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Critical Writing Program: Decision Making - Spring 2024: Resume Resources
- Getting started
- News and Opinion Sites
- Academic Sources
- Grey Literature
- Substantive News Sources
- What to Do When You Are Stuck
- Understanding a citation
- Examples of Quotation
- Examples of Paraphrase
- Chicago Manual of Style: Citing Images
- Researching the Op-Ed
- Researching Prospective Employers
- Resume Resources
- Cover Letter Resources
- Preparing Effective Résumés - Penn Career Services
- Résumés and CVs - Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) - These OWL resources will help you compose effective résumés and curricula vitae (or CVs) for your job search. This section includes resources on page design (which includes using white space, headings, and fonts), as well as resources on tailoring your résumé for specific employers. This section also contains links to other OWL resources geared for entry-level and skilled labor positions.
- CareerOneStop Résumé tutorials guide job seekers through resources for resume types, design, and essential features.
LinkedIn Learning - Online Video Tutorials
LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com) is an online training library that provides access to video tutorials covering a wide selection of topics, including cover letters, resumes, and career development. New and improved courses are added weekly. University students, faculty, and staff have access to LinkedIn Learning.
Here are just a few of the many video tutorials available:
- Cover Letter Tips with Jenny Foss
- Managing Stress and Building Resilience While Job Hunting with Careercake
- Writing a Resume with Stacey Gordon
- Designing a Resume for Creatives with Ina Saltz
- A Career Strategist's Guide to Getting a Job with Jenny Foss
- << Previous: Researching Prospective Employers
- Next: Cover Letter Resources >>
- Last Updated: Feb 15, 2024 12:28 PM
- URL: https://guides.library.upenn.edu/spring2024/decision-making
Career Pathways: Writing Resumes and CV's
- Writing Resumes and CV's
- Writing Cover Letters
- Career Exploration and Job Hunting
Creating your Resume
There are two main styles of resumes: chronological and functional
Chronological : this type of resume highlights your employment history. You should use this type of resume if you have a lot of career experience in one field and are planning to apply for a job in that field.
Functional : this type of resume highlights your skills. You should use this type of resume if you do not have a lot of work experience , or if your work experience is in a different field from the job to which you are applying. This type of resume is ideal for first-year students or people who want to switch career paths.
Visit the following links for guides to help you create your resume:
A great place to visit to start assembling your resume. This tutorial will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a resume, providing examples along the way.
From Penn State. Explanation of parts of the resume & CV
From Purdue University. Includes parts of resumes & vitas. Includes information on how to make a resume scannable.
From Purdue OWL
Climbtheladder Resume Examples
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- Next: Writing Cover Letters >>
- Last Updated: Dec 18, 2023 5:55 AM
- URL: https://libguides.cuesta.edu/careers
Many people engage in specific types of writing, particularly non-academic and technology-based writing, that they might not even think of as “writing.” But these specific types of writing–such as emails and web-based writing–require writers to meet certain guidelines in order to be effective. This section provides resources for writing emails, writing for the web, and writing for the job search.
Also see: Writing in the Disciplines and Across the Curriculum for specific types of academic writing in Business, Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences | Conducting Research for resources on how to write a research paper | Writing with Technology for information on free online tools, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft PowerPoint.
Note for Montclair State University Students : Montclair State University’s Center for Career Services also offers assistance with writing related to career and graduate school applications. See their on-demand workshops .
Writing for email.
Email is one of the dominant ways people communicate at home, work, and school. Even though email is used for both formal and informal communications, one needs to consider the setting and audience when composing a message. In other words, it may be appropriate to use a casual tone in an email to a friend, but that tone may be inappropriate when making a formal request of a professor. These resources address such issues involved in email etiquette.
Effective E-mail Communication (The Writing Center, UNC Chapel Hill) Thorough guideline for writing effective, professional email that includes examples you can use.
Email Etiquette (Purdue OWL) “Although instant and text/SMS messaging is beginning to supplant email for some groups’ primary means of Internet communication, effective and appropriate email etiquette is still important. This resource will help you to become an effective writer and reader/manager of email.”
Email Tune-up (businessenglishpod.com) Posted on YouTube | April and November 2008 A series of video podcasts for ESL students who want to improve their business email writing skills. Here is a list of several of these 9-10 minute videos.
- Email Tune-up 01: Overview (9:43)
- Email Tune-up 02: Asking for Feedback (9:21)
- Email Tune-up 04: Bad News Messages (10:49)
Email Writing (Texas A&M University Writing Center) “Many of the best practices for writing an effective business letter or memo also apply to writing a business email. For instance, when sending email, it’s just as important as ever to tailor your message specifically to your recipient and keep it brief, direct, and engaging. There are, however, some special considerations for conducting business via email.”
How to Practice Email Etiquette (Tracy Goodwin, expertvillage.com) Posted on YouTube: September 25, 2008 Series of short (1 – 1 1/2 minute) videos on email etiquette in a business environment. Here is a list of segments in this series:
- Greetings and Closings (1:13)
- Replies (1:24)
- Subject Lines (1:15)
- CC & BCC (2:18)
- Conciseness (1:05)
- Editing (1:18)
3 Ways to Boost Gmail Netiquette (University of Iowa) “Here are three tools that could save your life, give your emails a professional, unique look, and possibly save you some minor embarrassment.”
WRITING FOR THE WEB
General Tutorials on Web Content, Writing for Web Sites (Jimdo.com) “Good website writing is the key to beating these odds. Well-written content that’s optimized for the web rises to the top of search results and holds readers’ attention.”
Writing for the Web: Articles & Videos (Nielsen Norman Group) A list of articles related to “Writing for Web.”
WRITING FOR THE JOB SEARCH
- General Resources for Professional Writing
- Asking for references or recommendations
- Serving as a reference or writing a letter of recommendation
Correspondence with Prospective Employers
- What is an action verb? (Purdue OWL) An explanation of why we should use action verbs when writing professionally and applying to jobs.
- Categorized List of Action Verbs (Purdue OWL) This categorized list contains only a few action verbs you can use to compose concise, persuasive , reader-centered resumes, cover letters, or other types of workplace documents. The examples are illustrations that overview the uses of action verbs in professional writing.
- List of Action Verbs for Resumes and Professional Profiles (Wake Forest University) (PDF) A list of action verbs categorized according to skill sets.
Career Services (State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development) Resources including Resume Writing Guidance .
Determining Audience (Purdue OWL) “This handout provides information on how to tailor your employment documents to a specific audience.”
Example Employment Documents (Purdue OWL) (PDF) This PDF contains “examples of resumes, CVs, and cover letters for a variety of disciplines.” It is annotated with comments on organization, grammar, layout, language and other useful tips.
Job Interview Worksheets (Empowerment Through Opportunity) (PDF) A collection of worksheets that can assist job seekers in defining their objectives, collecting information for their resumes, writing their cover letters, filling out application forms, and acing their interviews.
Job Skills Checklist (Purdue OWL) “The following is a sample list of skills found in a cross-section of careers. Circle every skill that applies to you. Jot down examples of situations in your working life that demonstrate this skill. Then try to incorporate these skills into your resume and/or cover letter.”
Reading and Using Job Ads (Purdue OWL) This resource discusses the organization and language used in job ads, along with strategies for critically reading and understanding ads.
Conduct a Job Search (Career Services, Montclair State University) A variety of online resources and tools for students and alumni.
