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Category: Writing

Academic Cover Letters for Non-Academics

Steve Joy of Guardian Professional has prepped 10 cover letter tips for the budding academic.  And while these procedures are clearly addressed towards educators, who says you can’t apply it to your own cover letter writing?

But before turning head on to the task, it would be necessary to tackle what it is for you.  Will adopting the academic’s approach actually make a difference in your own cover letter?  Apparently, yes.  Despite its specifics, which were largely tailored towards the academic, its core points happen to be applicable for non-academics.

Want more proof?  See the adoption below.

The Five Tips: Adopted

Out of the ten tips, this transcribing session only sticks with five.

1)  Start with a clear identity

The first tip emphasised an essential reminder: you.  Yes, you are the critical part of this writing process.  Your information will have to be sifted and organised.  But there’s a chance that you’re likely to write stuff that don’t necessarily tell a strong story about you.

Steve implores that you avoid this risk by answering these key questions:

(a)  What is your current job and affiliation?

(b)  What’s your research field and what’s your main contribution to it?

For non-academics: focus on your field of specialisation.

(c)  What makes you most suitable for this post?

 

2)  Evidence, evidence, evidence; and

3)   It’s not an encyclopaedia

These tips, which were merged into one, tries to proffer a grand solution to market yourself without sounding pompous: offer evidence in moderation.

Okay, how does Steve suggest you to do it?  His key point is to choose which among your credentials merit the mention.  In other words, prioritise the best credentials over the good-enough ones.

4)  Think holistically

The fourth tip is all about trying not to be repetitive.  Give you prospective employer a little bit of everything that you have.  This makes for a better-rounded piece and should not fail to show your diversity in skills and knowhow.

5)  Two sides are more than enough

Stick with the standard one-page cover letter.  That’s why you need to do a lot of choosing, prioritising and detail-cutting – because you’re aiming for one-page.  This is not solely for your benefit; it’s also for your reader (you don’t want them to snooze over your cover letter).

Now, there is Steve Joy’s first five tips, all tweaked a bit to hit the mark for the non-academic applicants.  Read his complete cover letter writing tips, and see which ones you could actually use for your own piece.

About the Author

Allison Harvard works for Prospect Solution as a Public Relations Manager . Prospect Solution provides freelance writing job opportunities    for academic writers and professionals who wish to earn well while still maintaining their work-life balance.

 

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Dropping the 5th, 4th and 3rd Junk Words

Words, words.  They have a way of making and breaking speakers.  Fundamentally, they serve several functions, one of which is to facilitate people’s communication.

Words are heard over TV ads and radio music.  It can be common, it can be creatively manufactured.  Words are complemented by tones, laced with emotions.  They fill people’s sense of sight and hearing.  They are everywhere.

And some need to be dropped.

Word-dropping?  Why?

To drop some words doesn’t necessarily mean to never use them.  To drop words or terms suggest carefully choosing when to use them and when not to use them.  People often think that words worth dropping is largely composed of cuss-words.

Apparently, they’re mistaken.  In the case of job hunting and interviews, some words are best not spoken.  Forbes, for instance, had just presented its “Top 10 Words To Erase From Your Vocabulary.”

But isn’t 10 quite a big figure to swiftly eliminate?

So, we start with the three

For those who can’t sustain dropping all ten words, you can start discarding the top fifth, fourth, and third words first.

#5 But    

Why take away ‘but?’  Well Said book author, Darlene Price argues that the word actually gives this effect: “negates anything that comes before it.”  Aren’t convince?  Then consider this example:

I would love to do OTs but provided that…

Indeed, it shows the conditional side of the statement.  There’s nothing wrong about negotiating; however, the use of the word ‘but’ almost always erases the positivity of the clause before it (ie, love to do OTs) – making the statement, as a whole, superfluous.

Darlene’s advice is to look for a better substitute term or ‘rephrase’ it.

# 4 Never

This word is downright negative (compared to ‘but’).  However, it is used by most to express vehemence (ie, decisiveness?), like

I would never consider abandoning a project until I did everything possible to make it work.

Really?  Even if such feat starts to eat up precious resources?  Well, Dale Austin of Hope College thinks the term is about restricting ideas of which are considered “discouraging and naive” on an employer’s perspective.

