WRTG273 Communicating Your Professional Identity – Engineering, Researching Opportunities, parts A & B

Part 1 #Entry #3 | Researching Opportunities

In your first notebook entry, you discovered multiple “next steps” you might want to pursue as you explore career possibilities. Next, you will explore and refine your career interests through in-depth exploration and analysis of two audiences of your choice. This assignment serves as the foundation upon which you will be able to make a connection with these audiences when constructing application materials, such as resumes and cover letters.

What does this have to do with life design? It’s about getting curious about these audiences, but it’s also about telling your story––and the more you understand your audience, the more compelling your story will be.

STEP 1: Choose two opportunities.
Choose two different, distinct “next steps”—we will call them “goals.” Think of these as immediate goals. Your choices can be ambitious, but they should also be reasonable––opportunities you would realistically pursue in the next six to twelve months.

Also, remember that internships, jobs, and research opportunities may come from postings or from direct inquiries you make.

Here are some sample choices of two goals that would satisfy the requirements of the upcoming assignments:

Goal 1

Goal 2

Internship

Research with faculty member or REU

Internship

Summer or part-time job

Internship in one industry/profession

Internship in a different industry/profession

Internship (or job, for seniors only)

Fellowship or scholarship

Job (seniors only)

Graduate school program (Seniors only)

Speak with your instructor if you have questions about selecting your goals.

STEP 2: Research each audience.

(“Audience” = the employer, faculty member, etc., who would hire or admit you.)

For each goal:

(a) Consult the posting (if there is one)

Look at the internship, job or research program posting to see what the employer is specifically looking for. If there is no posting available, generate a summary of what type of position you hope will be available; be specific. Pay attention to required and recommended skillsets, experiences, and knowledge.

If there is a posting, include a snapshot of it (and make sure to cite that image!!) when you submit your answers to the response questions below. Also, I recommend saving a pdf of the posting you’re using, because they can disappear after a few weeks.

(b) Perform additional audience research

Identify information that can help you decide how the employer—not simply the opportunity itself—is a good fit for you, as well as how to best communicate that to your intended audience. Your research might include:

  • The organization’s mission
  • Values (e.g., sustainability; diversity; innovation)
  • Size (number of employees) and location(s)
  • Main products or services
  • Reputation in the industry
  • Recent news
  • Culture of the organization
  • Other (financials for start-ups; impending mergers and acquisitions, etc.)
  • For undergraduate research: faculty background, primary research focus, key research projects, funding sources

In conducting your research, be sure to use the library databases you learned about in the blackboard tutorial to “triangulate your sources”:

At the same time, strive for authenticity in this activity—ultimately, you need to ask yourself what you need and want to know about the organization in order to make a solid connection with your audience. If you are having difficulty locating information on your audience(s), consult your instructor or a librarian.

Be sure to keep track of your sources so that you cite them when necessary during Step 3.

Step 3: Analyze your audience.
An audience analysis should define whom you are writing to, what their expectations are, and where the “connections” are between you and your audience. By answering these questions ahead of time, you can go into the process of drafting and revising your application materials with a clearer sense of what to include and prioritize.

Answer the questions on the submission page for each goal. Be concise, yet detailed––remember that time spent on this preparation work will pay off later!

Your LDN entry should include a screenshot of the posting (if there is one), answers to the six questions listed, and the one-to-two paragraph summary described below for each of the two goals.

Due: 9/28 by class time

Entry #3 Submission

GOAL 1

Screenshot of the entire job posting and citation for Goal 1:

Goal 1:

1.Background: Discuss the organization and the specific position you’re interested in. What does the employer do? What kind of work would the position involve?

2.Organizational values: What things matter most to you about an organization where you’d like to work? How much of this information were you able to find? How good a “fit” is this organization for you and why?

3.Additional tidbits: What are some interesting pieces of information that you found out about this organization during your research?

4.Your audience: Did you find out anything about your audience––in other words, the person who will be reading your application materials? (This can be difficult or even impossible with large organizations, but if there is an obvious contact, what did you find?)

5.Qualifications match: What specific qualifications is the organization looking for in a candidate? What skills do you possess that they’re looking for? Are there any skills or qualifications listed that you do not possess?

6. Emphasizing those qualifications: How and where will you show that you possess the qualifications/skills you described in question 5? Remember that it’s not enough to have the qualifications – you have to show the reader that you have them too.

Summary: Now write a detailed one- to two-paragraph summary of #1-6 above. This summary should be able to stand on its own, outlining who your audience is and where the “connections” are. Don’t forget citations as appropriate. You will use this summary as your audience analysis in your Midpoint and Final Portfolios.

GOAL 2

Screenshot of the entire job posting and citation for Goal 2:

Goal 2:

1.Background: Discuss the organization and the specific position you’re interested in. What does the employer do? What kind of work would the position involve?