- College of the Arts
- College of Education and Human Services
- College of Humanities and Social Sciences
- College of Science and Mathematics
Tailoring Documents (Purdue OWL) “This handout provides information on how to tailor your employment documents to a specific audience.”
Cover Letters 1: Quick Tips (Purdue OWL Workplace Writers) “This page provides a down-and-dirty guide to writing cover letters. Here you will find brief answers and lists of what you should include in a cover letter, how to order and format such a letter, and what to do before sending it out.”
- What is a Cover Letter?
- Quick Content Tips for Cover Letters
- Quick Formatting Tips for Cover Letters
- Showing off knowledge of company
- Before sending the letter
Cover Letters 2: Preparing to Write (Purdue OWL Workplace Writers) “Before you start to write a cover letter, you should gather information about yourself, the company, and the job. This page will help you learn what kind of information to find, where to find it, and how and why to use that information to ‘sell yourself’ in a cover letter.”
- Impressing Prospective Employers
- Reading Job Ads
- Researching Companies
- Communicating with Insiders
- Using University Career Centers
- Addressing Qualifications
Cover Letters 3: Writing Your Cover Letter (Purdue OWL Workplace Writers) This page includes information on writing your heading, addressing your cover letter, and writing your introduction, body, and closing paragraphs.
- Cover Letter Headings
- Addressing Cover Letters
- Cover Letter Introductions
- Cover Letter Body Paragraphs
- Cover Letter Closings
Curriculum Vitae Guide (Marquette University Career Services Center) Describes how a CV differs from a resume and how to compile information for your CV.
Curriculum Vitae Samples, Templates, and Writing Tips (Alison Doyle, The Balance Careers) Here are some CV examples, formats, and templates for academic, IT, medical, and international positions, among others.
Guide: Curriculum Vitae (Writing@CSU) A step-by-step guide to writing your CV. Use the navigation bar on the right to view different categories.
Resume Examples (NC State University Career Development Center) Includes resume examples for various industries.
Resumes and CVs (Purdue OWL) “These OWL resources will help you compose effective résumés and Curriculum Vitae for your job search. This section includes resources on page design (which includes using white space, headings, and fonts), as well as resources on tailoring your résumé for specific employers. This section also contains links to other OWL resources geared for working class positions.”
Writing Curriculum Vitae (Alison Doyle, The Balance Careers) Includes information on when to use a CV and how it differs from a resume.
Writing the Curriculum Vitae (Purdue OWL) “This handout provides an overview of strategies for writing an effective curriculum vitae. This topic is particularly important for graduate students who are entering the academic job market for the first time.”
100 Potential Interview Questions (Thad Peterson, Monster.com) “While there are as many different possible interview questions as there are interviewers, it always helps to be ready for anything. So we’ve prepared a list of 100 potential interview questions. Will you face them all? We pray no interviewer would be that cruel. Will you face a few? Probably. Will you be well-served by being ready even if you’re not asked these exact questions? Absolutely.”
Interview Questions (LiveCareer) “A great interview boils down to one thing: sound preparation. With the right amount of research, practice, and persistence, you’ll be ready to give the best answers to even the toughest interview questions. To get started, have a look through our list of sample interview Q&As and professional tips. From example responses to salary negotiation guidance, we’ve given you the helpful advice you need to ace your next interview.”
Interviewing Skills Guide (Virginia Tech, Career and Professional Development) The guide provides a comprehensive review of interview skills including the following topics: ethical issues | standards of conduct, types and locations, DOs and DONTs, employer information sessions, skills and demeanor, interview attire, typical interview questions, questions to ask the employer, practice interviews and after interviews.
References and Recommendations
Asking someone to be your reference or write you a letter of recommendation:
Applicant Request for a Reference (Purdue OWL) Here are some suggestions for contacting people you wish to serve as references for you.
Asking for Letters of Recommendation (Stanford University) Simple guidelines for managing your letter requests.
How to Ask for a Reference (Alison Doyle, The Balance Careers) Here are some suggestions for asking someone to serve as a reference for you and creating your reference list.
Sample Reference Request Letter (Alison Doyle, The Balance Careers) This is a very basic template for writing a letter/e-mail asking someone to serve as a reference for you. You might also want to describe the position you are applying for and attach your current resume to the e-mail.
Serving as a reference or recommendation:
Guidelines for Writing Letters of Recommendation (Linda Kaiser of University of Missouri, Columbia; Retrieved from Saint Mary’s College) (PDF) A two-page handout on what to include in the opening, body, and conclusion of a letter of recommendation. The PDF also contains a sample letter.
How to Write a Recommendation Letter (Susan M. Heathfield, The Balance Careers) Useful tips on what to include/not include in a letter of recommendation.
“If your reference says this, you’ll get a job” (Amy Levin-Epstein, CBS News) This article explains what you can do to prepare your references to speak about you or, if you are serving as a reference for someone, what you can say to help the person sound like a top candidate.
Top 10 Sample Recommendation Letters (Karen Schweitzer, Thought Co.) “Writing a recommendation letter for someone else is a huge responsibility and getting everything just right is important. If you are seeking inspiration, the following sample recommendation letters should help. These sample recommendations are the most popular samples on the site.”
Acceptance Letter (Purdue OWL) General guidelines for what to include in a letter/e-mail when you are accepting a job offer.
Follow-Up After No Response to an Interview (Purdue OWL) General guidelines for what to include in a follow-up letter/e-mail when you have not heard back from a company after an interview.
Follow-Up to an Interview (Purdue OWL) General guidelines for what to include in a follow-up letter/e-mail after an interview along with a model letter.
Interest Letters (Noelle Carver, Bizfluent) The transcript of an interview with Charles Purdy, editor of Monster, about how to write a letter of interest to a prospective employer.
Inquiry about Cover Letter and Resume (Purdue OWL) General guidelines for what to include in an inquiry letter/e-mail when you have not received a response to your job application. This site also provides a model letter.
Letter of Interest Samples (Alison Doyle, The Balance Careers) An example of a letter/e-mail you would write to a company that has not advertised specific openings. This letter allows you to inquire about potential openings, emphasize your interest in the company, and highlight your skill set.
Letter When You Receive a Rejection (Purdue OWL) “Consider writing a letter even when you receive a rejection. Sometime later when you have had additional experience or training, you may want to apply to the firm once more. The letter shows that you were extremely interested in working for the particular company and states your interest in applying for another position at a later date.” This site offers suggestions about what to include in this letter/e-mail.
Model for Writing a Request for Further Negotiations (Purdue OWL) An example of how to professionally and politely discuss a job offer you would like to negotiate.
Rejection of Job Offer (Purdue OWL) General guidelines for what to include in a letter/e-mail when you are not accepting a job offer.
Phone Skills (Virginia Tech, Career and Professional Development) “In your search for an internship or job, your resume and cover letter alone are not the only tools to success. Employers will be evaluating you on all forms of communication and how you handle and present yourself. Be a pro on the phone.”
Three Simple Rules for Emailing Potential Employers (Peter Weddle, CareerCast) An article about how to converse with prospective employers that includes three key tips: use formal language, pay attention to your tone, and think about how you’re representing yourself.
Writing Professional Letters (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Career Services) (PDF) This document discusses the structure and content of different correspondence between you and your prospective employer. Some topics include an interview confirmation letter, a post-interview thank you letter, and job offer acceptance/declination/clarification letters. Sample letters are located at the end of the document.
WRITING FOR PUBLICATION
Writing a proposal.
