The Social Media Profile – 602


More and more employers are asking applicants if they have a website or other web presence that they can access easily.  Managing your online image is crucial when almost all recruiters perform (Links to an external site.) an online search of a candidate before setting up an interview.  By  creating a professional online portfolio (and ruthlessly editing your web presence), you can develop a rich alternative for employers who want to see beyond your one-page resume.

Your online presence should be a showcase demonstrating a well-thought-out personal brand – who you are and what you can do for future employers, clients, or careers.  Just like you did with your resumes and cover letters, you will choose certain skills, values, artifacts, etc., based on the professional brand or image you want to create for yourself.  Remember, when you post your resume online, you are creating a “digital tattoo” or impression of yourself.

As part of your profile, you will write at least three online articles or blog entries that follow the guidelines for writing for the web, including the capacity for linking to a variety of online media.  The purpose here is to think reflectively about current trends and topics being discussed in the broader business world outside of class, to engage more thoroughly with your own discipline and to begin to establish your sense of authorship on the web.

Consider this assignment to be a final exam for the course – utilize all the rhetorical strategies that we have discussed so far, including strong attention to audience and purpose; clear, effective prose; sophisticated application of organizational patterns, design elements, accessibility, readability, typography and more.


For this assignment you will create a website that illustrates your well-thought-out personal brand.  Your website can be as simple or as deep as you would like it to be, but it will include the following:

  • Text, content elements and design choices that consistently work to establish and promote your personal professional brand.
  • A least one professional image of yourself.  Your image should be styled according to the expectations in your field.
  • Links to fully-optimized social media outlets. Your social media outlets, which have been updated and optimized with your consistent and appropriate personal brand, will feature prominently.
  • At least 3 online articles. See Online Article Details.

Expect to fully utilize the electronic medium to create a fuller image of yourself for hiring and professional purposes.  Make sure the overall impression is vibrant, substantial and worthy of notice.  If you have questions about the scope of your assignment, please ask.


We recommend; however, other platforms (Wix, Weebly, etc.) are also accepted.  To publish posts on LinkedIn, choose the “Post” option on your profile.

Online Article Details

Topics: Topics within your major or field work best, but they don’t have to be – the purpose here is to show you are reading respected news sources and have intelligent things to say.  The guiding principle will be this:  Would you encourage potential employers or clients to read your blog entries?

What to Write: Identify the respected journal and news sources in your field.  The best way to do this is to ask your major professors what they read to keep up-to-date with their professions.

The goal is to establish your “take” on the issues that currently affect your area(s) of interest.  You will choose online articles that intrigue you, then indicate why you find this article/issue interesting or relevant (chances are the rest of us will too).   What can you say about this particular topic?  Why should the rest of us sit up and take notice?

These online articles should follow the conventions for writing for the web and effective visual rhetoric, including

  • Prominently-placed main points, logical and obvious organization and short paragraphs (25-35 words).
  • Well-written, thoughtful discussion of at least one referenced (and linked) online text. (Value-added posts will include additional links to credible and relevant sources.) Each entry should be between 300-600 words.
  • Conversational, but still professional, tone.
  • Attractive and compelling design, including an informative title and at least two headings to increase readability and accessibility.
  • At least one relevant  image, appropriately captioned and/or explained (unless it is obviously decorative).  Visuals should be linked to their original sources.

Evaluation Criteria

I will evaluate your social media profile according to these criteria:

Content:  The profile presents a carefully-crafted, consistent and professional personal brand.  The profile is well-designed and well-written.  The profile is substantial and appropriate for the rhetorical situation(s).  The profile establishes a sense of authorship and subject matter authority, including any relevant artifacts and links.

Effectiveness:  The profile demonstrates creative and sophisticated use of the internet and electronic medium, including social media. The profile presents a full and professional image of the writer.

Application:  The profile demonstrates that you understand and can apply the many elements of professional communication discussed in the course.  These include, but are not limited to, cohesion, organization, accessibility, document design,  navigability, comprehensiveness, conciseness, correctness and writing for the web.

