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Honors Prof. Night - Business Writing Workshop

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Honors Prof. Night - Business Writing Workshop

  1. 1. Business Writing and Professional Communication Facilitated by: Brandan Oates and Sarah Roth Honors Professional Development Night Wednesday, March 23, 2016
  2. 2. Tonight’s Workshop Topic Facilitator(s) Requests for Letters of Recommendation Sarah Professional Emails Brandan Getting Started with Résumés and Cover Letters Sarah Scholarship Application Tips for Success Brandan Questions and Handouts Sarah & Brandan
  3. 3. Requests for Letters of Recommendation Facilitated by: Sarah Roth
  4. 4. Don’t Do This…
  5. 5. Do This Instead!
  6. 6. Tips for Success • Give your recommender 2 weeks’ notice • Provide name of award/scholarship/position/etc. • Incorporate links associated with the opportunity • Scholarship description • Company website • Include your resume
  7. 7. Tips for Success cont. • Describe preferred type of letter • Hard copy or electronic attachment • Include submission instructions and mailing address, if needed • Some may feel uncomfortable giving the student the letter • Provide final due date needed for opportunity • Include preferred date to you • Send a polite reminder, as needed
  8. 8. Additional Considerations • If the letter needs to be mailed, it’s generous to provide a stamped envelope • A handwritten thank you note is a nice touch • So, did you get it?! Keep your recommender posted!
  9. 9. Professional Emails Facilitated by: Brandan Oates
  10. 10. Email Expert Activity Backstory: You are the email expert. You have worked at a variety of companies during your career and have encountered a plethora of situations, especially when it comes to email communication. Instructions: • Mark each of the given emails as “Good” or “Poor”. • If you mark an email as “Poor”, provide at least one reason for justification. • You have two (2) minutes.
  11. 11. Purpose of Email • Communicate information quickly, when a telephone or conversation is not necessary* • Send a file/document • Inquire** • Send non time-sensitive information • Deliver information to a large group of people • Have a written record *Information should be concise and clear **Question to consider: Can you find the answer yourself? Professionalism Tip √ If the email’s content is: • Long and/or complicated • Can be easily misinterpreted • Confidential …consider a different communication medium.
  12. 12. Know Your Audience Relationship with Recipient Formality Requirement Unknown Recipient (Never met) Formal Professional Relationship Formal Casual Colleague or Peer Formal-Casual Casual (Know well) Casual or Formal-Casual
  13. 13. Tone of an Email • Written communication → feelings are hard to express • Tones to avoid • Demanding • Offensive • Angry • Blame • Use “please” and “thank you’ • Reminder: Email ≠ Conversation • Never send an email on impulse Professionalism Tip √ If you have doubted the tone of an email, it is NOT fit to be sent.
  14. 14. Email Format  Left-aligned  Font: Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, or company default  Color: Black is safest (red is okay for emphasis)  Keep font consistent  Proper punctuation  Standard language – avoid abbreviations  Remove “Sent from my smartphone” signatures Greeting / Salutation Examples: • Dear [Name], • Hello, • Hello [Name], • Hello everyone, • To Whom it May Concern, • Greetings, • [Name], *Use a comma after the greeting! *Address the recipient with the appropriate title (highest title or the best fit based on context) *Spell the recipient’s name correctly Content Emails should cover only one main topic/idea Paragraphs and lists are welcome, but should be clear and concise Closing Examples: • Best, • Best regards, • Regards, • Respectfully yours, • Thank you, • Best wishes, • Sincerely, Examples to avoid: x Yours Truly, x Cheers, x See you around, x Be well, x Thx, Other Closings to Avoid: x Have a wonderful bountiful lustful day, x Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail. x This email is off the record unless otherwise indicated, x Waiting to hear your reply, with best regards, x Snuggles, x TTFN x A smiling face is miles more attractive than just a pretty one. x Thanking you in anticipation, Email Signature Full Name Title/Position Company/Organization Contact Information* *Phone Number, Email Address, Mailing Address, Website **Modify settings in your email client to automatically insert your signature at the bottom of every email Subject Line Always include a subject line when sending an email! Subject lines should reflect the main idea of the email, not be the email itself. RE: = Reply of an email FW: = Forwarded email