On the Art of Writing Proposals (Adam Prezeworski and Frank Saloman, Claremont Graduate University Writing Center) “Some Candid Suggestions for Applicants to Social Science Research Council Competitions.”
Planning and Organizing Proposals and Technical Reports (Richard Johnson-Sheehan, Sponsored by Indiana DOT) (PDF) An extensive guide to planning for a proposal, from identifying your purpose and audience to drafting your conclusion. This resource includes charts you can fill in while you’re preparing to write. The second half of the PDF (p. 18-end) provides tips for writing a technical report.
Resources for Proposal Writers (University of Wisconsin – Madison, The Writing Center) “This page lists some useful books and websites for graduate students working on research proposals.”
Sample Academic Proposals from the Purdue OWL (Purdue OWL) (PDF) Includes sample proposals for conferences, articles and book chapters..
Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences, Articles and Books (Purdue OWL) A guide to writing conference proposals.
PREPARING YOUR MANUSCRIPT FOR PUBLICATION
4 Editing and Proofreading Techniques for Your Novel (Courtney Carpenter, Writer’s Digest ) “Joseph Bates, author of The Nighttime Novelist , shares tips for editing and proofreading a novel or book.”
The 10 Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Query Letter (Brian A. Klems, Writer’s Digest ) “While query letters vary a little depending on who the agent is (and their guidelines) and what type of book you’re writing (novel, nonfiction, poetry, etc.), there are many elements that remain the same. That’s why I’ve developed this list of dos and don’ts to help you navigate what’s really important to include in your pitch and, also, what should be avoided at all costs. By sticking to these 10 specific dos and don’ts of writing a query letter, you’ll give yourself the best opportunity to find success and land an agent.”
10 Proofreading Tips for Self-Publishers (Anna Lewis, MediaShift) “No matter how many times you’ve read through your work, it’s amazing how often errors can sneak through to the final stages. The problem: You’re so familiar with the text that you see what you think you have written rather than what you actually wrote. For this reason, at the very least, it’s good to ask a few friends to help you proofread. Don’t forget to carefully proofread the cover, copyright, and title pages as well as any indices, tables of contents, and dedications — mistakes in these areas happen surprisingly often. So, short of hiring a professional proofreader, what else can you do to make sure your book is as close to perfect as possible? Here are some tips.”
Anatomy of a Query Letter: A Step-by-Step Guide (Writer’s Relief Staff, Huffington Post ) “When submitting book queries, your letter has precious little time to grab the attention of the literary agent reading it. If you don’t get to the meat of the book right away, your query might end up in the recycling bin. The following guidelines will help you compose a letter that will keep agents’ attention long enough to give your manuscript a fighting chance.”
Author’s Permission Guidelines (The University of Chicago Press) Most of the information regarding permissions on this site is not particular to The University of Chicago Press. This page can help any writer who wants to know more about copyright, fair use, public domain, and when permission is needed for previously published materials.
How to Write the Perfect Query Letter (Mary Kole, Writer’s Digest ) Here you’ll find an example of a successful query letter, followed by an agent’s comments.
Preparing Articles for Publication in Peer-Reviewed Journals (Siobhan Bowler, Academic Publications Writer) (PDF) “This paper focuses on preparing articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Four areas of article preparation are covered: (1) what you should be thinking about when selecting a journal for your paper and at what stage you should start thinking of journals; (2) style guides and the most important things you need to follow in journal style guides; (3) simple ways in which you can improve clarity when writing papers; [and] (4) what happens to your paper once you send it to the journal and the various types of responses you can expect to receive.”
Preparing Manuscripts for Publication in Psychology Journals: A Guide for New Authors (American Psychological Association) (PDF) “This guide provides an overview of the process of preparing and submitting a scholarly manuscript for publication in a psychology journal. Drawing on the experiences of authors of scholarly writings, peer reviewers, and journal editors, we seek to demystify the publication process and to offer advice designed to improve a manuscript’s prospects of publication. To exemplify the process, we describe specific publication procedures for journals of the American Psychological Association.”
WRITING AN ABSTRACT
Abstracts (UNC at Chapel Hill, The Writing Center) “This handout provides definitions and examples of the two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. It also provides guidelines for constructing an abstract and general tips for you to keep in mind when drafting. Finally, it includes a few examples of abstracts broken down into their component parts.”
How to Write an Abstract: Tips and Samples (Leah Carroll, University of California Berkeley) (PDF) This resource provides “the basic components of an abstract in any discipline” along with abstract samples from history, the humanities, biological sciences, and engineering.
What Exactly is an Abstract? (University of Michigan) “An abstract is a short summary of your completed research. It is intended to describe your work without going into great detail. Abstracts should be self-contained and concise, explaining your work as briefly and clearly as possible. Different disciplines call for slightly different approaches to abstracts . . . so it would be wise to study some abstracts from your own field before you begin to write one.”
Writing Abstracts (Indiana University Bloomington, Writing Tutorial Services) This site includes tips for writing and polishing your abstract and describes the components of informative and indicative abstracts.
Writing an Abstract (George Mason University, The Writing Center) This guide provides the definition of an abstract and the structure of an abstract for papers in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering sciences.
Writing Report Abstracts (Purdue OWL) “This handout discusses how to write good abstracts for reports. It covers informational and descriptive abstracts and gives pointers for success.”
WRITING GRANT APPLICATIONS
About Grants (National Institutes of Health (NIH) Central Resource for Grants and Funding Information) “Read on for an orientation to NIH funding, grant programs, how the grants process works,and how to apply.”
All About Grants Podcasts (NIH Central Resource for Grants and Funding Information) “The Office of Extramural Research (OER) talks to NIH staff members about the ins and outs of NIH funding. Designed for investigators, fellows, students, research administrators, and others just curious about the application and award process, we provide insights on grant topics from those who live and breathe the information. Episodes are available as mp3s for download here or via RSS feed.”
Candid “We connect people who want to change the world with the resources they need to do it.”
Candid Learning “Candid Learning is your destination for all of Candid’s live and on-demand trainings, webinars, and other resources designed to improve your fundraising, overall sustainability, grantmaking, and transparency.”
Grant Basics (NIH Central Resource for Grants and Funding Information) “Before getting started, learn why it is important to understand the structure of NIH and how we approach grant funding, what types of organizations and people are eligible to apply, what we look for in a research project, and the types of grant programs we offer.”
Grants and Funding: Grants Process Overview (NIH Central Resource for Grants and Funding Information) “Any successful project requires planning, development, implementation and follow-through. Obtaining NIH funding for your research idea is no exception. The Grants Process Overview below provides an overview of the steps required for an application to proceed from application planning and submission through award and close out. Look to the related resources on each page for special guidance from NIH experts that can help maximize your understanding of the grants process and help you submit a successful grant application.”
Grants.gov Search for federal grants and learn about the process of applying for federal grants.
Grant Writing (Purdue OWL) “This resource provides a general introduction to grant writing and provides information on how to ensure clarity in grant proposals.”
- Introduction to Grant Writing
- Clarity in Writing: Avoiding the Department of Redundancy Department
- Making the Request
- Specificity in Writing: Say Exactly What You Mean
Grant Writing in the Sciences (Purdue OWL) “This resource provides general guidelines for grant writing in general and in the scientific disciplines. While grant proposals are almost always overseen by a faculty member serving as the primary investigator (PI), this resource is intended primarily for graduate students and junior faculty seeking to learn more about grant writing in their fields.”
