Why Your Job Cover Letter Sucks (and what you can do to fix it) For the next few months I will be posting the “best of the best” Professor is in blog posts on the job market, for the benefit of all those girding their loins for the 2013-2014 market. Today’s post was originally published in 2011. I’ve now read about two thousand more job letters than I mention here. All the advice still applies. In my 15 years as a faculty member I served on approximately 11 search committees. Estimating that each search brought in an average of 200 applications (a conservative estimate for a field like Anthropology, a generous estimate for a much smaller field like East Asian Languages and Literatures), that means I have read approximately 2200 job applications. That means I’ve read 2200 job cover letters. I’ve also read the cover letters of my own students, and a passel of Ph.D. students who came to me for advice, as well as a large number of clients since opening The Professor is In (as of July 2012 let’s say 600). What’s up with that? Here’s what’s up with that. 1.
Tools for Writing: Points of View in Writing There are three different points of view that can be used in writing: first person, second person, and third person. In academic writing, the third person point of view is usually clearer and allows a writer to come across as more credible. Due to this and other reasons, the third person point of view is considered the best in academic writing. First person occurs primarily through the use of the pronoun “I.” Second person involves the use of the pronoun “you” to refer to the reader. All beginning college students should learn how to write well. Notice the shift that occurred from the first sentence, which is written in the third person, to the second sentence, which is written in the second person. Revised: All beginning college students should learn how to write well. Third Person involves directly stating who is being written about without using the words I, me, we, us, or you. To clarify, here are examples of sentences written in the various points of view:
OWL Writing Exercises These OWL resources offer information and exercises on how to clarify sentences and specifically discuss sentence clauses, sentence fragments, sentence structure, and subject-verb agreement. Please use the navigation bar on the left or the links below to access the individual exercises. Sentence Clauses: Independent and Dependent Clauses This resource provides exercises on the differences between independent and dependent clauses that you may print. Once you print the exercise, identify and correct the misuse of these clauses. Click the "Go to Answers" link to see the answers for this exercise. Sentence Fragments This resource includes three exercises on fragments of increasing difficulty that ask you to identify and correct sentence fragments. Sentence Structure This exercise in this resource asks you to apply your knowledge about common errors in sentence structure: run-ons, commas splices, and fused sentences. Subject-Verb Agreement
OWL: Subject/Verb Agreement Summary: Ever get "subject/verb agreement" as an error on a paper? This handout will help you understand this common grammar problem. Contributors:Joshua M. Paiz, Chris Berry, Allen BrizeeLast Edited: 2014-04-01 10:34:43 This handout gives you several guidelines to help your subjects and verbs agree. 1. She and her friends are at the fair. 2. The book or the pen is in the drawer. 3. The boy or his friends run every day. His friends or the boy runs every day. 4. He doesn't like it. They don't like it. 5. One of the boxes is open The people who listen to that music are few. The team captain, as well as his players, is anxious. The book, including all the chapters in the first section, is boring. The woman with all the dogs walks down my street. 6. Each of these hot dogs is juicy. Everybody knows Mr. Either is correct. 7. The news is on at six. Note: the word dollars is a special case. Five dollars is a lot of money. Dollars are often used instead of rubles in Russia. 8. These scissors are dull. 9. 10. 11.
Methods of communication - Getting the message across - the importance of good communications - HMRC | HMRC case studies and information The best communication methods succeed in putting across the right message in a clear, unambiguous way that gets noticed by the target audience, whilst also saving on time and cost. Good communicators succeed in choosing the best medium of communication for the particular purpose in mind. For external communications, the Inland Revenue typically uses: Written communications dispatched by mail e.g. statements detailing tax liabilities and payment schedules. The Inland Revenue uses similar methods for internal communications e.g. Written communications - internal memos, staff magazines, notices or posters on staff notice boards.Oral communications - phone conversations between employees.Face-to-face - team briefings, meetings and presentations.Online - internal e-mails and intranet. Face-to-face conversations and oral communications make possible more detailed discussions to clarify issues.
OWL: Verb Tenses Summary: This handout explains and describes the sequence of verb tenses in English. Contributors:Chris Berry, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth AngeliLast Edited: 2013-09-14 09:29:01 Strictly speaking, in English, only two tenses are marked in the verb alone, present (as in "he sings") and past (as in "he sang"). Simple Present: They walk Present Perfect: They have walked Simple Past: They walked Past Perfect: They had walked Future: They will walk Future Perfect: They will have walked Problems in sequencing tenses usually occur with the perfect tenses, all of which are formed by adding an auxiliary or auxiliaries to the past participle, the third principal part. ring, rang, rung walk, walked, walked The most common auxiliaries are forms of "be," "can," "do," "may," "must," "ought," "shall," "will," "has," "have," "had," and they are the forms we shall use in this most basic discussion. Present Perfect The present perfect consists of a past participle (the third principal part) with "has" or "have." 1. 2.
