Job Application Materials

This is the post for the August 8, 2014 class meeting.

Today we have some resources for your work on Project 6 and a number of options to post in the forums. I have graded and released Projects 1 and 2, so you should be able to find your grade and feedback in Scholar.

Next, I’m going to skip ahead and grade Project 4 next, so that you have the feedback on your proposals. After I get through Project 4, I will go back and grade Project 3. I hope to have feedback on both these projects back to you by Monday night.

Class Work for August 8

These are the tasks to complete for today’s work:

  • Reaching the forum posts requirement
  • Writing résumés and cover letters
  • Discussing job application materials
  • Go over an optional forum post question

Reaching the Forum Posts Requirement

There have been some questions about the post levels for the forum grades, which are currently set at the following numbers:

  • C-level forum participation: 45 posts
  • B-level forum participation: 55 posts
  • A-level forum participation: 65 posts

I adjusted the numbers down yesterday (8/7) from the original requirements (B = 60; A=75). For now, I am leaving the numbers as they are. There is still a week left in the class, and there will be a number of opportunities to make additional posts during these last days of the course. I may create a curve at the end of next week, but the 45 post minimum, which was announced at the beginning of the term, will stand firm.

Remember that you have until the last day of class (the 14th) to reach the number. In your Project 5 report, you can indicate where you are currently and where you anticipate you will be by the end of the course.

Writing Résumés and Cover Letters

Although you may not be writing a résumé and cover letter for Project 6, you will certainly have to write these documents and keep them updated over the course of your career. Since that’s the case, I want to spend a little time pointing out some useful information you can use when you do work on job application materials.

  • There’s good information in chapter 10 of Markel, including details on how to adjust your documents for electronic submissions.

  • Use the example résumés and cover letters in either the 2013–2014 Career Planning Guide or the 2014–2015 Career Planning Guide. Career Services publishes information on exactly what recruiters who come to Virginia Tech are looking for. When you’re back on campus, be sure to take advantage of the resources that Career Services offers. They have workshops, presentations, and even advising appointments.

  • Pay attention to the Correspondence Principles for Hard Copy and E-mail section of the 2013–2014 Career Planning Guide and/or the Professional Communication section of the 2014–2015 Career Planning Guide for tips on not just cover letters, but also the other kinds of communication you will need to make.

Discussing Job Application Materials

As I promised above, I have set up a lot of opportunities for you to add posts in the forums. In the Project 6: Job Application Materials section of the forums, you will find the following topics:

By midnight in your timezone on Sunday night, please reply to ONE of the topics above, but you may reply to more if you desire.

If you are working to meet your goal for the number of posts in the forums, you may reply to more than one of these topics. Additionally, you may interact with your classmates by quoting a portion of someone else’s reply and responding with your own thoughts. Just remember that “me too” posts, where you just say something like “I agree” or “great idea” don’t count toward your total number of posts. Say why you agree (or disagree) and include details to support your opinions.

Optional Forum Post Question

I have also posted an optional forum topic: Recommended Job Application Resources. You can share useful job application resources that you find while working on Project 6 in this forum. The format for your posts is included in the forums. Essentially, you will provide details on the resources you have found and a short summary of the information from the resources.

The goal of this forum topic is to crowdsource a list of additional resources that everyone in the class can use to improve the job application materials in Project 6. You may most more than one resources in reply, but please be sure that each webpage you recommend is listed in a separate reply. I want you to keep the resources in separate replies for two reasons: (1) it will help your classmates as they look through the list for helpful sites, and (2) every separate reply counts as a post in the post levels for the forum grades.

Working on Projects 5 & 6

This is the post for the August 7, 2014 class meeting.

Today, we will look at the assignments for Project 5 and Project 6, the two projects remaining in the course.