Grantwriter FAQs (Puget Sound Grantwriters Association) Responds to many frequently asked questions about grant writing, from how to become a freelance grantwriter to how to find corporate and government grants.
What is in a Grant Proposal? (Grant Writing Resource, Inc.) Outlines the standard components of a grant proposal.
- Resumes & CVs
- Writing the Resume
- Writing the CV
THE CURRICULUM VITAE (CV)
The Curriculum Vitae (CV) is used to market your scholarly background for PhD level positions, research opportunities, or graduate school admission. While the sections of the CV are similar to a resume, the CV can be more than 1 page.
KEEP IN MIND: CV sections can vary widely based on which field you are in (for example, a biology and literature CV may have different formats).
View the CCO Handbook for CV examples
- Graduate Students
- Undergraduate Students
- Online Students
- First Generation
- International Students
- Create a Resume / Cover Letter
- Expand Your Network
- Explore Your Interests / Self Assessment
- Negotiate an Offer
- Prepare for an Interview
- Prepare for Graduate School
- Search for a Job / Internship
- Business Analytics
- General Management
- Human Resources Management
- Integrated Business & Engineering
- Supply Chain Management
- Undergraduate Outcomes
- Graduate Outcomes
- Our Mission, Vision and Values
- Undergraduate Advising Team
- Graduate Advising Team
- Employer Recruitment Team
Cover Letter Creation Guide
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A cover letter can be a valuable tool to provide additional context to your application beyond what you can provide in your resume. For example, you might include why you are interested in working in the industry, organization, or that particular role. A well-written cover letter can help to demonstrate your fit for the role.
FIRST PARAGRAPH OR INTRODUCTION: ACTS AS BASIS OR PURPOSE OF THE LETTER
- Briefly introduce yourself (“I am a graduate student at Purdue University’s Daniels School of Business interested in…”).
- Do not include your name; it is obvious who you are because you will sign the letter.
- State the position for which you are applying, including position number if available and exact title.
- Indicate where you learned of the opportunity or what prompted you to write.
- If you are trying to set up an informational meeting to learn about the organization or trends in the field, state that you would appreciate an opportunity to talk with an organization representative about these issues.
- Transition to the second paragraph with a closing sentence that may reference what qualifies you for the position, what intrigues you about the company and/or how you fit with company goals.
SECOND PARAGRAPH OR BODY: SUPPORTS YOUR CLAIMS FOR BEING THE RIGHT CANDIDATE FOR THIS POSITION/ORGANIZATION
- Make a concise and focused case for how your experience, interests and skills fit the employer’s needs.
- Thoroughly research the company or organization and position description.
- Identify key words within the position description — skills and requirements — that will help you match the position and organization to your background and experiences.
- Avoid merely reciting your resume but provide enough interest for the reader to want to examine your resume for detailed information on your experiences.
- Emphasize contributions you can make to the position and why it is in the employer’s interest to hire you.
- Do not emphasize what you will get from the position or organization.
THIRD PARAGRAPH OR CLOSING: REITERATES YOUR INTEREST IN THE POSITION/ORGANIZATION
- Thank the individual for considering you as an applicant.
- Provide contact information (typically both email and cell phone) even if shown in the header or at the bottom.
- Demonstrate initiative by stating that you will contact the individual within a specific time period (“I will contact you the week of…to discuss the potential opportunity to interview, answer any questions he/she might have, or discuss the position in greater depth”).
- Include closing sentence to express enthusiasm for company/position and that you look forward to speaking with this individual.
TOP 10 BLUNDERS
- Shows no knowledge of company
- Addressed to the wrong person or company
- Spelling, grammar, punctuation errors
- Passive voice and/or awkward language
- Overly aggressive, boastful, presumptuous
- Self-centered rather than employer-centered
- Looks unprofessional and/or informal
- Merely repeats content from resume
- Too short — no value added
- Too long — won’t get read
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional materials, and provides its services at no cost.
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- 15 Tips for Resume Writing
15 Resume Writing Tips: How to Craft a Resume That Gets Noticed
Preparing a solid resume is a critical step on your path to a rewarding job. While you may have years of experience, your resume can still go unnoticed if you don’t optimize it for applicant tracking systems (ATS) and ensure it stands out to human reviewers, too. As you create your new resume or modify your last one, keep the following 15 tips in mind.
1. Tailor Your Resume to Your Desired Position or Industry
As you create your resume, keep in mind the needs of your target employer and tailor your resume to show how you fit the needs of that employer. If you’re applying for a specific position, review the job requirements and description carefully and make sure that your resume reflects how you fit those requirements.
You should also research the employer and then review your resume to see if there is additional, relevant information you can add. For example, if you’re applying for a job in the medical field, make sure your resume includes any medical or health care-related experience you may have.
2. Use a Clean, Visually Appealing Format
While your qualifications are usually the greatest indicator of whether you’re a good candidate for a role, a resume that’s clean, easy to read, and visually appealing could play a part in a hiring manager reading it.
As you create your resume, focus on formatting your resume so that it’s easy to read. For example, your resume should include:
- 1-inch margins
- Section headers
- Bulleted lists
- The same font throughout the document
- Consistent line spacing
3. Use an Appropriate Font
Use a professional, clean, modern font. Times New Roman has been a historical go-to for resumes, and is still acceptable, but you may want to consider a different font, like Arial.
Additionally, ensure that your font is appropriately sized. A 10- to 12-point font is usually best.
4. Use a Professional Email Address
You might be surprised at how many people still include unprofessional email addresses in their resumes. Have a dedicated professional email address, if you don’t already. Your first initial and last name is a common and recommended format for your email address. You may want to avoid using a number in your email address because this could be assumed to be your birth year, which could lead to perceived ageism.
Imagine you were a hiring manager, and you saw the following two email addresses:
As much as we love sports, we’re willing to bet most hiring managers would rather continue reading the resume of the second candidate.
5. Include a Summary Statement
A summary statement at the beginning of your resume is important. It’s a brief statement that covers your experience and goals as they relate to the position you’re applying for.
Keep it concise at about 3 to 5 lines.
“Think about the words you are using and try to use quantifiable information,” says Jennifer Lasater, vice president, employer and career services at Purdue Global. “Instead of ‘hard worker,’ it's better to state that you ‘increased sales by 25%’.”
Use this space to summarize your experience, strengths, and goals as they relate to the position you are applying to.
6. Ensure All Information Is Up to Date
Some job-seekers create many resumes for many different positions. When reworking your resume for the job you’re applying for, ensure that all the information is current and relevant to the given position. Check that you haven’t left anything behind from an older version of your resume or one that was written for a different role.
7. Use Reverse Chronological Order
Putting your work history in reverse chronological order (so your most recent role is listed first, under “Experience”) is the standard practice, and it’s what your reviewer will be expecting.
The same is true for your education section. Your most recent schooling is most likely most relevant to the role you’re applying for now, so list education in reverse chronological order as well.
8. Be Concise About Experience and Job Duties
Your experience and previous job duties are some of the most important words on your resume. It’s tempting to want to elaborate on your accomplishments and make sure they’re properly explained, but hiring managers want to get right to the meat of your experience to see how it aligns with their current needs.
Be concise about your previous duties and accomplishments. Use bullet points instead of full sentences or paragraphs. Instead of elaborating on your biggest accomplishments, clearly communicate them in 1 to 2 bulleted lines that begin with action verbs such as “managed” or “developed.”