OWL: Creating a Thesis Statement Summary: This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements. Contributors:Elyssa Tardiff, Allen BrizeeLast Edited: 2014-02-10 10:44:43 Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement 1. An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader. 2. 3. 4. Thesis Statement Examples Example of an analytical thesis statement: The paper that follows should: Explain the analysis of the college admission processExplain the challenge facing admissions counselors
Free English Grammar Lessons and Tests OWL: Paraphrase Exercises Summary: This resource discusses how to paraphrase correctly and accurately. Contributors:Purdue OWLLast Edited: 2016-06-30 09:41:14 Learn to borrow from a source without plagiarizing. A paraphrase is... your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.one legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.a more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea. Paraphrasing is a valuable skill because... it is better than quoting information from an undistinguished passage.it helps you control the temptation to quote too much.the mental process required for successful paraphrasing helps you to grasp the full meaning of the original. 6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing Some examples to compare The original passage: Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. A legitimate paraphrase:
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mshesso:Grammar AA = Avoid Anthropomorphism Do not assign uniquely human qualities to inanimate objects. For instance, results do not think and the literature does not believe. Inanimate objects or concepts can perform actions, such as supporting theories, demonstrating effects, and so forth, but they cannot engage in strictly human activities such as thinking and believing. See Section 3.09 (Precision and Clarity - Attribution), p. 69 of the APA Publication Manual for further details. Return to the Table of Contents. AWO = Awkward Word Order Clear writing depends on a logical word order; placing words in an awkward order can obscure the meaning entirely or confuse the reader. , may have been used to suggest an alternative word order. The APA Publication Manual does not provide further details. BL = Biased Language It is very important to make sure that our language is unbiased and to avoid subtle forms of unintential bias. Describe at the appropriate level of specificity. Be sensitive to labels. See also S/H.
Academic Writing These OWL resources will help you with the types of writing you may encounter while in college. The OWL resources range from rhetorical approaches for writing, to document organization, to sentence level work, such as clarity. For specific examples of writing assignments, please see our Common Writing Assignments area. The Rhetorical Situation This presentation is designed to introduce your students to a variety of factors that contribute to strong, well-organized writing. Establishing Arguments These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing. Logic in Argumentative Writing This resource covers using logic within writing—logical vocabulary, logical fallacies, and other types of logos-based reasoning. Paragraphs and Paragraphing The purpose of this handout is to give some basic instruction and advice regarding the creation of understandable and coherent paragraphs. Essay Writing Conciseness Paramedic Method: A Lesson in Writing Concisely Reverse Paramedic Method
STANDARD OUTLINE FOR RESEARCH P Not only will this outline help you write, it will help you skim college-level reading. Note: In a group project, each individual’s paper—like chapters-- may follow IV-VII. Later, write I, II, III &, VII-VIII to frame all of the individual sections coherently. This is a guideline, not a Bible!!! Content determines format; write to affect an audience. I. II. III. IV. V. Exploratory: Differences exist between Mt. Argument: Because of the implications of Mt. VI. · compare/contrast (cultures, genders, nations, ethnicities, etc. produce multiple viewpts. to compare) · cause/effect (or correlation) · problem/solution VII. VIII. IX. · It is hard to do all this credibly in less than 10 pages + References + Abstract + Title Page. · You may choose to use subtitles for your sections. · Remember: if what you are saying is complex and would be more easily understood in a graph or other visual, include one!!! · Be very careful with your tone and analyze tone in others' writing.
An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments A reader recently wrote in asking if I could share a bit about the process of putting the book together and talk about how the project started. Certainly. I go on two solitary walks every day. It was on a day in October of last year when, during one of those quiet moments on that bench, I recalled my college years and how outspoken I happened to be during them, an observation only made interesting by the fact that I have since turned into the quietest of beings. A realization that coincided with that nostalgic whiff was that a sizable amount of the discourse nowadays continues to be plagued with bad reasoning. Hence, the idea that finally shook me into soberness was one that had been fermenting for a while. Once I had a draft version of the book ready, I sent it to one of my life-long idols, Marvin Minsky, co-founder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab and author of The Society of Mind. The cover is inspired by one of my favorite games growing up: LucasArts' Monkey Island series.