2.Organizational values: What things matter most to you about an organization where you’d like to work? How much of this information were you able to find? How good a “fit” is this organization for you and why?

3.Additional tidbits: What are some interesting pieces of information that you found out about this organization during your research?

4.Your audience: Did you find out anything about your audience––in other words, the person who will be reading your application materials? (This can be difficult or even impossible with large organizations, but if there is an obvious contact, what did you find?)

5.Qualifications match: What specific qualifications is the organization looking for in a candidate? What skills do you possess that they’re looking for? Are there any skills or qualifications listed that you do not possess?

6. Emphasizing those qualifications: How and where will you show that you possess the qualifications/skills you described in question 5? Remember that it’s not enough to have the qualifications – you have to show the reader that you have them too.

Summary: Now write a detailed one- to two-paragraph summary of #1-6 above. This summary should be able to stand on its own, outlining who your audience is and where the “connections” are. Don’t forget citations as appropriate. You will use this summary as your audience analysis in your Midpoint and Final Portfolios.

Part 2 #Application Materials for Two Goals Formal Assignment B

ASSIGNMENT PURPOSE AND DESCRIPTION

You have now identified and researched two specific audiences with “next step” opportunities of interest (Goal 1 and Goal 2). For this next assignment, you will create application materials for these opportunities in order to explore each unique audience and different aspects of your professional identity, while gaining practice in crafting effective applications to opportunities of interest.

You will create two sets of application materials: one set for each of the two opportunities and audiences you researched and wrote about in your two audience analyses (Goal 1 and Goal 2). At least one set should be comprised of a resume and cover letter. For the other set, a CV may substitute for one resume, and an application essay may substitute for the cover letter. If you have questions about the types of documents most appropriate for the goals you selected, consult the information below and/or your instructor.

  • Resume. A resume is essentially a marketing document designed to summarize and present your qualifications to a potential employer. Through strategic organization and content emphasis, a resume should effectively “speak” to its audience (the employer) and communicate experiences and skills that are relevant to the position you are seeking. Resumes typically receive an initial review of 10-20 seconds, so they should be attractively designed and easily scanned for important information that will make your audience want to learn more about you.
  • CV (Curriculum Vitae). Another type of document that summarizes and presents qualifications is a CV for research opportunities and graduate school admissions. A CV is slightly different from a resume in that it is more of a general summary and history of a broad range of experiences and accomplishments. CVs tend to be more inclusive and longer than resumes. They are most appropriate for candidates with research experience, typically described in greater detail than on a resume.

Note: For the purposes of this class, do not include your GPA on your resume or CV. You can use a placeholder (such as 3.XX or 3.XX). Don’t forget to change it back to the actual number when submitting a real application!

  • Cover letter. An effective cover letter aims to make a solid connection with its audience (e.g., a hiring manager or faculty member) and convince him/her to select you for an interview. Cover letters should be no more than one page/300-500 words.
    • A letter of application is a type of cover letter that is used to apply to a posted internship, research position, or job for a specific employer.
    • A letter of inquiry is another type of cover letter, used to request consideration for a specific position that is not posted—and which may not even exist yet! A letter of inquiry is targeted to a specific employer or faculty researcher, inquiring as to their need for an intern, research assistant, or entry-level professional. Even though there is no posted opportunity, the inquiry should focus on a specific opportunity in your mind.
  • Application Essays. When applying for research programs (such as REUs), graduate schools, or fellowships, you will usually need to submit an application essay, often called a personal statement or statement of purpose. While the prompts for different programs may differ to an extent, these documents generally serve to describe your goals, qualifications and experience (whether academic, research, or leadership). A typical length is 700-1000 words.

AUDIENCE

The intended audience for each set of application materials is the person who will make the decision as to which candidates would receive an interview for the opportunity.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES AND ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Through this assignment, you will gain practice in representing yourself and your professional identity/identities through specialized written genres (resume, CV, cover letter, and/or application essay), as well as in tailoring your message to two distinct audiences for different purposes.

This assignment will be reviewed as part of the midpoint and final portfolios. It will be assessed based the following criteria:

  • Materials clearly target two different audiences and opportunities
  • Materials demonstrate interest in and understanding of each audience and the opportunities you are seeking
  • Each document works effectively within the appropriate conventions of its genre (e.g., resume, cover letter, etc.)
  • The pieces in each set of materials work together as a whole to summarize and relate skills, qualifications, experiences and accomplishments relevant to each audience and goal
  • Each piece balances content and concision effectively
  • Materials are written with professional tone, style and syntax appropriate for each genre
  • Materials are neat, show consistent formatting throughout, and are easy to read