9. Make It ATS-Friendly
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a type of software that helps employers collect, organize, and rank candidates’ resumes. Three-quarters of recruiters and talent managers use some form of recruiting or applicant tracking software, Capterra reports .
An ATS helps hiring managers find the most relevant candidates by searching for certain keywords in resumes. To optimize your resume for an ATS, review the job description carefully for important keywords and include those that are relevant to your job or educational experience in your resume.
>> Read More: How to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems
10. Decide: Education or Experience—Which Comes First?
The answer to this question is fairly simple. If you recently graduated from school with little to no relevant work experience, list your education first. This will be more relevant to employers than any unrelated jobs you held while earning your degree. If you had any internships that are relevant to the role you’re applying for, put the internships first, then education.
Moving forward in your career, your experience should be placed above the section about your education. Your professional experience will almost always be more relevant to hiring managers than your education, unless there are strict educational requirements in your field. But even in that case, experience should be listed first.
11. Include Only Relevant Educational Information
You want your resume to be concise, so if you’ve enrolled at a college or university, you can exclude education previous to that, including your high school. You should include any education that you’re currently working on, but don’t include educational programs from the past that you started but didn’t complete.
List any academic honors you’ve received, and only include your GPA if it’s above 3.0.
12. Exclude the Reference Statement
Historically, standard practice when writing resumes was to add a statement along the lines of “References available upon request.” This is unnecessary. Again, you want your resume to be as sleek and streamlined as possible, and excluding this statement saves room. Hiring managers know they’re able to request references from you if they’re interested.
13. Include Additional Section(s) if Relevant
The important thing here is “if relevant.” If you have other past experience that’s not necessarily related to the position itself but speaks to you as a candidate, you can include it. Some examples of additional sections include:
- Volunteer experience
- Community service
- Languages spoken
- Professional memberships
14. Include a Cover Letter
You might think it’s unnecessary or unlikely to actually be read, but a cover letter gives you the opportunity to provide your potential employer with a well-spoken narrative about your qualifications and career objectives. It also serves as a way to get ahead of or explain certain aspects of your resume—for example, a gap in employment—if necessary.
Try to include some aspects that aren’t in your resume—you don’t want your cover letter to repeat your resume in story form. “We recommend that students identify three qualifications from the job description that they have and illustrate in the cover letter how they meet those requirements,” says Jennifer Katz, director of career services at Purdue Global.
Your cover letter should also be highly targeted and unique to each position you apply for.
>> Learn More: Tips on Writing a Stellar Cover Letter
15. Proofread (Then Proofread Again)
This tip can’t be emphasized enough. This is your chance to make a good first impression, and one spelling or grammatical error could compromise the credibility of your entire resume. That might sound harsh, and not all hiring managers are such sticklers on this, but some are.
Read it and reread it. Send it to family and friends who will read it and give you feedback. In addition to helping identify any spelling or grammatical errors, this will also help identify any issues with words that have multiple spellings (e.g., role vs. roll, their vs. there). The more people that can help you review your resume, the better. Other people may be more likely to pick up something you missed, even if you have reviewed it yourself several times.
If You Need Additional Education to Land Your Dream Job
If you’ve already put in the work to become qualified for the position you’re applying for, all you need to do now is clearly and effectively communicate that to your potential employers with a clean, concise resume. Good luck!
But if a college degree could help you reach your career goals, learn more about Purdue Global. We offer more than 175 online programs, from certificates to doctoral degrees. We’ve tailored higher education to meet the needs of working adults. Request more information today .
About the Author
Earn a degree you're proud of and employers respect at Purdue Global, Purdue's online university for working adults. Accredited and online, Purdue Global gives you the flexibility and support you need to come back and move your career forward. Choose from 175+ programs, all backed by the power of Purdue.
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Your Path to Success Begins Here
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Library Guide for Education Graduate Students
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How to Write as a Graduate Student
The OWL Provides some helpful tips on writing as a graduate student. Here are some topics covered. The links below will take you to the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) website .
- Introduction to Graduate Writing
- Graduate Writing Topics
- Graduate Writing Genres
- Writing a Thesis/Dissertation
Creating an Annotated Bibliography
The OWL also provides guidance on creating an annotated bibliography, a common tool and assignment for graduate students. Below are a few topics covered by the OWL.
- Annotated Bibliographies - Definitions & Format
- Annotated Bibliography Breakdown
- Annotated Bibliography Samples
- Writing a Literature Review
Just about every major research project involves a literature review, often these can be placed at the beginning of a paper or can be publishable in their own right. The OWL provides guidance for literature review writing.
Job Search Writing
Writing while on the job search takes various forms. The OWL provides useful tips for writing in this context.
- Preparing an Application
- Job Search Letters
- Resumes and CVs
- Skilled Labor Job Search Resources
- << Previous: Literature Search Strategies
- Next: APA Style Guide >>
- Last Edited: Feb 9, 2024 10:42 AM
- URL: https://guides.lib.purdue.edu/Education_GraduateStudents
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Resources for writers.
This page is intended to gather online and on-campus resources for writers at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. While these sources cannot take the place of conversations with informed readers, and the challenging work of writing and revising, they contain additional writing-related information.
Each of the links on this page are maintained by their respective creators. The links may change without notice and the creators assume all rights and responsibilities for their contents.
Make sure to read the assignment sheet, rubric, and/or writing prompt carefully as you develop your writing. Writing consultants also recommend looking at several examples of successful writing in your genre or related to your project. Many professors have examples of successful student essays they are willing to share.
It can often be helpful to think of understanding an unfamiliar writing assignment with key moves in mind. Which sources of evidence am I expected to use? What can I assume about my audience? What is the overall purpose of my writing? Writing consultants can help clarify reader expectations, ask other writing-related questions, and name additional resources.
Purdue OWL’s “Understanding Assignments” page contains reader-friendly information for the key steps in understanding typical college writing assignments. Specific pages include information on research papers, research posters, and annotated bibliographies.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill “Brainstorming ” page includes several different strategies for developing ideas with specific audiences and purposes in mind. Specific strategies and examples include free writing, bulleting, and similes, among other idea development strategies.
Personal statements are often short pieces of writing designed to tell the story of why the writer is a good fit for a scholarship, program, or opportunity for which they are applying. In addition to Writing Center consultants, there are additional readers available at UNL to read and provide feedback on personal statements and scholarship essays. These include your UNL professors, staff at the UNL Career Services , or staff in the Office of Graduate Studies . Like consultations in the Writing Center, those services are available at no additional cost for current UNL students.
Jane Marshall’s personal statement video from Imperial College in the United Kingdom is approximately five minutes long and describes key recommendations for writing personal statements using animations. A detailed 37 minute-long video from Marshall is also available.
Purdue OWL’s “Writing the Personal Statement” page provides general recommendations for planning a personal statement. This page also links to example statements and a page describing key features to avoid.
The Professor is In is a blog and podcast designed to help graduate students find academic jobs, and it was created by former anthropology professor Karen Kelsky. This site includes regularly updated posts on writing CVs, teaching statements, abstracts, and other common forms of academic writing. This website does include advertisements to outside academic career consulting.
Cover letters are short business letters designed to show readers how the writer is a benefit to the organization. Cover letters are often required in professional, non-profit, and academic jobs. Writers might also be asked to write a cover letter when applying for a scholarship or other awards. The expectations for each type of cover letter will vary depending on the target audience and context. Keep in mind networking and personal referrals are often valuable additions to writing a cover letter.