Design and Professionalism: The profile is attractive and accessible.  The profile reflects the writer’s ability to apply design principles in a proficient way.  The profile is easy to navigate.




The Progress Report – 602


For your next project, you are to write a memo apprising me of the progress that you are making on your final project, the Formal Analytical Report, and asking me for any help you might need.


You can do this by:

  • Reminding me briefly what your project is: tell me about your audience, and the problem you are solving or helping to solve for this audience, and how you propose to solve it.
  • Summarizing what you have done so far in enough detail and with enough specificity to convince me that you are making substantial and appropriate progress toward being able to write a report at the end of the semester. What resources have you used? What experts have you interviewed? What kind of lab work, computer work, library research have you done?
  • Stating what remains to be done.
  • Describing any problems you’ve had or foresee that you will have in finishing this project by the end of this term. Remember, I am here to help you; communicate your problems and maybe I can suggest an alternative research path or put you in contact with a local expert.
  • Explaining any changes in your work schedule that have emerged since you wrote your proposal.

You must also use appropriate business memo format. Organize your memo into a beginning that includes your purpose, a middle that carries out your purpose, and an ending.

Evaluation Criteria

Content. A brief project description re-orients the reader to the project. The content is specific.  In addition to listing achievements, the writer will also summarize the results and/or findings of those achievements. Achievements are reasonable for this point in the project.

Clarity, Style and Tone.  Your report is well-written.  The tone is businesslike: the writer neither whines about problems and looks for excuses nor inflates the accomplishments. The problem statement is clear and logically stated; sentences are correct, concise and arranged so that the meaning is easily obtained; and the prose is effective for a general reader.  Paragraphs are coherent, unified and relatively short (125 words or fewer).

Design and format.  Your design choices, including headings, subheadings, font choices, etc., increase the professional appearance of the document and the accessibility of content.  Business memo format is used consistently and appropriately.

Job Application Documents – 602



Most of us obtain jobs through a multi-stage process. First you research the types of jobs you are qualified for and the types of employers you would like to work for. Then you try to convince specific employers to consider you for a job. Your first communication with your future employer is likely to be through a resume and application letter. These documents must persuade him or her to continue the conversation.

For this project, you will write:

  • Two application letters addressed to different prospective employers and that apply for two different jobs. The letters should highlight different aspects of your experience relevant to the different jobs.
  • Two resumes that may well differ significantly in content or in layout or both. The choices of content and layout should emphasize appropriate experience for each job.
  • A cover memo addressed to me that overviews the two jobs, reviews what you know about these particular employers, and describes the strategies and tactics you have used to adapt your letter and resume to each situation.


Application Letters
The purpose of the application letter is to persuade that specific employer to grant you an interview. Just as you appreciate being treated as an individual rather than as a statistic, so does an employer.  Use the following guidelines:

  • Content and Organization. The goal is to show the reader both that you know what that specific company needs and that you have what it takes. You may organize this section in various ways: around your training and experience, around what the job or the company requires, or some other way. The letter should close by inviting a response.
  • Style. Application letters are difficult to write because they aim at somewhat conflicting goals. On the one hand, you want to make a good first impression. So you want to sound polite and fairly formal. On the other hand, you want to stand out from the crowd – otherwise, why should the employer hire you rather than any of the other applicants? The best policy is probably to talk to your reader as directly and naturally as possible. Avoid hype.
  • Format. Use a conventional business letter format. Be brief: stick to one page.

The purpose of the resume is to describe your qualifications for a type of job. Since this project requires you to apply for two somewhat different jobs, you will create two resumes that will be different in content and/or arrangement. Use the following guidelines:

  • Content. The goal is to argue that you are qualified for a particular type of job and that you would be a capable, responsible, and personable employee who communicates effectively.
  • Format. Your format may be traditional or innovative as long as it is appropriate and as long as the information is highly accessible and is organized in a way that highlights the most important items – from the employer’s perspective.
  • Style. Your style should be fairly formal. You need not use complete sentences, but you should use a concise, active style and show consistency in expression from section to section.

