Paper 2

This paper gives you an opportunity to develop professional materials – a cover letter and resumé – and then to rhetorically analyze their effectiveness for a particular job posting, company, graduate school, etc. Generally speaking, the specifics are somewhat loose here. Your job letter and resumé should work from the thoughts and examples from The Business Writer’s Handbook and also from the sources and advice we looked at online. There are not specific requirements here other than trying to make these documents as effective as possible for your given purpose or application. If you want to submit multiple versions of these documents or specific parts of the documents to put different possibilities on the table, you are welcome to do so.

The rhetorical analysis section of the paper does have more specific requirements. It should be about a page (single-spaced, 12 pt font, 1” margins), and it should draw on the terms and questions we used in our discussion of rhetorical analysis. In this case, there will be less of an emphasis on purpose or argument (your purpose is to get an interview) and more of a focus on audience. Your rhetorical analysis should begin with an overview of your audience. Following the recommendations of the Purdue OWL and other sources, you should articulate an understanding of your audience based on the job ad and any other information you can find about the company from online resources, people who work there, job fairs, etc. What is this company or school looking for? What is important to them? What are their values? What are their needs?

Once we have a more thorough understanding of your audience, the rest of the paper should focus on explaining how specific aspects of your materials are designed with this audience in mind. How do you establish your credibility? How do you appeal to the company’s values? Are there any lines of reasoning you employ, any assumptions you work from as you describe yourself and present yourself as a viable candidate? More generally, why did you make the choices you did in terms of what you included, what information you prioritized, how you designed the documents, etc.?


You will complete three versions of this paper: a peer review draft, 2.1, and 2.2. The paper will be graded according to the following criteria:

“C” paper:

Fulfills the assignment, though there may be some flaws or limitations in terms of general conception, analysis, organization and design, or thoroughness. Is written in a mostly clear and readable style, though the style may have minor flaws (in terms of grammatical correctness, clarity, or appropriateness) that do not significantly impede readability.

“B” paper:

Fulfills the assignment well, with few flaws or limitations. Presents a thorough analysis and polished job documents. Is written in a clear, effective, and appropriate style, with few to no errors.

“A” paper:

Fulfills the assignment with distinction. Presents a detailed, nuanced, and sophisticated analysis with impeccably conceived and designed job materials. Is written in a style that is vivid, voiced, and distinctive, with few to no errors.

“D” paper:

Makes a good-faith effort but falls short of the assignment. Lacks a clear or adequately developed analysis. Style and design is significantly flawed (in terms of grammatical correctness, clarity, or appropriateness) in ways that impede readability or effectiveness. Fails to meet the length requirement; or is not properly formatted.

“F” paper:

Fails to address the assignment, or, severely violates basic norms of civility or decency.

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