The Harvard Office of Career Services’s “Resumes and Cover Letters'' handout contains several examples of both forms of writing, as well as explanations of the key features of each.
The University of North Carolina’s “Academic Cover Letters” page describes the key features of cover letters for research and teaching-oriented professor positions.
The UNL McNair Scholars Program is a federal program designed to help students from underrepresented backgrounds apply to doctorate programs. Benefits of being a McNair fellow include conducting independent research with a UNL professor, help developing a CV and personal statement, and opportunities to apply for scholarships to cover the costs of graduate school. Acceptance into the program requires an application, two UNL faculty member letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
The UNL College of Law has several pages designed to help students interested in legal careers write job-search related documents including resumes, cover letters, and professional writing samples.
Resumes are short formal documents listing a job applicant’s education, work history, and other professional qualifications. The format and content of resumes are dependent on the field.
UNL Career Services has a detailed page with examples and writing recommendations for many forms of writing related to job searches including resumes and cover letters.
The UNL College of Business “Master the Application Process” page has example resumes and cover letters. The page also includes a list of key terms for those interested in working in business, finance, and human resource-oriented positions.
The University of Nebraska Omaha’s “Resume and Cover Letter Resources” portal contains pages with example student resumes in different industries. UNO also includes pages for members of the LGBTQIA community and people with disabilities in the job seeking process.
Literature reviews are a form of academic writing designed to describe the current state of research on a topic, phenomenon, or theory. Usually, literature reviews have the additional purpose of showing a gap in previous research with the intent to describe a need for the writer’s own project.
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill “Literature Reviews” page contains an overview of this genre as well as general writing and research recommendations.
The University of Southern California’s library guide for writing a literature review in the social sciences provides a description of the features of literature reviews as well as citations for additional social scientific writing resources.
The University of Vermont Graduate Writing Center “Writing Resources” page contains handouts under the “academic and professional” genres drop down menu that introduce literature reviews and ways writers can plan to enter an academic conversation.
“Get Lit: The Literature Review” is a 45 minute video produced by the Texas A & M Writing Center describing the purpose of literature reviews. This presentation includes literature review examples and additional writing-related resources.
Nearly all writers experience moments when they are unsure how to move forward in their work. Perhaps they feel a need to share perfect prose before giving themselves an opportunity to explore meaningful ideas. Perhaps they are waiting for inspiration for a new short story. Maybe they received so many comments they aren’t sure where to start addressing them. If those examples sound like you, you are not alone. Those experiences are widely shared among college students, faculty members, and literary writers.
Writing consultants are happy to address these challenges during appointments. Other useful information can be found in the “I don’t know how to use feedback” tab.
The University of Toronto has developed a page of useful writing advice which can guide you through each phase of the writing process, including planning, researching, using sources, and revising. These resources are intended for both college students and faculty members.
Purdue OWL’s “Symptoms and Cures for Writer’s Block” offers recommendations for situations that make writing difficult including not finding a good starting place, not enjoying the assigned topic, and becoming easily distracted.
Paul Silva’s How to Write a Lot is a book designed to offer practical recommendations for academics interested in writing more. Silva often applies his background in psychology to point out empirical evidence supporting his claim that writing regularly, as opposed to waiting for inspiration, produces better writing. The full book is available through UNL Libraries and a summary of key tips is available through the University of Vermont Graduate Writing Center.
Penguin Random House lists the advice of anonymous published writers for overcoming writer’s block.
Dana Shavin describes typical cases of writer’s block with recommendations to work through them in her “15 of the Most Common Causes of Writer’s Block—and How to Cure Them.”
Maria Konnikova’s article “How to Beat Writer’s Block” summarizes psychological research into methods some writers use to continue to write. Konnikova finds writers who allow for imperfection and learn creative imagery techniques often return to their work.
Write or Die is a free website that uses that “gamifies” the process of getting words on the page. Users can pick an amount of time they want to write for and/or how many words they want to write and once the clock begins, if the user stops writing for more than a few seconds the game is lost and so is the writing. Some writers find this added pressure helpful for getting words down when they feel stuck.
The UNL Writing Center’s “Revision Practices” page describes several strategies for making major changes to a piece of writing, as well as detailed recommendations for productive peer review feedback. This resource is intended for writers and writing instructors.
Grand Valley State describes revision strategies for writers interested in revising short in-class writings into more polished pieces. The “Creative Writing Revision Strategies” is intended for poetry and fiction writers, but these strategies can be useful for writers of other genres. The “Revision Strategies” is intended for revising writing in academic and professional contexts.
- The University of Houston's “How to Create Storyboards” describes how the process of creating a storyboard can help writer’s reimagine their work and experiment with new organizations.
When writers say they’re having trouble with “flow,” they might be using this word to refer to a number of different issues in their writing. Often, it refers to the progression or connection between ideas from paragraph to paragraph and/or sentence structure to sentence. Or, sometimes flow can refer to the style of writing: the choice of words, order of words, or structure of sentences.
Writing consultants often recommend reading text out loud to listen for moments that sound off. At the sentence level, varying the length and structure of sentences often produces a more pleasing cadence.
The North Carolina Chapel Hill Writing Center’s “Flow” page describes several strategies for revising writing for increased coherence and rhythm.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s “Flow and Cohesion” page also contains recommendations for several revision and textual editing strategies.
George Mason University Writing Center’s “Common Writing Terms and Concepts” page explains typical writing phrases, such as draft, thesis statement, and signal phrase. Understanding these key terms can allow for more specific revision language.
Receiving reader feedback is often challenging. Many writers experience intense emotions when receiving negative feedback and are unsure how to continue working on their projects. However, most writers experience intense emotions during their writing lives. During an appointment, writing consultants are always happy to help you process and make sense of any feedback you receive.
The resources in this section describe the purpose of different reader comments, such as writing teachers who encourage more writing and peer reviewers who determine the quality of academic work. These resources also offer recommendations for forming a revision plan to incorporate reader feedback.
Writing is often an isolating experience. Participating in a writing group is one way to become accountable to trusted readers for meeting writing goals. The “writing group” resources describe the benefits of forming such a group and list key considerations such as intellectual property, member responsibilities, and meeting format.
Understanding Reader Comments
The North Carolina Chapel Hill Writing Center has pages describing the ways writers react to reader feedback. “Getting Feedback” names how feedback helps writers in college settings and offers recommendations for responding to different reader comments. The “Responding to Other People’s Writing” page names key principles to keep in mind, such as be specific, speak from your own perspective, and tailor comments for the writer.
The University of Illinois Writers Workshop’s “Incorporating Peer and Instructor Feedback” page describes several activities for prioritizing feedback from multiple readers before starting revisions. Example recommendations include making a chart of the feedback and making a revision plan. The related “Dealing with Critical Feedback” is especially applicable to graduate students and those writing peer-reviewed journal articles.
The “Teach Quality Commenting Skills” page from Eduglogs.org describes several purposes and classroom activities for students to learn writing for different audiences.
- The Writing Center hosts weekly writing accountability groups for graduate students, staff, and faculty during fall, spring, and summer sessions. For more information or to join an accountability group, email Associate Director Emma Catherine Perry at [email protected].
UNL’s Office of Graduate Studies offers a webpage describing benefits and key considerations for starting a writing group. This information comes from Stanford’s Sohui Lee, Julia Bleakney and Sarah Pittock’s “Starting an Effective Academic Writing Group.” Key considerations include meeting times, format, and member commitment.