Class Work for August 7

These are the tasks to complete for today’s work:

  • Finding comments on graded work
  • Talk about the assignment for Project 5
  • Review the assignment for Project 6
  • Discuss powerful word choice

Finding Comments on Graded Work

I am working through the projects you have submitted as quickly as possible. As I grade projects, I do release them immediately. You may get an email message when they are released, depending upon the settings in Scholar. You can always tell what has been graded by looking at the Gradebook in Scholar or going to the Assignments page in Scholar. If you are unfamiliar with Scholar, you can use these instructions to learn how to find feedback on your Assignments.

Getting Started on Project 5

For Project 5, you will review your work in the course and write a completion report that outlines what you have learned and done during the term. In particular, you will review your posts on the Forums and point out some of your best work. In addition to grading your report, I’ll use the information you present to help determine your participation grade for the course. In the workplace, you could think of this report as a self-evaluation for a performance review.

Here’s what you need to do to get started:

  1. Read the assignment for Project 5 completely. Begin gathering data on your forum work, explained in Step 2 of the assignment.

  2. If you have any questions (today or in the future) about the assignments, post in Questions about Project 5 topic if you have questions about the report.

Continuing Work on Project 6

Project 6, your final exam, is due by midnight in your timezone on Friday, August 15. A rough draft of your work is due for peer review on Thursday, August 14.

Move forward assuming that I have approved your proposal for the job application materials you will submit. I will get feedback to you on the proposals as soon as possible. In the meantime, move forward writing (or compiling) the materials as you proposed them.

Discussing Powerful Word Choice

Choosing strong, powerful verbs is an important part of both Project 5 and 6. Review the Skills Cluster List (p. 44) in the 2013–2014 Career Planning Guide and the Power Skills for Your Resume and Resume Bullet Formula (p. 37–40) in the 2014–2015 Career Planning Guide. These resources demonstrate the kinds of verbs you can use to show yourself as a strong, active person.

Notice in particular how the example in the bullet formula in the 2014–2015 Guide moves from a generic idea (“communication skills”) to a very strong statement about what the person has accomplished. That idea of highlighting your “Demonstrated Accomplishment/Contribution” is what you should work for in your report for Project 5 and your job application materials for Project 6. For instance, rather than saying you were a strong forum participant in your Project 5 report, choose a strong verb and add clarifying details the show your accomplishment or contribution.

Go to the Project 5: Completion Report in the Forums and respond to at least one of the three self-assessment statements there:

You will find questions there to get your conversation started. As always, feel free to engage each other in discussion by quoting one another as you reply. You are only required to post a reply to one of the three statements; however, you may feel free to reply to more than one. In fact, if you have not met your minimum requirement for the forums yet, you can take advantage of this chance to post some extra replies.

Submitting Project 4

This is the post for the August 5, 2014 class meeting.

Today is the due date for Project 4. Aim to submit your work by midnight in your timezone, but remember that you have a 24-hour, grace period if you need it. No excuses needed. If something has gone wrong in your world and 24 hours may not be enough, contact me immediately and let me know what you need.

Class Work for August 5

These are the tasks to complete for today’s work:

  • Go over the requirements for Project 4.
  • Review the location of the FAQs for using Google Drive.
  • Discuss the reflection memo and how to submit Project 4 in Scholar.

Requirements for Project 4

You need to turn in a reflection memo as well as a link to your proposal. Use the project assignment and the Writer’s Checklist on pages 296 of Markel to check your work. In particular, make sure that your proposal that includes all the required components:

  • summary (p. 282–283)
  • introduction, which explains the findings of your research and your needs (p. 283)
  • proposed tasks, that is what you propose to create for Project 6 (p. 283–286)
  • task schedule (p. 287–289)
  • evaluation techniques (p. 289), which outlines three levels of work:
    • Average Work ( a C project)
    • Above-Average Work (a B project)
    • Excellent Work (an A project)

    Check the details on the evaluation section in the Announcement posted 8/5 in Scholar.

For all the documents you turn in, remember to check your spelling and proofread for grammar and punctuation.

Google Drive FAQs

Note: this is the same information you followed in Project 1. I’m including it as a reference in case you need a reminder.

