighting their character, knowledge, skills, and contributions to our modern world. You will then design a resume for this person using Adobe InDesign. 

Because InDesign is flexible, you can create professional-looking designs that reflect  your personal style.


1. Create a list of potential historical figures to research.This may be someone related to your course topic section or people you would like to know more about, such as famous authors, thinkers, or artists. Depending on the course, this person could be a recent historical actor, such as Nelson Mandela, or from the more distant past, such as Leif Erikson. (30 minutes)

Research your historical figure using library databases and online resources. Make notes about when they were living, what was going on in the part of the world they lived, what skills or knowledge they developed, who they influenced, and how they helped shape their world.

2. Learn what information to include in a resume. Watch this tutorial on creating a professional resume and take notes about common features of resumes and common ways to orient and lay out information. (15-20 minutes)

3. Apply what you’ve learned about resumes to the notes you made on your historical figure. Evaluate what information from your research to use.  Should your resume include failures or only successes? (15-20 minutes)

After reviewing the key components of a resume, select the most pertinent information to share on a single page. The more contemporary your figure is, the more relevant information you may have about their education and work experience; you may even have access to direct quotes and personal websites. If your figure lived long ago, however, you may have to get creative with the kind of information to share and how to phrase it. 

Remember that a resume should be written in the first person.

4. Determine the hierarchy of information and the kinds of graphic elements you will use to guide the reader. Things to consider: (15-20 minutes)

  • Which fonts help convey a sense of who this person is? Which colors? Stick to just two contrasting fonts and a couple of colors to keep the design clean. 

  • Which elements should be headers and which should be bulleted? Think about how alignment, proximity, and proportion will help the audience read the resume.  

  • Should you include a headshot, lines, or infographics? You may need to spend additional time collecting any visual elements you aren’t creating yourself.

5. Open Adobe InDesign and design your resume. As you work, consider how you use graphic design to convey information: emphasis, contrast, balance, alignment, proximity, color, proportion, and consistency. For a refresher on elements of graphic design, visit Adobe’s YouTube design playlist. (60 minutes)

If you need inspiration, here’s a student sample. For more information about Adobe InDesign, you can view a user guide and tutorials here. There’s even a tutorial on creating a professional resume. To understand how you will be evaluated, see the rubric. Export your resume as a PDF.

6. Share your resume as directed by your instructor.

Rubric for Successful Analysis

Consult the attached rubric in order to evaluate students' resumes.