Job Application

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 cover 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.

Details

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.

Resumes

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. Important:  Follow the formatting and content guidelines as mentioned in BCE Chapter 13.

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 http://www.sa.psu.edu/career/. 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.  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: Most business cover letters use AIDA (See BCE Chapter 14). Most cover letters in engineering and science fields follow the Introduction/Education/Experience/Conclusion format.  The letter should close by inviting a response.  Important: follow the guidelines for writing cover letters (application letters) in BCE Chapter 14.

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.

Style. Cover 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: if possible, stick to one page.

Standards for Correctness

Employers impose strict standards of correctness on application materials: An error is the equivalent of a bad spot on your shirt. Accordingly, I will mark this assignment on a somewhat stricter scale than usual.

Diane Zabel: Career Research Help  English-202D-Career-Research-2015 (1)-2jj4zqr

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