UNL has a creative writing club available for undergraduate students interested in sharing their fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction.
The Nebraska Writing Project offers tips and contact information for forming writing groups. Although the National Writing Project is primarily designed for writing teachers, the recommendations are applicable to other writers as well.
UNL’s Fundamentals of Research Writing “Peer Feedback in Writing Groups” page describes practical recommendations for providing constructive criticism.
The University of Illinois Writer’s Workshop “Long-Term Writing” page contains several links for working on extended projects such as journal articles, novels, and dissertations. Subpages include creating writing groups, writing and well-being, and dealing with critical feedback, among others.
Retired University of Louisiana--Lafayette English professor Ann Dobie’s “Guides for Starting Your Own Writing Group” describes additional considerations for forming a public writing group. Dobie also reviews books focused on writing groups.
Getting started or figuring out how to end a piece can be challenging. Often, talking through ideas can be a helpful way to figure out what you want to say and Writing Center consultants are always eager to help with this.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center’s “Introductions” page provides an overview of introductions to college-level humanities papers with examples. The page recommends starting a paper with an interesting example, a quotation related to the paper’s central argument, or an engaging question.
The University of Southern California Libraries “Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper” page synthesizes recommendations from multiple writing centers to describe the elements of an introduction in a research-based paper including carving out a research niche and engaging the reader. Although this guide is designed primarily for writers in social and behavioral sciences, the recommendations can also be useful for writers in other research and empirical fields.
Pima Community College writing professor Mark Fullmer recommends writing introductions by starting with what other researchers have said. This page also contains examples of academic introductions and conclusions.
The MIT Comparative Media Studies department recommends introductions feature a quotation, concession, paradox, short narrative, or analogy among other recommendations. This page explains each term and provides example opening sentences.
Pat Thomson , University of Nottingham Education Professor, describes introductions in academic journals in terms of making a good first impression. This page also includes the slides from a 2012 introduction workshop.
Writing is often anxiety producing even for well-regarded published writers. The first half of the resources in this section offer pragmatic ways to ease anxiety working on a project including seeking multiple forms of social support. See the "I'm Stuck with my Writing" for resources on writer's block and deep revision. Often, talking through these feelings with someone else can be helpful. During an appointment, Writing Center consultants are happy to talk with writers about any aspect of the writing process, even the feelings and emotions that can surround it.
The second half of the resources on this list are specific for moments when writers would like additional support due to their protected identities, and options for reporting harassment and prejudice.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s page on “Writing Anxiety” offers several recommendations to manage stress after turning in a paper. Specifically recognize writing is a complex process and consider finding multiple forms of support.
The nonfiction writer Jane Anne Staw shares her experiences as an anxious writer struggling to write thank you notes and transitioning into writing with more confidence through writing poetry. Staw’s recommendation to focus on a specific manageable aspect of a larger writing project can apply to both creative and academic writers.
Amy Green, a psychologist , reviews social scientific research on anxiety among academic writers. Green finds that high self-efficacy, or confidence in writing abilities, is correlated with decreased writing anxiety. Among the recommendations Green finds are reviewing one’s own writing, writing regularly, and participating in an accountability writing group.
UNL’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers several resources for students experiencing anxiety, mental health concerns, or who are interested in processing their experiences with a trained professional. CAPS also offers support groups at no additional cost for students who have paid student fees, including an alcohol and drug harm reduction group, international student support group, and graduate and undergraduate support groups.
The UNL Office of Diversity and Inclusion offers links to University resources for students of underrepresented groups including the Black Student Union, Services for Students with Disabilities, and violence prevention among other resources. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion also offers graduate assistantships, resources for faculty members, and awards for leaders on campus.
The UNL Office of the Registrar describes the process graduate and undergraduate students can pursue in which their grade was prejudiced or capricious. According to the Office, the first step is to talk to the course instructor and communicate with the Dean of the College the course took place in.
According to the UNL Institutional Equity and Compliance , “It is the policy of the University of Nebraska to administer all of its educational programs and related supporting services in a manner which does not discriminate based upon age, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sex, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran’s status, marital status, religion or political affiliation.” The policy continues, “Any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, physical, written, or pictorial, which has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment for the person subjected to the conduct, or any solicitation of sexual conduct of any nature when submission to or rejection of such contact is used as the basis for either implicitly or explicitly imposing favorable or adverse terms and conditions of academic standing constitutes sexual harassment and will not be condoned or tolerated. Moreover, sexual misconduct including stalking, dating or domestic violence and sexual assault is prohibited.” For moments when those policies are broken students and staff have multiple options for reporting and support through the TIPS Incident Reporting System , the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance , Title IX Office , the police, and the national Department of Education .
Writing consultants are happy to talk about questions relating to citations. In addition, here are a few tips and resources related to citation:
Use an up-to-date and credible source for developing your citations as you work on your papers.
Be sure to keep track of your sources as you use them so that you know where a particular idea or quotation came from and can properly cite it.
Make sure to include the page number for all direct quotations and to put all sources you used in your paper in your works cited or references page.
Make sure to ask your readers their citation preference and note many academic journals use a custom citation style.
The UNL Libraries also have detailed pages about keeping track of research and citation information.
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most often used in classes in the humanities and modern languages. This citation style is recognized by a works cited page and parenthetical citation that includes the writer's last name and a page number for each direct quotation.
Purdue OWL MLA includes examples of citations for different source mediums including books, articles, and social media posts. Purdue OWL also includes example student papers written in MLA format. This is a popular source among writing consultants.
MLA Style Center is run by the Modern Language Association and includes in-depth information for citing specific sources and formating a works cited page. Print editions of the MLA Style Guide are avaliable through the UNL Library system.
APA (American Psychological Association) style is most often used in classes in social scientific fields and nursing. This citation style is recognized by a references page and parenthetical citations that include a writer's last name, the source’s year, and the quotation's page number.
Purdue OWL APA includes examples of citations for different source mediums including books, articles, and social media posts. also includes example student papers written in APA format. This is a popular source among writing consultants.
APA Style is a website run by the American Psychological Association that includes open access pages with example title pages, reference lists, citations, and examples of acceptable paraphrases.
Chicago citations are most often used in history, literature, and art. Chicago has two different citation systems. The note-bibliography style uses footnotes that cite each source and may also provide important commentary. Each source is also cited in a bibliography at the end of the paper. The author-date style does not use footnotes, but instead has parenthetical citations that include the source's author's last name, the source's year, and page number. All sources are also cited at the end of the paper in a references section. Many sources contain information for both styles of Chicago citations.
Purdue OWL Chicago includes examples of citations for different source mediums including books, articles, and social media posts. Purdue OWL also includes example student papers written in Chicago. This is a popular source among writing consultants.
The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition is the definitive source for conventions and questions related to Chicago citations. An active UNL library account is required to view this resource.
Other citation resources
The Yale Center for Teaching and Learning has handouts explaining how to incorporate direct quotations in MLA, APA, CSE, and Chicago styles. This page also links to other handouts for other research-based writing recommendations and model papers in different academic disciplines.
The University of Vermont Graduate Writing Center "Writing Resources" page contains links to information for other citations styles including CSE, IEEE, and AMA.
UNL Libraries' "Plagiarism and Citation" page contains informative sources related to citing sources, the importance of attributing information, and citation sources.
