Resume and Letter of Application

This Resume/Cover Letter assignment goes along with the “Description of Job Posting” assignment.

This sheet is a brief description of the assignment components.  For more details read the “description” under Applying for a Job,  Part 2–Resume Assignment.

Be sure to read all the links as well.

In the search for employment, many documents or texts are developed, the application letter and resume being only the first two of many possibilities.  Follow-up letters may be necessary if the job seeker has not heard from the company in a reasonable length of time.  After the interview, a prospective employee may also want to send a brief thank-you note to the interviewer.

Now that you have told me in your memo what job you are applying for, create a resume and letter of application for the position/company described in your memo.

Because your letter and resume get about 30-60 seconds of initial attention, they must both be clear, concise and as strongly worded as you can make them.

If you answer an advertisement in the newspaper or on a department bulletin board, be sure that your match with those requirements is mentioned in the letter and emphasized in the resume.  In other words: Slant your letter and resume toward the position you want.

Purpose.   The resume summarizes your qualifications for the position.

Content.   The resume begins with personal information: name, address, phone, e-mail, web page address.  It then describes your education, experience, skills and any other special qualifications.

Format.   Resumes are lists or elliptical descriptions; this means they are NOT traditional full sentence writing.  The lists/descriptions are arranged in columns.  See samples.

Length.   For most positions, one page is sufficient space for a resume.  However, if you have need for a second page, you may use one.

Application Letter Assignment
The application letter introduces you to the potential interviewer and tells what position you are applying for.

Because the resume is created first, but the letter is read first, the letter can call attention to the qualifications listed in the resume.  It not only claims that you are qualified but also produces evidence to support that claim.  It concludes with information about where and how you can be reached to make an interview appointment.

The application letter uses standard letter format.  See the course materials, Format Conventions for Letters, and The Business Writer’s Handbook (under “correspondence”) for letter conventions.

Letters of application must be brief!  Though there is no unbreakable rule, they should generally not be longer than three short paragraphs, and certainly fit on ONE page.


Peer Review


Read the ad for the position, or the student’s memo description.  Then look over the resume quickly, getting a general idea about the person’s qualifications.  Would you call the person for an interview?  Why or why not?  Use the following questions to give specific help for revision.

1.  Is the information arranged in order of importance to the position being sought (most important first)? What suggestions would you make for improved arrangement?

2.  Is the information about education explained so that it corresponds with the requirements for the position? Does the information include some specific courses or skills learned?  Does the education section include keywords from the advertisement, or from the student’s knowledge of what is required for the job? What would you suggest for more specific descriptions in the education section?

3.  Is the information about experience explained so that it corresponds with the requirements for the position? Are the descriptions specific, echoing the key words of the advertisement?  Has the writer chosen strong, active verbs to describe duties and responsibilities? What suggestions would you make for rewording the experience section to make it stronger and more persuasive to the reader?

4.  Do skills appear somewhere on the resume?  Are they specific?  Do they include computer skills and languages?  Are the skills somehow connected with where they were learned or practiced (in courses, at work, in community service)?
What suggestions would you make for improvement?

5.  Are items not related to education or experience (activities, skills, awards) relevant to the position?  What improvements are needed?

6.  Does the format emphasize what is most important by organization, type, bold, etc.?
Is the information chunked?  Are the chunks clearly separated? Is the contact information (personal information) obvious and easily accessible (not too small, not italicized, etc.)?
Is the layout uncluttered? Are the columns aligned, with sufficient margins all around?
Does the writer make effective use of type and graphic elements?  Improvements needed?

1. Does the letter clearly state what position the writer is applying for in the opening paragraph?

2. Does the writer show specific education, experience or skills which match him or her with the position? Does the writer support the claim to be qualified for the position? Has the writer given courses taken or specific work experience that prove his or her claim to be qualified can be verified?

3.  Is the tone of the letter confident without being overbearing?  Does the writer use specific terms such as the keywords or specific titles of theories or programs he/she should be familiar with? What improvements would you suggest in tone or word choice?

4.  Does the writer specifically request an interview?

5. Does the writer give specific information about how he or she can be reached, including phone number and e-mail address, plus web site if appropriate?

6. Is the letter in correct format, matching the conventions of letter writing as explained in the Business Writer’s Handbook?  What corrections/improvements are needed?
Is the letter brief enough and pointed enough to be a good introduction of the prospective employee?  Were you a Human Resources professional or a Manager, would you turn to the resume for more about the candidate?  Why or why not?




Print this sheet, sign it, and submit it with the assignment it evaluates.

ENG 332 Criteria Sheets: Resume Criteria


1. The heading includes name, address, phone, e-mail address and web site if available or pertinent.  It is designed to be emphatic but not overwhelming, and allows the reader to easily get the information needed to reach the candidate. 


very good


2. The information is arranged in order of importance to the position and emphasizes a match with the requirements of the position. The information is expanded and explained so that it is specific and useful to the reader,using lists and descriptions of courses or positions held plus learning and skill acquired.


1 2 3 4


3. Work experience is explained in light of duties, responsibilities, skills and accomplishments
pertinent to the position being sought or as proof that the writer can perform in a professional capacity. If such work experience is lacking, the student shows such professionalism in another section of the resume.


1 2 3 4


4. Information in addition to education and experience is pertinent to the position
being sought. It includes any computer skills, language skills and where these were learned or practiced.  It excludes personal information.


1 2 3 4


5. Layout of the resume makes effective use of design tools such as type and white space; columns are aligned and neat. Writer has made use of indentation in the layout to emphasize the items in lists. Design is appropriate to the company and situation of submission (scanned, on-line, etc.).


1 2 3 4




Print this sheet, sign it, and submit it with the assignment it evaluates.

ENG 332 Criteria Sheets: Letter of Application Criteria

1. The opening paragraph informs the reader of the writer’s purpose in writing.  It clearly states the position being applied for and the writer’s source of the information.  The opening is an effective lead-in to the specifics of the letter.

very good

2. The letter indicates the writer has the education, experience and/or skills which match the position.  It gives evidence that the person applying could perform professionally in the position being sought.  In other words the claim to be qualified is supported with evidence.

1. 2. 3. 4.

3. The letter closes with a request for an interview and gives all information necessary for the reader to reach the applicant.

1. 2. 3. 4.

4.  The tone of the letter is professional and positive.  It demonstrates confidence and enthusiasm without being inappropriately aggressive.  Word choice is specific and the words are strong and appropriate.

1. 2. 3. 4.

5.  The letter is complete and effective in format and layout; the heading addresses the audience by name and role.  There letter is also correct in content, grammar, spelling and punctuation.

1. 2. 3. 4.