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Kristians project 1 feedback

Page history last edited by Ben 9 years, 5 months ago

Cover Letter


Phase One: Analyzing Cover Letters and Giving (Critical and Generous) Feedback


Reading Task 1:  Mine for Content and Test its Persuasiveness

  1. Quickly Read over the cover letter once.  To help the author make some decisions, note your initial impressions about the letter (note anything that comes to mind: what stands out?  what seems strongest about the letter?  what seems weakest about the letter?).  Then list off four 'keywords' that stand out.
  2. Read it again and look to see if the letter answers the three key questions (if all three are relevant) on p. 46.  Note whether or not the questions are answered well by:
    1. conveying a suitable ETHOS and PATHOS (appropriate enthusiasm or desire, persuasive qualifications, experiences or credentials)
    2. conveying that the employer has been RESEARCHED, by noting a reader-centered fact (do they compare this position or company to another one? do they specifically note something about the position that the organization values, like a specific innovation, process or goal?)
  3. Read the letter again and consider if it meets the 5 goals in Anderson's Guideline Three (p. 47-48).  Does the overall organization of the letter seem well balanced in providing these, or does it out of balance? (i.e. Does it spend too much time with one objective rather than another?)
  4. Comment on the cover letter's effectiveness as an argument.  Does it:
    • Show readers the author possesses the most important skills s/he seeks (a good match for the organization's mission/goals and job requirements).
    • Convince readers that the company will benefit from hiring the applicant (how s/he will help them).
    • Include in each paragraph a strong reason why your employer should hire this person and how they will benefit from the relationship.



Reading Task 2: Editing for Style, Concision and Mechanics 

  1. Quietly read the letter out loud, and use your group expertise to focus on style (our only key focus here will be on using mainly the 'active voice'), concision (avoiding overly long or complex sentences or sections) and mechanics/grammar.  Do your best to leverage team expertise to help edit each document



Content and Persuasion

  • Her job experience was impressive. 
  • The information is there but it takes too long to read, not really scannable.
  • Take a look at example in book or online examples (using bullets, concise sentences etc.).
  • Key words are plentiful including, but not limited to: leadership, responsible, skills, expert.
  • Displays an interest in the position.
  • Gives good qualifications for the job, including those that the employer would find impressive.
  • Displays research of the position.
  • Follows the five guidelines from Anderson.
  • Very persuasive and provides plenty of reasons for the employer to call for an interview at the very least


Concision and mechanics 

  • Uses the active voice
  • Think about shortening the letter overall, (see above).
  • Shorten sentences
  • Grammar is generally good 
  • Try to stay away from overly complex sentences or special characters like ellipses (...).



Phase Two: Reading and Critiquing Resumes 


Reading Task 1: Scan the Resume

  1. The three things Anderson says employers look for in resumes are technical expertise, supporting abilities, and favorable personal qualities.  In a quick reading (less than one minute!), try to identify as many as you can of each of these (*note: supporting abilities can be social skills, communication skills or intellectual skills).  List these off as key words that stand out to you as readers.  Do these match up well with the list on Anderson's p.43?  Is there a notable gap?
  2. Read the audience analysis linked on the author's class roster page. Then scan the resume's headings only, before answering the following:
    1. To you, do these headings emphasize a skills resume or experience resume? 
    2. Do the headings direct you (easily and quickly) to a major accomplishment or impressive skill?
    3. What is the balance of employment history, skills and education?  Does this balance suit the position being applied for?
    4. Did their audience analysis seem sufficient?  Should they extend this in some way, and if so what should they be analyzing and why? 


Reading Task 2:  Critique Key Sections 

The three ways employers read resumes are (1) initial screening, (2) detailed examination of the most promising applications, and (3) reading beyond the resume in preparation for in-depth interviewing. 


Give a Detailed Examination of the Education Section and consider these key questions:

  1. Does this section highlight courses that are relevant (giving course titles and brief descriptions, not course numbers)?
  2. Does this section highlight a course or two that broadens the range of abilities the applicant brings to the job/internship?
  3. Does this section list any special projects, internships, or advance courses?
  4. Does it list any awards or academic honors? If so, look at tips 1 and 3 from "6 resume secrets backed by psychology" then make any necessary suggestions for improvement. 


