Cover Letter and Résumé Requirements (DUE February 1st)
Disclaimer: You will have a résumé and cover letter to do. Many of you are thinking, “no problem, I did this in another class”; or you might be thinking, “I already have a résumé that got me a job.” Please don’t ignore the discussion and guidelines I have for résumés and cover letters. I’ll be commenting on these not as the hiring manager but as an English professor who wants to read that you have consider the appropriate attributes about yourself to describe to a potential employer.
Create cover letters and résumés that reflect a job you want or aspire towards. The most useful cover letters and résumés are not directed just towards the ideal audience, but with the ideal purpose–showing you’re the ideal candidate.
Convince the audience that you’re the ideal candidate for the position by making an argument for your being hired that’s backed up with your experience.
Please look at the following résumé examples and critique them based on your readings for today:
Review the following examples. The Better and Alternative ones have colored text and highlighting to draw your attention. Consider the relevance and appropriateness of these additions.
- Alternative (remember, the alternative is useful if you need more space)
Here’s a link to Peter Profit’s cover letter.
- What’s the purpose of a cover letter?
- What’s the purpose of a résumé?
- How does one show they are the ideal candidate?
Remember, you should aim to show and not tell in your cover letters and, where possible, in your résumés. The above questions, especially the third one, are for you to ask yourself before you describe yourself as the ideal candidate for a position. What makes you qualified? How can you distinguish yourself? After all, if you’re applying for a job in network security and claim you have an IT-related degree and took classes on network security, that might not be enough to distinguish yourself from the many others who are also applying.
Let’s focus on résumé duties and proper cover letter format. Use the cover letter example from our textbook as you model for your cover letter (See p. 340 in Tebeaux & Dragga: Figure 12-1 Complete Letter of Application). The proper way to convey a duty is with a simple verb:
- Preferred: Edited manuscripts as an Assistant Editor
- Preferred: Analyzed various data sets to determine the most appropriate plan
- Not Appropriate: I review other’s work, and I ensure it complies with branding expectations.
A Brief Story
Long ago in the last century I was working in litigation support as a document analyst. I got upgraded to a CD burner for the first month of the second summer I worked at this job because I knew how to burn CDs. While my buddies were getting carpel tunnel entering data (a rather tedious job), I was surfing the net while creating CDs that would go to the client, the prosecution, and us. A friend of mine at the job remarked, “a monkey could do your job.”
Well, anyway, I got promoted again, so they needed someone to take over. We hired a monkey, and I wrote up a manual and then trained him…this was the beginning of my career as a teacher.
I put together a webpage that lists jobs and job descriptions in technical writing. Most are in IT companies, but some are in other areas. This selection was just a google search (done many years ago), so I have no statistical basis for claiming that it is representative of the total population of technical writing jobs. However, based on my observations over the last decade, I think two jobs stand out as exemplary Tech Writing jobs:
Consider opening these in different tabs, so you can more easily compare them.
The entire list is here, and I have another shorter page here. I keep meaning to add to these, but I don’t get many job lists coming my way…I hope that’s not a sign of the times. I’ll try to add to these in the future.
Notice the contractual/temporary vs salaried/permanent positions. Also, notice the skills required for the positions. The list is for reference and class discussion, so don’t worry about job details showing up on an exam or quiz.
Keep up with the reading. Your Weekly Discussion Post is due Thursday, 1/26, 11:00 pm.
Your Cover Letters and Résumés, which are portfolio assignments, are
due on Wednesday (2/01).