The UNL Office of Graduate Studies' "Academic Integrity" page describes examples of plagiarism with examples.
The UNL Student Code of Conduct contains the official campus policy related to plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty.
Talk to your faculty member in office hours and ask questions in class about the assignment. Writing consultants usually recommend showing your faculty member the work you have done on the assignment and arriving with specific questions in mind.
Read in the genre you will write in. For example, if you are writing a master’s thesis in applied psychology, make sure to read recent theses, especially those from recent UNL graduates, to gain an idea of the expected features of your project. Advisors, faculty members, and research librarians can help find related examples.
The resources listed below are suggestions and are not a substitute for conversations with experts in a specific field or reading mentor texts.
General information about writing in a specific discipline
UNL Libraries “Subject and Course Guides” links to research librarians, guides for some specific classes, guides to the subject area of related classes, and many contain links to key journals and citations style information.
The University of Vermont’s tutor tips represent ten years of writing advice in specific disciplines in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields. All entries are made by tutors and often include sample papers as well as interviews with Vermont professors with recommendations for writing in their specific discipline. The Graduate Writing Center resource page contains information specific for graduate student writers.
Writing in the Humanities
The Arts and Humanities UNL Library Research Guide links to pages for English, history, graphic design, Great Plains Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies.
Literary Analysis and Close Reading
Loyola University Maryland describes key considerations for writing literary analysis papers with information from multiple literary writing sources and lists key guiding questions for analyzing specific passages.
The UNL English library guide contains links to dictionaries, anthologies, and databases. These sources are especially useful for finding sources and more information about specific literary terms. There is an additional film studies and theater arts guide that contains information on diversity, ethics, and creativity in movies.
The University of Montana Writing Center provides a guide to writing in history courses with example paragraphs from an analysis essay.
The Rutgers history professors Matt Matsuda and John Gillis created a short guide for undergraduate students that especially emphasizes the purposes of historical writing, a description of key questions faculty use for evaluation, and example Chicago (14 th ed.) citations.
The Harvard Writing Center’s “Writing the History Paper” page contains much of the same information as the two sources above and includes citations to other useful sources about writing in history disciplines.
The UNL History library guide contains links to information for databases for secondary sources, information for finding primary sources, and the catalogue entries for reference books.
The UNL Philosophy library guide contains links to databases for dissertations, academic articles, and print books.
The Harvard Writing Center’s “Brief Guide to Writing the Philosophy Paper” uses examples to describe conventions in philosophy such as defining technical terms, answering objections to the thesis, and using evidence.
University of North Carolina philosophy of language professor Jim Pryor describes his guidelines for writing a philosophy paper. This page relies on multiple examples of philosophical reasoning and paper structure. Pryor’s website also links to pages on reading in philosophy, an introduction to problems in philosophy, and links to other philosophy related-resources.
Writing in the Fine and Performing Arts
The Cleveland Institute of Art has several pages dedicated toward writing artist statements. The “Writing an Artist Statement” page describes general writing tips and brainstorming exercises designed to introduce artwork for gallery viewers. The “Information in Cleveland Institute of Art Library” briefly describes several books that are useful for visual artists writing process as well as links to websites that contain artist statements. Many of these resources can be found through the UNL Libraries catalogue system.
Creative and Imaginative Writing
Consultants at the Writing Center can help creative writers throughout all stages of brainstorming and publishing in their writing processes.
Purdue OWL’s “Creative Writing” subpage describes the basic elements of different fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction genres. These pages also contain references to other creative writing related books. Purdue OWL also has a “Professional Resources for Creative Writers” page that describes the typical features in an inquiry letter and biographical note. The “Activities for Remote Creative Writing Classrooms” page describes several brainstorming exercises such as imitating writing a favorite writer’s style, experiment with unusual sentence structures, and write two versions of a fairy tale.
The UNL creative writing program in the English Department offers workshops, literary internship and publishing opportunities, and public lectures form well regarded creative writers. Key resources include the literary publications Prairie Schooner and Laurus , the Creative Writing Reading Series, and the department’s award-winning faculty.
The Nebraska Writer’s Collective is a local creative writing-focused nonprofit organization that regularly works with UNL students. You can also look on social media and in local newspapers for the names of other creative writing focused writing groups, organizations, and publishers.
Writing in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
See also literature reviews and IMRaD format
The UCLA Writing Center’s “Writing in the Social Sciences and Education” page contains to links to several useful writing-related resources including workshop videos, recommendations for publishing articles, and tips for grant writing.
The UNL Libraries “Psychology” and “Sociology” research guides contain links to books on discipline specific research methodologies.
UNL Libraries offers a “Data Management” guide that contains information for storing and naming data for quantitative and qualitative researchers. The page contains links to information on security, preservation, and sharing, among other topics.
The UNL “Methodology and Evaluation Research Core” offers consultations and workshops related to grant writing and research methods focused on social and behavioral scientific fields.
Writing in STEM Fields
Writing lab reports
The University of North Carolina’s “Scientific Report” page describes the central purposes of the features of lab reports and offers recommendations such as communicating with lab partners and considering whether active or passive voice is acceptable for a specific report. The related “Sciences” handout also offers general descriptions of precise vocabulary, phrasing, and sentence structures.
The Texas A & M Writing Center’s “Lab Reports” page describes the key features of the introduction, methods, results, analysis, and discussion (IMRaD) organizations. This page also contains links to pages on writing accessibility in the sciences and the practice of scientific writing.
Writing research grants
The University of North Carolina’s “Grant Proposals (or Give me the money!)” page describes the process of applying for research funding and contains an example budget proposal.
Karen Kelsky of The Professor Is In blog shares her “Foolproof Grant Template.” The template moves from naming a general topic, showing how current knowledge is incomplete, and detailing the writer’s specific project. Kelsky also describes the key template proposal features with examples. This blog also contains links to other academic related writing advice including Kelsky’s phrases to avoid in grant writing and writing research statements.
UNL Libraries’ “Grants & Funding Sources” page contains links to grant research and writing resources for UNL students and Nebraska residents. The Library system can offers access to the Foundation Center grant database, research librarians, and a grant writing guide.
Writing in Professional and Applied fields
See Personal Statements, Cover letters, and Resumes
The UNL Library “Journalism and Mass Communications” subject guide contains links to local, international, and historical media outlets accessible to current UNL students.
The UNL Center for Digital Research in the Humanities hosts several on-going publicly accessible projects. The “Best Practices in Digital Humanities Project” and “Digital Scholar Lab” are especially useful for writers interested in learning more about developing accessible websites.
The University of Kansas’ “Community Tool Box” program has webpages describing the key features and purposes of multiple forms of public writing including writing to elected officials, using social media for advocacy, and writing letters to the editor. Each of these sections also contain examples.
In addition to the Writing Center, there are several other offices on campus with staff trained to help students on writing projects and presentations.
For qualified students, the UNL TRIO Programs through Student Support Services provides additional writing-focused tutoring.
In addition to making appointments in the Writing Center, international students and multilingual writers can receive English language assistance through the English as a Second Language Support Lab and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures’ Language Lab .
Students enrolled in qualified Communication Studies classes can make an appointment in the speech lab for assistance on oral presentations.
In addition, the UNL Libraries system contains resources that include information on different citation systems, research support requests, and research guides for different academic disciplines.
For graduate students completing theses or dissertations, the Office of Graduate Studies provides information on and guidelines for appropriate styles and formatting for these documents.
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