To make sure that you can submit your project smoothly, pay attention to the following FAQs:

Writing Your Reflection Memo and Submitting Your Project

Your reflection memo is your chance to tell me anything you want me to know before I read your project. For this project, your reflection memo will give me the link to your spreadsheet on Google Drive and the link to your analysis memo if you created one. You will also tell me about what you have written. Follow these instructions to submit your work:

  1. Go to the Assignments tab on the left menu in Scholar.
  2. Choose “P4: Proposal.”
  3. Scroll down to the text box below the headings Submission and Assignment Text. You will write your memo in this box. (Alternately, you can write in a word processor/Google Doc, and copy/paste your text into this box.)
  4. Add your memo headers (To, From, Subject, and Date). For your reflection memo, you’ll use the following:
    • Address your memo to me (Traci) and from yourself (use your name).
    • Add a subject line that indicates this is your reflection memo and which project it is for.
    • Add the current date.
  5. Insert a horizontal divider line using the button indicated with the red arrow in the image below:
    Insert Horizontal Line button in Scholar
  6. Introduce your project—what are your overall goals, what grade have you aimed for, and what documents have you written for the project?
  7. Add the Share link to the document on your Google Drive. Use the instructions for how to get the Share link on the FAQ site if you are unsure how to share documents.
  8. Tell me what I need to know to understand the information you have included in your document.
  9. Tell me anything else you want me to know about the the layout and design..
  10. Add a concluding section that tells me anything else you want me to know about your project.
  11. Agree to the Honor Code by clicking the checkbox at the bottom of the page in Scholar. You cannot finish submitting the project without clicking that checkbox (and it’s easy to miss).
  12. Submit your Project, and save a copy of the confirmation and submission ID. If something goes wrong in Scholar, you can contact 4HELP with that information.
  13. You’re done! Project 5 will be a progress and completion report that focuses on the work you have done during the term. Project 6 (the final exam) is the job application materials you proposed in Project 4.

Peer Review for Project 4

This is the post for the August 4, 2014 class meeting.

Today, we have peer review for Project 4 scheduled. We’ll follow the same process as we have on the other assignments, so this should be routine for you this time. I hope to have feedback on the work you have submitted to you soon.

Class Work for August 4

Today we focus on peer review for Project 4, using Google Drive. The process will be just like the peer review you did last week. Here are the tasks to complete for today’s work:

  • Refresh yourself on the documentation for the comment system in Google Drive.
  • Post drafts for Project 4 in the forums.
  • Respond to two students on Google Drive and in the forums.
  • Review the comments on your own work.

Refresher on the Google Drive Comment System

If you need a reminder on the comment and sharing systems in Google Drive, use the step-by-step instructions for how to use Google Drive for peer review on the FAQ site, which includes details on how to share your document, how to comment, and how to respond to comments.  If you need a more detailed explanation, be sure to check out the Lynda video on “Commenting on a file.”

Posting Your Drafts for Project 4

You will post the share link to your draft in the forums:

  1. Go to the Project 4: Proposal for Job Application Materials forum, and create a topic for your draft with your name or your username (e.g., “Traci’s proposal”).

  2. Post a reply in your topic, doing the following:
    • If you do not want to share your last name in the forums, change it in your draft to a pseudonym. You can use a generic last name like Doe or Smith, or you can change it to Lastname.
    • Share the link(s) to your Project 4 drafts in Google Docs, using the FAQ linked in the Refresher section above.
  3. Let your classmates know about any specific concerns that you want them to consider as they comment on your draft.