#3 Like

It’s not the clickable icon in your favourite social media platform.  It’s the prosaic manner of proffering examples.  And as Nancy Mobley of Insight Performance remarks, the word is bound to reflect “incompetence and poor communication skills.”

Hence, avoid the temptation of using such:

I did participate in the company’s major projects, like those…

Don’t use the word unless the speaker you’re conversing with cannot catch the gist of the project through your direct description (of that project).

‘But’ and ‘never’ may have been around for quite some time, though for others, these terms may have never grazed their vocabulary. ‘Like,’ on the other hand, is famous – thanks to the social media giant Facebook.

Yet, when experts suggest for them to be dropped, you got to bring them down.  This should provide an opportunity for other apt terms to visit your vocabulary, making your language evolve and your shot for employment better aimed.

 

About the Author

Allison Harvard works for Prospect Solution as a Public Relations Manager . Prospect Solution provides freelance writing job opportunities    for academic writers and professionals who wish to earn well while still maintaining their work-life balance.

When Ideas Sink Down, Go Write

How do you face the monitor, the ever-blinking cursor, or the keyboard – when nothing goes through your thoughts?  Okay, it’s not exactly blank; but it hasn’t any processed idea through which you can build content.

You’ve been brainstorming for hours and whether you care to admit it, you’re not being productive.  This brings you to ask, “How do you write, when ideas are nowhere to be found?”

Answer: You have to work twice harder.  You need to peruse your sight through many articles until ideas are triggered and siphoned out and into paper.  It’s not an easy procedure; hence, each suggested approach is discussed in deeper detail.

Face Whatever’s Stopping You

The Dummies call them Writing Demons; what do you call yours?  Whatever name you give it, the point here is for you to face it.  If its procrastination, then dug your heels and attempt to blast as fast and far from the all-too inviting sofa.

Disable your social media notifications and free yourself of distractions.  On the other hand, if there’s just this lack of enthusiasm (particularly, in your writing’s voice), enliven it.  Read a material that really interests you; then go back and revise your piece, this time, bringing with you unadulterated zeal.

Write like There’s No Tomorrow

Another antidote for this scarcity of ideas is to write.  You can take a pause from your supposed article submission and write about something else.  Talk about the changing weather and how it affects ordinary citizens like you.

Or write about a very big issue; perhaps, this has been something you’ve been meaning to attend to but can’t because of prior commitments.  Unleashing your words and ideas on these ‘other’ topics has an unwitting effect: it also spills the rest of the creative juices.  By this time, you’re mind is condition to get real creative and ideas reunite in your head.

Shield against Constant Rejection

Publishers, editors, and the like – these are the sorts of people of which you and your writing will be involved.  When you’ve got a good piece, the upper hand is yours; when they think it’s otherwise, the upper hand is theirs.

Yet, don’t let yourself feel bad (and consequently, become a paralytic-writer).  In most cases, these people are there to help you shape you – not to become a writer to whom you want to be – but to become a writer for your readers.

Focus on Writing Better          

Ironically, how could you write better when you have no idea what to write?  In some cases, writing isn’t about exactly the ‘new.’  Rather, it could also be about the ‘old’ topics, those issues that re-occur.  Since, people are most likely to have grown tired of such topics, work on tweaking them, and make them better.

In the end, making a piece better, entails making your writing style better – an event that won’t be possible, if you dare succumb to that loss of ideas.

About the Author

Allison Harvard works for Prospect Solution as a Public Relations Manager . Prospect Solution provides freelance writing opportunities    for academic writers and professionals who wish to earn well while still maintaining their work-life balance.

 

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Answering Ben Yagoda

In October 3 of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Lingua Franca section, Mr Yagoda popped the question: “Is the Internet Good for Writing?”

His piece is the first part, the Affirmative take, towards the unending query of online writing and what it does to people’s skills (eg, writing, communicating, and thinking).  As a backup for reinforcing the Yes-answer to the question, the writer took to his wing Clive Thompson.

