As you read the sample below, think about what would make this strong draft even stronger.  Could you suggest ways to improve content?  Presentation?  Style and mechanics?  How would you respond to the questions that the writer has put in square brackets? 

DATE:     February 19, 1998

TO:          ENGL 105 Professor

FROM:   Mary  M______

RE:          Job Search Writing Strategies



When an individual competes for a position in a company, it's necessary to put every ounce of hope into a 1 to two page summary of their life's accomplishments.  This becomes a very difficult task.  You have to convey to the reader that you are knowledgeable without sounding arrogant.  You must also prove to be accomplished in your abilities, but by the same token, you cannot be overly qualified.  Finally you must appear excited about the position without seeming insincere.


I believe that anytime someone is interviewing to hire a position, they wan the best individual for the job.  This can become a difficult goal to obtain.  Due to time constraints, the reader cannot give ample time to each resume. The applicant must help the reader along by providing all the necessary skills relevant to the job at the beginning of the resume or cover letter.  This takes strategic planning on the part of the applicant. You have to convey very quickly and efficiently to the reader that you possess each and every skill they need and then some extras they hadn't thought of.  [QUESTION:  How can a writer do this?  Should I discuss format/headings/organization  here?  What about things like paper color or quality?]


The position I'm applying for, as Office Administrator, must possess three main attributes.  To effectively handle this position, one must be knowledgeable about the company system as well and the environment surrounding them, be extremely self-motivated and organized in every way, and be capable of handling people in a tactful but firm manner.

Administrators must deal with a multitude of different individuals, all of whom have a wide range of concerns and problems.  The person hiring the position will want someone who is as sure about the decisions they make daily as they are about their own abilities.  The interviewer will also want someone who can work on their own and handle problems in an efficient manner without a great deal of supervision. These skills can only be achieved by experience.  With this in mind, I have tailored my resume and cover letter to provide proof of these talents early.  By providing my own work experience first, it shows that I have the experience necessary to make a smooth transition into the open position.  Through my present position I have experience in the direct supervision of staff. My years of experience as an auditor in the auditor's office also provides  the reader proof that I am knowledgeable in dealing with people.  Finally, using Excel software to organize the department budget shows organizational skills and willingness to take on challenging tasks.

The position of Office Administrator holds qualifications that I unfortunately do not possess.  Although I am working on a B.S. degree in Business Management, I am only a junior.  I must sell my strong points to the audience.  These points center around my years of experience within the system.  If I already had my degree, I would list Education first, then my Experience to show that I have the credentials they want.  Since I don't, I'm going to emphasize experience for now and make it clear that I will obtain my degree soon.


Those individuals judging my application will include personnel with similar positions.  My goal is to obtain a level of camaraderie through my application.  By appearing knowledgeable about a multitude of tasks pertinent to this position, and doing so in an authoritative but tactful manner, I will be judged less critically than someone applying from outside the system.  I this can be achieved, I will have a better chance of receiving an interview. [QUESTION: say how?  Would "you attitude" go here?  In the last section?  Both?]  By using company terminology in the resume and cover letter, I will subtly establish myself as an insider who already knows the company and this will hopefully instill the appropriate feelings I desire in the reader.