  4. Be sure to Preview your draft to make sure everything shows up the way you want it to, and then submit your post.

Responding to Your Classmates’ Drafts

Follow these instructions to respond to your classmates’s drafts:

  1. Read and comment on the drafts of at least two of your classmates:

    • Find one post that no other student has replied to (so that we can be sure everyone gets a reply).
    • Find a second post that has only one other student reply.
  2. Use the Share link to go to your classmate’s draft on Google Drive and do the following:

    • Check the title of the document(s), and add a comment to tell your partner if it is clear and effective.
    • If you notice any spelling errors, punctuation errors, or typos, mark them as you read, but please focus more on the content rather than editing.
    • Add comments on the content of the draft. Comment on at least three things your classmate does well and at least three things that your classmate could improve on. It’s fine (excellent, even) to include more than the minimum number of comments.
    • As you check the documents, check that the proposal includes the following required sections and add a comment if anything is missing:
      • summary (p. 282–283)
      • introduction, which explains the findings of the writer’s research and the writer’s needs (p. 283)
      • proposed tasks, that is what the writer proposes to create for Project 6 (p. 283–286)
      • task schedule (p. 287–289)
      • evaluation techniques (p. 289), which outlines three levels of work:
        • Average Work ( a C project)
        • Above-Average Work (a B project)
        • Excellent Work (an A project)
  3. Once you finish commenting on the document, go back to your classmate’s post in the forums and add an overall comment that sums up what you thought of the paper and gives your partner some encouragement.

Reviewing the Comments You Received

Once you have finished adding comments to your classmates’ projects, return to your own draft, read the comments that your classmates have given you, and add replies as appropriate. For instance, you might thank your partner for catching an error, ask your partner for more detail on feedback you don’t understand, or share a revision and ask your partner if it is an improvement. Your goal is to reply today so that your classmate can respond if you need more information.

Working on Proposals

This is the post for the July 31 and August 1, 2014 class meeting.

Our last post for this week includes information on the proposals you are writing for Project 4 and some additional resources you can use both for Project 4 and Project 6.

Class Work for July 31 and August 1

These are the tasks to complete for today’s work:

  • Go over grade level expectations for Project 4
  • Share some tips for writing your proposal
  • Point to additional job application resources
  • Discuss persuasive techniques

Grade Levels for Project 4

I’ve posted expectations for the C-, B-, and A-level work for Project 4. You can also find the document under the Assignments menu at the top of the page, in the submenu under Projects 4 and 6. If you have any questions about the levels, post in Questions about Project 4 topic or send me an email message.

Writing Proposals

So far, no one has posted any questions about the proposals assignment. I hope that means that you all understand the activity and are busy working on it. Here are some additional tips I can give you as you work:

  • Length: I would guess that the proposal will take at least 2 to 3 pages, single-spaced. As you might guess, the exact length will vary. Your layout and font choices will effect how long the proposal is, of course. Likewise, if you have tables, illustrations, screenshots, or other graphics, those will all probably make the proposal longer.

  • Persuasive Techniques: As the textbook mentions, proposals are all about persuasion (see pp. 279–282). Your job is to persuade me (your reader) that you have made the right choices in the job application materials you will write for Project 6. Think about how you can show me that your choices will help you meet your goals (for instance, get a job, build a professional online presence, etc.)

  • Charts: If you want to create a chart in your proposal, use the video for tips on how to set up your data and create your chart on Google Drive. You will need to login via Virginia Tech for free access to the video.

  • Trouble deciding? If you can’t decide what to propose, let me suggest you choose setting up or improving your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn will walk you through all the different information you can include. It is almost a fill-in-the-blanks résumé builder. You can even export your information to begin work on a more traditional résumé.

Additional Job Application Resources

Use your free access to videos to find additional resources that can help as you decide what to propose. If you were interested in doing something that the textbook doesn’t cover, these videos may be just what you’re looking for. Here are some examples that look as if they could be useful:

Discussing Persuasive Techniques

The 4-minute video below talks about how persuasion works and three ways you can appeal to a reader or audience. The video does rely on audio, so you may want to use headphones if you are in a public space when you watch it.

There’s also an odd moment where a dog mistakes a violinist for a fire hydrant. Try not to worry about that as you watch:

Go to the Discussing the Persuasion Video topic in the forums after you have watched the video and talk about how you can use one or more of the appeals in your proposal to demonstrate why the plan you are presenting is best.

Overview of Projects 4 and 6

This is the post for the July 30, 2014 class meeting.

Today, we will look at the assignments for Project 4 and Project 6, which are related to each other. If you do nothing else today, make sure that you read them and understand how they connect!

