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.
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.
Format. Use a conventional business letter format. Be brief: if possible, stick to one
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
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
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
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
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
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