Resumes and Letters of Application as Arguments

At the end of this online exercise, you should understand how résumés and application letters function as an argument making the claim that you (the applicant) are qualified and worthy of an interview with a potential employer (the audience). Additionally, you will understand how to provide sufficient, relevant information and how to format and arrange that information to substantiate your claim and persuade the audience to grant you the interview. Finally, you will create your own résumé and application letter, which will be submitted to your instructor.

Follow the steps outlined below in the order given. Steps 1 and 2 include information and exercises that introduce some ideas about how to make an effective argument to an employer. Steps 3-6 guide preparation of your own resume and letter.

STEP 1–Read the overview information on this page

STEP 2–Study the lessons and complete the exercises included in the following:

STEP 3–Locate an ad for a job opening in your field that genuinely interests you and for which you are currently qualified (perhaps an internship or Co-op position) or will be qualified for upon graduation IF you are graduating within the next year. Be sure that you have a copy of the ad as you will have to submit it with the final assignment. If you want to start your search online, this list of sites may help you get started. If the ad that you locate specifies that the application materials must be “scannable,” note carefully the employer’s instructions. General guidelines for preparing scannable résumés, such as those on, may also be helpful.

STEP 4–Research the company and the position. If the company or organization has a website, that may be a good place to begin. You should find out as much as you can: Public or private? Relative size? Product or service rendered? Location? Annual sales? This research would also help prepare you for an interview.

STEP 5–Write an application letter and create a résumé to apply for THIS job. Review the online information given in Step 2 as well as the information in the Resume Format section. Consider the ad, your knowledge of the company, your career interests, your experience, and your qualifications. Develop your résumé and application letter as a direct response to the ad.


  • Copy of the ad or job description
  • Résumé
  • Application Letter

EVALUATION: Both the résumé and the application letter will be evaluated according to the following criteria.

  • Do they provide Sufficient, Typical, Accurate, Relevant evidence to support your claim that you are worthy of an interview and persuade your audience to grant you that interview?
  • Do they appropriately respond to the specific ad you submit with the assignment?
  • Do they employ effective formatting techniques to emphasize your strengths?
  • Does the letter employ an appropriate tone?
  • Are both documents complete and flawless?

Once you have finished all six steps, you have completed this assignment.

Go to Résumé as Argument: Content