  15. 15. Set Your Email Signature (Office 365) Step 1: Click “Mail” 1
  16. 16. Set Your Email Signature (Office 365) Step 2: Click the gear icon 2
  17. 17. Set Your Email Signature (Office 365) Step 3: Click “Options” in the settings menu (after clicking the gear icon) 3
  18. 18. Set Your Email Signature (Office 365) Step 4: Click “Email signature” in the left pane Step 6: Compose and format your email signature! SAMPLE FORMAT 2: Full Name Title/Position Company/Organization Contact Information SAMPLE FORMAT 1: Full Name Title/Position Major Institution Contact Information Step 5: Check the “Automatically include my signature on new messages I compose” option 4 5 6
  19. 19. More About Email… When to Send Do not expect a response outside of normal business hours (Mon-Fri 8:00- 5:00) Remember: you are not always available! Quantity One is best! Excessive emails decreases their value and can annoy the recipient Reply, Reply All, Forward Reply: To one user Reply All: To all original recipients (avoid unless necessary) Forward: Copy to new recipient Cc and Bcc Cc: Carbon copy – send to recipient who is indirectly affected by email Bcc: Blind carbon copy – same as Cc, but addresses do not appear (avoid in most cases) Last Minute Check √ Be sure to double-check: • Recipient emails • Subject line • Attachments • Punctuation/Grammar
  20. 20. Getting Started with Resumes and Cover Letters Facilitated by: Sarah Roth
  21. 21. Don’t Do This…
  22. 22. Do This Instead!
  23. 23. Cover Letters: An Introduction • Cover letters serve multiple purposes: • To demonstrate that your qualifications fit the requirements of the position • To show that you have done your homework on the position and organization • To demonstrate you have the ability to write well Source: http://careercenter.illinoisstate.edu/student/resume/
  24. 24. Cover Letter Outline • Paragraph 1: How I heard about the job • Paragraph 2: Why I want the job • Paragraph 3: Why I’d be great for the job • Paragraph 4: How I’m going to follow up about the job Source: http://careercenter.illinoisstate.edu/student/resume/cover_letters.shtml
  25. 25. Utilizing Your Resources • “Resume Record” template Honors website • Use before you have a resume and/or “on the fly” • Career Center • Free resume paper, resume printing & business cards • Walk-in resume critiques vs. Resume review • Career Resource Guide • Resume Basics, pgs. 4-8 • Cover Letters, pgs. 9-10
  26. 26. General Recommendations • Leave adequate time to update your resume/cover letter • Customize them to the opportunity • Connect your personal skills to the posting/description • Utilize their key words (e.g. flexibility, teamwork) • Demonstrate knowledge of their terms/lingo (e.g. Honors Learning Experiences)
  27. 27. Scholarship Applications: Tips for Success Facilitated by: Brandan Oates
  28. 28. Applying to Scholarships 1. Read and understand the criteria 2. Prepare and plan ahead 3. Ask questions (if needed) 4. Check, double-check, and check again Source: https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2015/03/scholarship-basics-make-application-shine/
  29. 29. The Essay Know the Prompt Organize & Edit the Draft Utilize Past Work o Reread the prompt o Align statements with the donor’s hopes and intentions o Include specific examples o Make sure all parts of the prompt are covered o Utilize standard essay structure o Proofread! Have another person also double- check spelling, grammar, and punctuation o Enrich your sentences: simplify and vary o It is okay to reuse parts of previous scholarship essays o Double-check that the award name is correct o Consider a new approach for previously unsuccessful essays Source: https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2015/04/scholarship-basics-write-winning-essay/ Distinguish yourself!
  30. 30. Personal Anecdote
  31. 31. Scholarships: Final Thoughts √ Start gathering application materials early! √ Letters of recommendation, transcripts, résumé, etc. √ Ask questions if anything is unclear. √ Utilize the ISU Scholarship Resource Office: http://financialaid.illinoisstate.edu/scholarships/ √ If you meet the criteria, APPLY! Smaller, local scholarships can add up quickly. √ Ensure the application is complete at time of submission.
  32. 32. Questions? Speakers will also be available for questions during tonight’s networking reception from 7:45 – 8:30pm.
  33. 33. Tonight’s Event Schedule Event Time Check-In 5:15pm – 5:35pm Keynote Speaker 5:30pm – 6:10pm Session I 6:20pm – 6:45pm Session II 6:50pm – 7:15pm Session III 7:20pm – 7:45pm Networking Reception 7:45pm – 8:30pm Honors Professional Development Night Wednesday, March 23, 2016 5:30-8:30pm