Indeed, it’s good

The author of Smarter Than You Think book brings his points home through these witty statements:

“Before the Internet came along, most people rarely wrote anything at all for pleasure or intellectual satisfaction after graduating from high school or college.” Now … people compose about 3.6 trillion words a day via e-mail, blogs, and social media…”

Perhaps, if people stick to the emphasis on volume and frequency, yes! – Every single literate reader becomes a writer, as well.  Social media networks and other such platforms gave people the chance to have their voice heard, or in the proper context, read.

Another Thompson-line that is worth dissecting into three parts were inclusive of the following: (1) firstly, part of the objective is to gain recognition or attention; (2) online writing is actually a form of “auditioning;” and (3) the beauty in this whole writing trend is that it “forces you to think more precisely, make deeper connections…

Once a tweet, a post or a blog entry is out, it gets a taste of people’s tests.  Some get liked, some incite comments, some are shared, and most get flushed in people’s memory drain.  It inevitably, assigns the readers as judges.  And like the ones seen in talent pageants, such judges don’t always seem to showcase tough benchmarks.  Interestingly, those who do have good metrics end up looking great image- or taste-wise.

More scholars

Clive Thompson didn’t have to be alone in his campaign.  Some scholars were also brought in the picture; one had been Andrea Lunsford (Standford):

“We’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we have not seen since Greek civilization.”

It’s just a great description, but for those who can’t see through the lines, fill your imagery with the following scenes: free-access to loads of good reads – blogs, articles, and even eBooks; easy to use writing platforms – social media networks, hosting sites, and the welcoming blogosphere; online writing coupled by more mobile devices and free writing applications.  Indeed, when the digital paper is conveniently laid in front, there’s no stopping the posting, the tweeting, the writing!

 About the Author

Allison Harvard works for Prospect Solution as a Public Relations Manager . Prospect Solution provides freelance job for academic writers and professionals who wish to earn well while still maintaining their work-life balance.

Writing whilst Unwinding

Are you getting a wee bit tired sitting at the same ergonomic chair, tapping away time with cohesive thoughts and words?  If you tried transferring your writing routines up the light room, into the dining room, outdoors – and still, the itch to escape remains alive.

Perhaps, you got bitten by the travel bug!  And with writing projects not inching down, you know you can’t leave it even a single sec.  In this case, the concept of a “writing escapade” sounds attractive, if not intriguing.

To help you fan out excitement, here are three factors to consider: the new goal, writing paraphernalia, and suitable location.

Set a flexible range of goals

Because you’re out in a new or simply, tranquil place, you need to adjust your goals.  When you decided to went out, it wasn’t just for bringing writing out in the sun, oh no.  It was also for you to unwind, to rejuvenate, reflect and immerse yourself in a different setting.

Hence, consider the hours you will set for traipsing and for scribbling.  Think of the best arrangement that will work wonder on your targets: write first, and then go out, or vice versa?

Importantly, look at the goals you could actually hit, taking into account that you’re not staying put in the whole duration of your stay.  In short, set a minimum and maximum target.  The minimum ensures that you’re not abandoning a good bulk of your writing project.  The maximum target, on the other hand, guarantees that you need not work more – and that you could go reward yourself a whole night’s bar-hopping, morning dive, and so forth.

Writing kit

Bringing your writing project out usually entails considering things you don’t usually think of (when you’re at your writing hub).  For instance, working on your PC or laptop requires an uninterrupted stream of electricity or full battery (for laptops).

In line to choosing your place, you’d want to check if their electrical connection is good, as is the internet connection or Wi-Fi hotspots.  And with a tech gear you’d be bringing around, ponder about the place’s security and privacy.

Other writing backups, like USBs or paper-plus-pens, could come in handy.

Settle for the Right Spot

The best spot is a place that exudes the kind of vibe you want transmitted in your piece.  If you’re working on a fiction set on a tropical island, anywhere sandy would do.

Some writing spots could already be provided right at your reserved room (eg, simple wooden desk close to the window pane for light’s sake).  There may be other facilities, such as a quite cafe or mini-office.

But, seriously, get creative! Bring out a mat and lay it under the shade of a tree.  A plush pillow and a sturdy material for a table (eg, small chest, thick book) – and viola!  You’ve made yourself a writing haven right next to nature’s bounty of light, wind and colours.

 

About the Author

Prospect Solution provides freelance job for academics and professionals who wish to earn well while still maintaining their work-life balance.

 

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