Class Work for July 30

These are the tasks to complete for today’s work:

  • Go over Projects 4 and 6
  • List some examples for Project 6
  • Look at information on proposals

Getting Started on Projects 4 and 6

The fourth project for this course is a proposal for the work you will do for the sixth project (which is also the final exam).

  • Project 4 is an informal proposal. You will research the job application expectations for your field and write an informal proposal that explains a job application project you want to complete.
  • Project 6 (your final exam) is your job application materials. You will create whatever job application materials you proposed in Project 4, with my approval. The specifics for this project will be up to you.

The goal for these projects is for you to identify something that you can use and that you need or want to create. I used to ask all students to write a relatively conventional résumé and cover letter. The problem is that you may not need a résumé and cover letter. You might need something like an online portfolio or an internship application. By opening the project up, I can let you write whatever you need or want to create for Project 6 (the final exam).

Because Project 6 is wide open however, I need you to tell me what you plan to work and approve your plan. Project 4 is where you tell me what you need to create and set goals for what you will turn in. You will write an informal, short report that tells me about what people in your field usually write and what you have chosen to create. Your proposal will include levels for C, B, and A work.

So here’s what you need to do to get started:

  1. Read the assignment for Project 4 and 6 completely. Begin thinking about the job application documents you need (or want) to create. You don’t have to commit to anything yet, but start thinking about it.

  2. If you have any questions (today or in the future) about the assignments, go to the forums:

Examples for Project 6

As I explain in the assignment, I am referring to what you are working on for Project 6 as “job application materials.” In reality, you do not have to create materials for applying for a job. You have many other options. To show you want I mean, I want to tell you about some of the projects that students have done in the past. You don’t have to choose something from this list. The idea is simply to help you understand the options:

  • a job posting and a résumé and cover letter you would use to apply for the job
  • an internship announcement and the materials you would use to apply for the internship
  • a scholarship announcement and the materials you would use to apply for that scholarship
  • a before image (PDF) of your LinkedIn profile and a link to your revised LinkedIn profile
  • before images of several online profiles (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) and then links to your newly cleaned up profiles
  • the link to a website you have built as a portfolio, which provides info about yourself and your accomplishments
  • the link to your GitHub repository with descriptions and well-documented code for projects you have done
  • the link to your profile, which provides info on your education and projects you have done
  • the link to a YouTube video that gives a guided tour of some work that you have done or presentations you have given

This list is just some of the options. You can do whatever makes sense for your field and career goals. You can combine and rearrange things as well. For example, I had some students in the past who cleaned up their existing online profiles and then created a LinkedIn profile to build a professional online persona.

I cannot stress enough that this is your chance to work on a project that you can use now and in the future. I’ve had students, for instance, who told me that their in-major advisors or advisors at Career Services kept telling them they needed to set up profiles on LinkedIn, but they never had time. They used this project to get that work done.

Writing Proposals

The proposal that you will write for Project 4 is a short, informal report. Chapter 11 of the textbook provides details on more complex proposals than what you are doing. You will often find that textbook descriptions do not match the writing that you do exactly, and this proposal is a good example. The assignment outlines the parts that your proposal needs to include and the relevant details on each section in the text:

  • summary (p. 282–283)
  • introduction, which explains the findings of your research and your needs (p. 283)
  • proposed tasks, that is what you propose to create for Project 6 (p. 283–286)
  • task schedule (p. 287–289)
  • evaluation techniques (p. 289), which outlines three levels of work:
    • Average Work (a C project)
    • Above-Average Work (a B project)
    • Excellent Work (an A project)

Those are the pages in the chapter to pay the most attention to. You will need to adapt the information to fit what you are doing, but the general information is all there.

More Information To Come

There are more details that I need to provide about these two projects. You probably noticed that I haven’t yet given you details on what you need to do for an A, B, or C for Project 4, for instance. I will share more, and you can ask questions in the forums if you have a burning question that can’t wait. For today, however, I think there’s already a lot of information here, so I will end for now.