DATES AND DEADLINES

  • First drafts of both sets of application materials due for peer response workshop in class on 10/5 (Goal 1) and 10/19 (Goal 2). In the folder on Googledrive, upload a separate doc for each goal, making the title your name and “Goal 1” or “Goal 2.” In each Goal doc, include your audience analysis, cover letter (or application essay), and resume (or CV). If your formatting is getting screwed up, you can upload pieces separately – just label them so your peers can find them easily.
  • Revised drafts due as part of the Midpoint Portfolio (see separate assignment prompt) on 10/26.
  • Final drafts due as part of the Final Portfolio (see separate assignment prompt) on 12/8.ASSIGNMENT PURPOSE AND DESCRIPTIONYou have now identified and researched two specific audiences with “next step” opportunities of interest (Goal 1 and Goal 2). For this next assignment, you will create application materials for these opportunities in order to explore each unique audience and different aspects of your professional identity, while gaining practice in crafting effective applications to opportunities of interest.You will create two sets of application materials: one set for each of the two opportunities and audiences you researched and wrote about in your two audience analyses (Goal 1 and Goal 2). At least one set should be comprised of a resume and cover letter. For the other set, a CV may substitute for one resume, and an application essay may substitute for the cover letter. If you have questions about the types of documents most appropriate for the goals you selected, consult the information below and/or your instructor.
    • Resume. A resume is essentially a marketing document designed to summarize and present your qualifications to a potential employer. Through strategic organization and content emphasis, a resume should effectively “speak” to its audience (the employer) and communicate experiences and skills that are relevant to the position you are seeking. Resumes typically receive an initial review of 10-20 seconds, so they should be attractively designed and easily scanned for important information that will make your audience want to learn more about you.
    • CV (Curriculum Vitae). Another type of document that summarizes and presents qualifications is a CV for research opportunities and graduate school admissions. A CV is slightly different from a resume in that it is more of a general summary and history of a broad range of experiences and accomplishments. CVs tend to be more inclusive and longer than resumes. They are most appropriate for candidates with research experience, typically described in greater detail than on a resume.

    Note: For the purposes of this class, do not include your GPA on your resume or CV. You can use a placeholder (such as 3.XX or 3.XX). Don’t forget to change it back to the actual number when submitting a real application!

    • Cover letter. An effective cover letter aims to make a solid connection with its audience (e.g., a hiring manager or faculty member) and convince him/her to select you for an interview. Cover letters should be no more than one page/300-500 words.
      • A letter of application is a type of cover letter that is used to apply to a posted internship, research position, or job for a specific employer.
      • A letter of inquiry is another type of cover letter, used to request consideration for a specific position that is not posted—and which may not even exist yet! A letter of inquiry is targeted to a specific employer or faculty researcher, inquiring as to their need for an intern, research assistant, or entry-level professional. Even though there is no posted opportunity, the inquiry should focus on a specific opportunity in your mind.
    • Application Essays. When applying for research programs (such as REUs), graduate schools, or fellowships, you will usually need to submit an application essay, often called a personal statement or statement of purpose. While the prompts for different programs may differ to an extent, these documents generally serve to describe your goals, qualifications and experience (whether academic, research, or leadership). A typical length is 700-1000 words.

    AUDIENCEThe intended audience for each set of application materials is the person who will make the decision as to which candidates would receive an interview for the opportunity.LEARNING OBJECTIVES AND ASSESSMENT CRITERIAThrough this assignment, you will gain practice in representing yourself and your professional identity/identities through specialized written genres (resume, CV, cover letter, and/or application essay), as well as in tailoring your message to two distinct audiences for different purposes.This assignment will be reviewed as part of the midpoint and final portfolios. It will be assessed based the following criteria:

    • Materials clearly target two different audiences and opportunities
    • Materials demonstrate interest in and understanding of each audience and the opportunities you are seeking
    • Each document works effectively within the appropriate conventions of its genre (e.g., resume, cover letter, etc.)
    • The pieces in each set of materials work together as a whole to summarize and relate skills, qualifications, experiences and accomplishments relevant to each audience and goal
    • Each piece balances content and concision effectively
    • Materials are written with professional tone, style and syntax appropriate for each genre
    • Materials are neat, show consistent formatting throughout, and are easy to read

    DATES AND DEADLINES

    • First drafts of both sets of application materials due for peer response workshop in class on 10/5 (Goal 1) and 10/19 (Goal 2). In the folder on Googledrive, upload a separate doc for each goal, making the title your name and “Goal 1” or “Goal 2.” In each Goal doc, include your audience analysis, cover letter (or application essay), and resume (or CV). If your formatting is getting screwed up, you can upload pieces separately – just label them so your peers can find them easily.
    • Revised drafts due as part of the Midpoint Portfolio (see separate assignment prompt) on 10/26.
    • Final drafts due as part of the Final Portfolio (see separate assignment prompt) on 12/8.

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