Notas do Editor

  • PR & CSPA
    COUNTRY- 2 years
    Honors- 6 years
    As advisor, send/receive a TON of e-mails, write letters of rec, help students with scholarship applications, review a lot of Honors apps & write Student Stories
  • We have both requested and written letters of rec, but when Brandan and I asked others to write letters for us, you can bet it didn’t look like this…
  • Example of a poor request
  • Here’s an example of a strong request for a letter of recommendation. Jackie explains what she’s applying for and why she needs the letter, as well as why she feels this person is a great fit to write this letter. She gives the timeline. Overall, it’s professionally written.

    If you want to go back and look at this for inspiration, you can read the whole thing in our PowerPoint on the Honors website.
  • My first tip when asking for a letter of recommendation is to give the person you’re asking at least two week’s notice. Of course, you want to tell them exactly what you’re applying for and include any links so that the recommender doesn’t have to look up more information about it. It’s a nice bonus to include your updated resume, or at least a list of your activities & involvement.
  • Do you need a hard copy letter that’s mailed directly to the organization? Should it be submitted online? E-mailed as a PDF to the student? I’ve seen and done all of these as a recommender. You need to be specific with your recommender about the submission instructions.

    One thing to note is that I know some professors and advisors across campus who feel uncomfortable sending the student the letter, directly. Don’t take offense to this or take this personally. It doesn’t mean they’re secretly saying bad things about you! But these may be professionals who are accustomed to the old-school way of doing recommendation letters where it was mailed as a hard copy, in a sealed envelope, with a signature across the sealed flap to ensure it hadn’t been opened. We were paranoid, apparently. So that used to be the standard and now there are of course a lot more digital options.

    Lastly, give a final due date, of course. It’s a good idea to include a preferred date, and you can send a polite reminder a few days before.
  • Some final considerations…
    If the letter does need to be mailed, it’s considered generous to provide the recommender with a pre-addressed, stamped envelope. A handwritten thank you note after the letter is submitted is a nice touch. And lastly, keep in touch. Let us know what happened. This is a way to keep the lines of communication open with a professional contact.
    And how are you going to keep us updated? You’re going to send an e-mail! And that’s what Brandan’s going to discuss next…
  • Obviously, we could talk all night about resumes and cover letters! But I wanted to spend just a few quick minutes to talk about resumes and cover letters, particularly for those of you who are freshmen or who aren’t business majors and don’t have as much exposure to these topics.
  • So again, don’t do this. Paragraph style is a no-no. Ugly fonts are bad. It’s hard to read.
  • You need an organized layout and a strong visual hierarchy. You want a nice balance of text and white space so it’s easy on the easy. You want to make sure it’s easy to read.
  • A lot of you are somewhat familiar with resumes, even if you don’t have one yet. But many of you may be thinking, “What in the world is a cover letter?” Well according to our Career Center, cover letters serve multiple purposes. They help to set you apart and give you an edge by demonstrating the fit between you and this position, to demonstrate your knowledge of the organization and that you can write.
  • Here’s a general outline of what a cover letter looks like. If you address all of these things, you’re off to a great start in building a solid cover letter that you then tweak and customize to each opportunity.
  • As ISU Honors students, you have access to some pretty cool resources we want to make sure you’re aware of. We have our own Resume Record template that you can access from the Honors website. It will be one of the Prof Dev Night resources. And this is a document you can use to get started building your resume, or as a running list that you add to as you participate in service activities or win an award, you jot it down on the Resume Record before you forget about it but don’t worry about the perfect wording or formatting for your resume just yet.

    The Career Center has free resume paper, resume printing and business cards for all undergraduate students. A lot of students don’t think about the Career Center until they’re seniors, but it’s something you can take advantage of as you’re searching for internships or scholarships too. They also offer quick walk-in resume critiques and you can schedule a half hour resume review with the career advisor assigned to your specific College.

    Lastly, the Career Resource Guide in your Prof Dev Night folders is another great resource. They cover Resume Basics on pages 4-8 and Cover Letters on pages 9-10, so check that out for information on action words, transferable skills and formatting tips.
  • It takes a lot of time to keep your resume updated and to adjust your cover letter to every opportunity, but it’s worth it. I have a friend in HR at Growmark and she said you would not believe the number of cover letters she gets that are addressed to a different employer, and then they go on to say in the letter how detail-oriented they are.

    In general, recruiters scan your resume and cover letter for key words that match the open position to make their “fit/no fit” decision. It’s really a “pattern matching” activity.

    So pull key factors out of the job description and integrate them into your resume as much as you can. Make that connection in your cover letter as well. And if there are no connections or you’re really struggling to match the two, the position may not be the right fit for you. It’s another pet peeve in HR when people apply over and over again for whatever jobs are posted, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with their qualifications. That’s not using your critical thinking skills.

    But when you can, use their key words in your resume and cover letter. And in your cover letter, demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and you know their terms and lingo. When we’ve done interviews in Honors or when I read Honors applications, if they use the right terms, like Honors Learning Experience, that’s an immediate point in your favor.

    And now Brandan is going to talk briefly about scholarship applications where you also want as many points in your favor as possible…