Project 1: Employment Project

During the Employment Project, you will learn strategies for seeking and securing employment or an internship, with particular attention to the documents people normally use to represent themselves and their prospects to potential employers. This project asks you to work individually, but there will also be chances for you to work with your peers to exchange ideas and feedback in your blogs.

Project Prompt and Summary

Locate a real and specific job or internship for which you are qualified and prepare the application materials for it. If you already have a good job, find one that would be an advance for you, then prepare application materials for that position. Alternatively, you may want to apply for an internship that will give you valuable experience. Step 1 of the project asks you to learn about and use various resources for job seekers and ultimately to select one job or internship to pursue. Steps 2 and 3 ask you to prepare the all-important "Job Application Letter" and a resume specifically designed for the job or internship you've selected in Step 1. In the process of completing each step, you will work closely with your peers and me to shape your writing so that it represents you and your experience fully and effectively, given the rhetorical circumstances. You will also study and respond to examples from the textbook.

Project Goals

This project emphasizes several important goals that all professional writers should bear in mind and that are consistent with those of the Professional Writing Program at Purdue. In the Employment Project, you will learn to shape your writing for very specific situations and purposes:

Writing in Context

  • writing for a range of defined audiences and stakeholders

Project Management

  • Understand, develop and deploy various strategies for planning, researching, drafting, revising, and editing documents both individually and collaboratively.
  • Select and use appropriate technologies that effectively and ethically address professional situations and audiences.
  • Build professional ethos through documentation and accountability.

Document Design
Make rhetorical design decisions about workplace documents, including

  • understanding and adapting to genre conventions and audience expectations
  • understanding and implementing design principles of format and layout
  • interpreting and arguing with design
  • drafting, researching, testing, and revising visual designs and information architecture

Learn and apply strategies for successful teamwork and collaboration, such as

  • working online with colleagues
  • responding constructively to peers' work

Understand and use various research methods to produce professional documents, including

  • analyzing professional contexts


The Employment Project is worth 15% of your course grade. The breakdown for each of its components is as follows: Step 1: Skills Inventory, Job Description and Job Ad Analysis (10%); Step 2: Job Application Letter (45%); Step 3: Print Resume (45%).

Grading Criteria

When grading your project, I will pay particular attention to see whether you have effectively adapted your documents to the job for which you have applied. Your writing will need to be precise, accurate, and well-suited to the context (the job/field) and to the rhetorical occasion (in terms of tone, style, and content). In this case, a generic, catch-all resume and cover letter will not satisfy the requirements of the project.  No document with even ONE typo, misspelling, or grammar error will get an A.


Step 1Skills Inventory, Job Description and Job Ad Analysis . Find a job ad and produce an exact copy of it. Then do some analysis and reflection. Fill out the Job Ad Analysis form; the rough draft is due by classtime Friday, September 5. The final draft is due by classtime Monday, September 8.

Step 2Job Application Letter. The job application letter is critical to your efforts to secure a job, perhaps as critical as your resume itself. For Project 1, your letter should be no longer than one or two pages (one is preferable in most cases), following the suggestions and models discussed during class. You must bring a hard copy of your cover letter rough draft on Friday, September 12. Your letter should be context-specific and should contain the required five parts (heading, greeting, opening, persuasion, closing) in the format shown in our text (the Rhetoric of the Job Application Letter and Types of Employment Documents) and in resources like the OWL.

Step 3Print-Based Resume. Your printable resume (one or more pages in length, depending upon the type of job and the depth of your experience) should adapt features drawn from the samples discussed in class or available for review at the Online Writing Lab. It's critical that you shape your resume to the specific job or internship you have chosen to apply for (that it's suited to the context), so be sure to include only the relevant aspects of your professional experience. As in the Job Application Letter, your writing needs to be error-free, concise, and presented in an easily readable format. The rough draft of your resume is due by midnight Monday, September 22 - that's right, midnight. E-mail it to me. We'll begin resume conferences on Tuesday.  Make sure to review the principles, guidelines, and resume samples in PW Online and the Resume PowerPoint, and attempt to apply the content and design guidelines to your resume.


Final Drafts of Cover Letter and Resume Due Monday, September 29.