Free online writing lab aids job seekers in preparing resumes, letters

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Job seekers wanting to make the “write” first impression can benefit by using the resources of Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab.

“During this tough job market, it’s critical that resumes and cover letters be error-free,” says Tammy S. Conard-Salvo, acting director of the Writing Lab. “Because of today’s economic hardships, many professionals are updating their resumes to find a job, which is something they may have not done in many years.”

The Online Writing Lab provides a variety of job search writing tips, including e-mail etiquette, formatting, resume design, verb usage, word choices, font choices, keywords, appropriate content, proofing and mailing tips.

The Online Writing Lab provides a variety of job search writing tips, including e-mail etiquette, formatting, resume design, verb usage, word choices, font choices, keywords, appropriate content, proofing and mailing tips.

The Online Writing Lab, http://owl.english.purdue.edu/, provides a variety of job search writing tips, including e-mail etiquette, formatting, resume design, verb usage, word choices, font choices, keywords, appropriate content, proofing and mailing tips.

“Many people don’t understand how a cover letter and resume should correlate,” Conard-Salvo says. “Cover letters and resumes are complementary. Use the cover letter to tell a story that emphasizes your skills, then add the related details to your resume.”

Conard-Salvo also says it’s important to customize cover letters by tailoring them for a specific job’s qualifications. One way to do so is to use keywords from the job ad.

“Don’t just copy and paste names, but instead demonstrate that you have done research,” Conard-Salvo says. “Some potential employees create one cover letter to mail to 50 people. That lack of effort will be apparent, especially in today’s competitive environment.”

The Online Writing Lab also features a new section, “Adult Basic Education,” which assists in preparing for the General Educational Development test, also known as the GED. This section also contains English as a Second Language resources, and information on applying for blue-collar jobs will be added soon. This feature is available at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/

The Writing Lab Web site received more than 111 million hits last year. Available at this site are more than 200 printable handouts on editing and revising, Web research and research papers, as well as current instructions for documentation in Modern Language Association and American Psychological Association writing styles. The Writing Lab also offers a grammar hotline at 765-494-3723.

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