San Josť State University - URBP 213
Professor Asha Weinstein Agrawal - Fall 2008

Job Application Letter (Assignment #1)

Overview and purpose

For this assignment you will prepare a one-page job application letter in response to an advertisement for a planning-related internship or job. In Part I of the assignment, you will prepare a draft for Asha to review.  In Part II, you will revise the draft and circulate it for feedback from other students.  For Part III, you will prepare the final letter and write a brief memo commenting on what you learned from the feedback processes.

This assignment is designed to provide you with an opportunity to practice five skills:

  1. Writing in order to persuade a reader to do something (i.e., interview you)

  2. Describing complex material succinctly

  3. Managing feedback sessions

  4. Revising drafts

  5. Giving feedback to others on their writing

Due dates

Tasks

1. Draft #1 for Asha's review

Prepare a draft job application letter of one page or less in response to an advertisement for an internship or full-time job in a planning-related field.  (You may respond to an outdated advertisement, if you wish.)  In addition, prepare a resume of no more than two pages.  I will not grade the resume and you don't need to worry about how it looks, but the content will help me and your peers to evaluate your letter.

To prepare the draft letter, read the job description very carefully, several times.  Highlight in yellow the two, three, or four qualifications the employer seeks that you think are the most important and/or which you are best able to show you fit.  Then, design your letter to show how you meet those key requirements.  Many employers list dozens of attributes they are looking for, but remember that in a one page letter you can only demonstrate your qualifications in a few areas.  Two to four topics is the maximum you can reasonably cover.

Email your work to Asha by 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 2.  Send it as a single MS Word document, saved so that I can open it with MS Word 2003.  In the file, put the following three items in the order listed:

  1. A copy of the job advertisement with the qualifications your letter addresses highlighted in yellow (don't worry if the formatting  of the job ad changes, as long as the text is legible)

  2. A copy of your resume

  3. The draft job application letter you wrote

In the subject line of the email, write "URBP 213 job application letter: Your-Last-Name-Here draft letter #1," putting your last name in the appropriate place.

Note that if your letter arrives late, I may not be able to read it in time to provide you with feedback.

2. Draft #2 for peer review

Based on the feedback you received in your meeting with Asha, revise the letter.  Email the new draft to Asha before class on September 10/11, sending it as a single MS Word document that I can open with MS Word 2003. The file should contain the following four items in the order listed:

  1. A copy of the job advertisement with the qualifications your letter addresses highlighted in yellow (don't worry if the formatting  of the job ad changes, as long as the text is legible)

  2. A copy of your resume

  3. The draft job application letter (#1) you submitted to Asha

  4. The revised draft job application letter (#2) you have prepared

In the subject line of the email, write "URBP 213 job application letter: Your-Last-Name-Here draft letter #2," putting your last name in the appropriate place.

Groups will discuss the letters in class on September 10/11, so bring to class 3 paper copies of the file you emailed to Asha.

3. Final letter and reflective memo

Using the feedback from your group members, as well as anyone else you'd like to ask for help, revise your letter a final time.

In addition, write a reflective memo of one-half to one page that explains:

  1. The three most useful things you learned from both feedback processes.

  2. How you revised your letter in response to the feedback.

  3. Three writing or revision strategies you learned from the assignment that you will use the next time you write something important for your studies or professional work. (Note: comment on writing strategies that you could use for preparing any document, not lessons you learned that are specific to writing job letters.)

You may write this memo in either paragraph or bullet form.

Email your work to Asha by the start of class on September 17/18.  Send it as a single MS Word document, readable with MS Word 2003, that contains the following six items in the order listed:

  1. A copy of the job advertisement with the qualifications your letter addresses highlighted in yellow (don't worry if the formatting  of the job ad changes, as long as the text is legible)

  2. A copy of your resume

  3. The draft job application letter (#1) you submitted to Asha

  4. The revised draft job application letter (#2) you shared with your peers for their review

  5. The reflective memo

  6. The final, revised job application letter you have prepared

In the subject line of the email, write "URBP 213 job application letter: Your-Last-Name-Here final letter," putting your last name in the appropriate place.

Grading

I will grade this assignment primarily on the basis of the final job letter and the reflective memo.  The accompanying "Job Application Assessment Form" lays out the specific criteria I will focus on in assessing the grade.  Note that I will lower the grade of anyone who does not complete all elements of the assignment.

And finally: Need help finding ads for planning jobs and internship?

The SJSU_MURPs Yahoo group regularly sends out job postings, and members can search the archive of old messages.  To search, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SJSU_MURPs/, sign yourself in, and then search under the keyword "job."  (If you are not yet a member, you can join by following the same link.)


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Page last modified on 25 August 2008