Cover Memo
Write a brief memo (two – three pages, single-spaced) addressed to me that will help me read, understand, evaluate, and “coach” your resumes and application letters. For each of the two jobs, the memo must contain a separate job description and audience analysis, as well as a commentary highlighting how you adapted your resumes and application letters to the different jobs.  Include the following information:

  • Audience Analysis. Investigate the companies you are applying to. You may obtain information on companies from the library, on the Internet, from Career Services, or other places. You may also contact the personnel office of the company directly. Then write one or two paragraphs that specify any special qualities or experience that this company may be looking for in its employees. This is also the place to describe anything you know about the particular person you are writing to.
  • Job Descriptions. You may base your job description on job listings that you find in a professional or trade journal, on the Internet, or in other resources on campus at Career Services The jobs should be different enough that you will have to emphasize different parts of your experience to qualify for the positions. You may also (with my permission) write for a summer job, an internship, or for a scholarship or other award.
  • Rhetorical Analysis. Describe how you adapted each resume and application letter for its particular type of job, company, and reader and why you made those changes. Your reasons will be closely related to the information in the job description and audience analysis.

Evaluation Criteria

Adaptation and Organization.  The application letters and resumes demonstrate proficient application of genre conventions in response to different rhetorical situations.  Organizational strategies are clear, effective and appropriate.   The writer understands organizational strategies and is able to adapt them to specific job application situations.

Content.  The writer makes information choices dependent on resume and application letter conventions and audience needs.  Content focuses on skills, results, and qualifications, quantified where appropriate.

Style, Tone and Design.   The documents are correct and concise.  Tone is appropriate to the rhetorical situation but is in all ways professional, conversational and tailored to the specific audience.  Design works to make the documents attractive and accessible.

Correctness:  Employers impose strict standards of correctness on application materials.  Accordingly, I will mark this project on a somewhat stricter scale than usual.

Business Correspondence – 602


For this project, you will write four documents: three correspondence messages in response to the following scenarios and a cover memo to your instructor in which you outline the business writing strategies you employed as you composed your messages.

A scenario overview and four options are provided below.  Select any three of the options you prefer. The choices are:

  1. a complaint letter from a customer to a construction firm;
  2. an email from a customer service representative to his or her manager;
  3. a memo from that manager to all employees within the firm explaining the specifics of company policy;
  4. a letter from customer service responding to the customer’s complaints.

Note:  Be sure to follow the scenarios, but feel free to make up details where needed.

Scenario Overview

Denison Construction and Renovations is a thriving construction firm with offices in New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. The company specializes in high end projects and therefore employs master craftspeople to build custom cabinets, bathrooms, kitchens, and other projects to the precise specifications of very demanding clients. All Denison craftspeople have a minimum of five years of industry experience and come highly recommended from either previous clients or employers (or both).

In recent months, a team of workers from Denison has been building a 2,000 square foot indoor/outdoor addition (including an indoor sun room and an attached, outdoor patio) at the home of Mr. Kenneth and Mrs. Karen Hatcher, 353 Park Avenue, Kingland, Arizona. While the Hatchers are quite pleased with the work that the Denison team has been provided (both in terms of its quality and the rapid pace of its advancement), the family is less than fully pleased with the decorum of Denison workers. In particular, Mr. Hatcher is upset that the craftspeople tend not to wear shirts while completing many of their outdoor tasks.

Given that the Hatchers live in an exclusive, gated community, they are concerned that the immodesty of Denison workers may be reflecting negatively upon them. Given that the weather in Arizona is extremely hot, the Hatchers understand why the workers may choose such apparel, but they would strongly prefer that the craftspeople choose more suitable attire (either sleeveless t-shirts or tank-tops would be fine with you). The Hatchers also understand that some construction workers (as do many adults) use obscene language, but they have overheard a troubling amount of this language. Though they are hardly prudish, the Hatchers are worried that these obscenities can be heard by the children who play outside on their quiet, residential street.