Give a Detailed Examination of the Work Experience Section and consider these key questions:

  1. Does this section highlight the following Accomplishments from work or school projects that count as work experience?  Given the application, can they include anything recent or leave a space for this term's work?  Is this ethical? (p. 30)
  2. Does this section do enough to highlight Knowledge gained from work experience? (p. 30)
  3. Does this section do enough to highlight Responsibilities given at work? (p.30) 


Reading Task 3:  Editing for Organization, Style and Ethics

  1. Use Anderson's p.33 to read and critique the organization of bullet points in key sections.
    1. Do lists move in an order that makes sense chronologically or from most to least impressive?
    2. Do they use strong action verbs?  Are they too repetitive? 
    3. Do they use parallel construction?
  2. Given that we are drafting a 'future oriented' resume (including some information from what we're doing right now as students) does any of the information on the resume raise any of the five ethical considerations listed from p. 54?


Resume Scan

  • Resume used key words that stood out (Captain, Honors, Manager), think about using 'Responsible, effective, efficient'
  • Abilities and qualifications listed well
  • This resume has a skills layout, emphasizing education, and specializations rather than on the job experience.
  • The headings are easy to follow and bring the reader directly to different skills and accomplishments
  • The balance of the resume is turned more toward education and courses taken than work experience this is not necessarily bad for the position applied because it shows that the math and critical thinking skills are present
  • The audience analysis was sufficient, it answered the questions that were asked that let the reader know what they needed to know.


Resume Critique


  • The resume highlights key courses relevant to the job applying for, possibly give a SHORT description of the most relevant/important one.
  • The resume lists one or two courses that could broaden their abilities such as the speech class, but if you know a second language do list that even if it's only minor.
  • Honors Political Science and Calculus 3 were both mentioned which are both impressive and can impress future employers
  • Besides Hon. Political Science maybe find another award or accomplishment worth listing
  • In the education section also list that the date given is the intended graduation date 

Work Experience

  • Try to list accomplishments at work (like youngest front-end manager or something like that)
  • Mention how much money you handle or are responsible for keeping track of (if you don't know the exact amount, ballpark it between amount 'A' and 'B')
  • Noted nothing about any knowledge gained at work (for example part of a team or team lead etc.)
  • Responsibilities are pretty clearly listed


Style and Ethics

  • In the specialized courses section try to list the courses from what you view the most important/impressive to least.
  • Action verbs are there, possibly a little sparse
  • Used parallel construction (stayed within the same tense within the same thought)
  • Overall an ethical resume


Phase Three: User Test and Design Critique of Professional Websites

So far in this course we've paid attention to some basic design principles for building wiki pages, drawn from basic design principles discussed in Kramer & Bernhardt — including:


  1. seeing the page as a grid
  2. "active" use of white-space
  3. using text structures to guide the reader (including functional links)
  4. proportional fonts and spacing
  5. controlling style features (in this case, font and color) 
  6. use of images and color to enhance your message and readability   


Reader Task 1:  Judge the basic design and functionality of the website

  1. On the frontpage of the website, do you see the author trying to apply the above six design principles?  Just looking at the website, which of the six needs most improving and how?   
  2. Does this look like a website designed for long-term professional use, or as a website designed for this course project?  What else, if anything, needs changing? 


Reader Task 2:  Test the Site's Usability


Talk as a team, describing in plain language (as if your were thinking aloud) as you click around. Navigate the website and think of yourself as three potential employer trying to use the website, and just think of yourself as a friend trying to help out.  Write down everything you're thinking in rough notes, touching on each of the following:


With all usability tests you want to discover whether the user:

  • gets the point of the page(s) -- do you see a clear purpose for different pages?  Does the purpose make sense for our project and for long term use? What makes most sense to you as you click around?
  • understands the navigation system -- do you understand how to navigate to and from pages?  Is there anywhere you get lost?  Can you guess where to find things?
  • likes/dislikes the site -- is there anything you particularly like or dislike?  is there anything that makes you feel that the cite is amateurish? 



Basic Design and functionality

  • The website is very bare 
  • More use of 'whitespace'
  • Has a view images on the site
  • Add more text, an about you section, what the site is etc.
  • The website has the potential to be used for a long-term period but as it stands now it is only for this course



  • Home page doesn't really do anything for the site as of now
  • The 'about' section has a photo and links to organizations involved in (maybe make these real links) but nothing else, should add a small bio, or description of yourself
  • Contact Page has no info should add easiest way to get in touch with you address is not necessary here
  • If you click the assignments button it takes you to a blank page, maybe link the resume and cover letter pages here as well  
  • The dropdown menu is cool, less links to follow
  • The purpose for the pages is apparent the information just needs to be there
  • Navigation is easy and straightforward
  • The site has potential to be a long-term thing, but the info just needs to get there 

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