The Cover Memo

In this memo to your instructor, explicitly note which three of the correspondence options you have chosen to write. Explain the strategic choices that you made while composing your messages—which details did you decide to include, which did you decide not to include, and so forth—and describe the rationale for these decisions (i.e., explain why you did these things). Also note any challenges that you faced while writing, or explain why any of your strategic decisions were particularly difficult to reach.

The Correspondence Options (complete three out of four)

Option 1: Write a complaint letter from Kenneth or Karen Hatcher (whichever persona you prefer) to Delilah Flores, a customer service representative at Denison.

You are quite happy with the quality of the work being conducted and that you have no intention of cancelling your contract with Denison at this time. However, you want Denison workers dress more appropriately and speak more politely, given the nature of your residential community. You are uncertain whether or not Denison has corporate policies on these matters, and you do not particularly care if they do. In your mind, the customer is always right, and these Denison employees should do whatever can be reasonably asked of them to comply with your demands.

Option 2: Write an email from Delilah Flores to Patrick Gordon, Manager of Customer Service at the Denison site in Kingland.

You (this time you are Delilah Flores) and Mr. Gordon have already spoken about the problems at the Hatcher property so you need not explain the entire situation.  You need information from Mr. Gordon in order to act on this issue and respond to the Hatchers.

You understand why the Hatchers could have these objections about dress and language, and you’re not sure whether the company has a dress-code for employees at construction sites (unlike office workers, who must comply to a fairly strict dress code), nor do you know whether an official policy on language use exists. You need to know if the company has official policies on these issues and what, if any, action you should take if they exist (should customer service send out reminders to site managers to avoid future complaints?). You have a scanned copy of the Hatchers’ letter.  Would a copy help Mr. Gordon?

Option 3: Compose an inter-office memo from Patrick Gordon to all construction site managers who are employed at the Denison branch in Kingland.

You (now you are Patrick Gordon) want to tell them that, because of a recent complaint, you are hoping to clarify a few company policies. Policy 137k concerns professional attire at the workplace and states (you are paraphrasing here) that employees must wear shirts (sleeveless t-shirts and tank tops also count) at all times. This policy has not been strictly enforced in the past, but you are hoping that workers will comply in the future.

Also note that Policy 162g prohibits profanity or abusive language. The statement itself states, “Denison Construction prohibits the use of vulgar, profane, insulting, obscene, derogatory, or offensive language of a vile nature toward the employer, the employer’s representatives, or any customers when such remarks are unjustified under the circumstances, and not within the normal exchange and customary good-natured banter between the employer or the employer’s representative and the employee.” In short, you don’t necessarily want to get rid of all cursing (you are not the profanity police), but you need employers to be mindful of the situations in which they operate.  You imagine that this news may not be entirely welcome, but you know that your site managers and employees are hardworking and professional.

Option 4: Compose a letter of apology from Delilah Flores to Kenneth and Karen Hatcher.

You (Delilah again) need to let the Hatchers know that you have received their complaint and that your company plans to honor their request (in other words, your employees will start dressing appropriately and stop cursing). The Hatchers should also know that your manager, Patrick Gordon, has circulated a memo to all construction site managers reminding them of company policies in reference to these two points. You know that companies are often glad that customers bring them their concerns so that they have a chance to correct the problem and make the customer happy.  You also know that your company (Denison) takes seriously its responsibility to provide excellent customer service.

Evaluation Criteria

Adaptation and Organization.  The responses demonstrate an understanding and effective application of genre conventions for everyday business communication.   Organizational strategies are clear, effective and appropriate.   The writer understands organizational strategies and is able to adapt them to specific rhetorical situations.

Content.  The writer includes specific, focused requests, explanations, goodwill, and/or instructions with appropriate use of buffer or context, when needed. Evidence to support requests or claims is clear, accessible and written from the reader’s perspective.

Style, Tone and Design.   The messages are correct and concise.  Tone is appropriate to the rhetorical situation but is in all ways professional, approachable, conversational and tailored to the specific audience.  Design conventions are followed accurately.

The Topic-Approval Proposal – 602


For this assignment you will write a formal business letter seeking my approval for the project that will become your formal report. The proposal is the first document in a series of assignments culminating in that final assignment.

Your audience for this letter is me, your instructor. Think of me as someone who wants to be sure that you choose a project from which you can learn a great deal and on which you can do a good job. I need to be convinced that this project is important to you and that you have the ability to complete it.

Your proposal should persuade me that a significant business challenge exists in a real organization and that you should be permitted to address it. You do not have to have the solution to the problem at this time; rather you are suggesting that the organization must invest its faith in you to research and devise a solution.

After you have convinced me of a need for your work, include a detailed description of your work plan. Will you go to the library and research the latest techniques in your field? Will you investigate the cost of new equipment? Will you talk to people who have solved the problem for other organizations? Will you research social media communication plans? Some combination of these? Convince me that this plan for research is the right path leading to a solution and that the time exists in this semester to do the work well.

This work plan must also be plotted with time; you must indicate what work you will be doing during each of the weeks left in the semester. You should also have sections of your proposal detailing your qualifications to do this work.

While I am willing to consider a wide range of topics for your report, you must persuade me that you have chosen a worthwhile issue that you are capable of handling well. In reading your proposal letter, I will be looking for answers to the following questions:

What business challenge will your report address? Have you clearly defined a conflict between a desired situation and the current situation?
Who is affected by the situation? Who will be the audience for your final report? What is your position in relationship to the audience?
Why is this challenge significant for this final audience? What is at stake?
Do you have a possible feasible solution for the problem? Have you established what a good solution would require? Have you thought about alternative plausible solutions?
What makes you qualified to carry out the project? How is the topic related to your major? Your career plans? I prefer projects that give you practice using the skills you will need in your career.
What will it take to gather the necessary information and complete your analysis? Can you complete your report in the time left in this semester, using the resources readily available to you?
Do you have a work plan for your project, a plan that shows specifically when certain activities must be completed this semester if you are to finish the project on time?


Craft your proposal in the form of a formal business letter to me. Select your information and organize it in such a way that it is persuasive and accessible. Remember, this proposal is not merely informative: it is an argument for why your topic should be approved. Your proposal will most likely include the following sections:

An introduction that tells me why you are writing.
A section on the business challenge, including an explicit well-developed thesis statement. Your letter may include a separate section describing background information about the organization and/or information about the current situation before describing the problem, depending on how much information your instructor will need to fully understand the business challenge.
A section describing your research plans for this project. Convince me that you know what kind of information you’ll need and where to find it. Include an analysis of your readers and what information they’ll need in order to adopt your solution.
A discussion of your credentials and motivation. Convince me that you have the background and resources necessary to conduct your research. Be sure to also indicate your motivation for and/or connection to this particular project.
A schedule. Convince me that you know what activities your research will require and that you can get them done on time.
A conclusion that formally requests permission to proceed.

Evaluation Criteria

I evaluate your proposal based on the following criteria:

Persuasiveness and organization. I will be looking to see that you are taking on an actual project related to your professional and academic expertise and that you can complete the project by the end of the semester. Make your proposal convincing; demonstrate that you have singled out a worthwhile problem to solve and that you are the researcher to solve it.

Style, clarity and arrangement. Your proposal must be well written. The problem statement is clear and logically stated, sentences correct, concise and arranged so that the meaning is easily obtained and the prose is streamlined and effective for a general reader. Paragraphs are coherent, unified and relatively short (125 words or fewer).

Design and format. Your design choices, including paragraph length, headings, subheadings, font choices, etc., increase document professionalism and accessibility. Business letter format is used consistently and appropriately.