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ENGL 209: Writing for Real Life

This guide was updated for Dr. O'Neill's ENGL 209 students.

Assignment details

Writing for Work. (20%) 

To practice for life after Stetson, students will choose a field of interest, ideally related to actual career goals and plans, and develop a set of materials that are essential to professional life (resumes, types of correspondence, responses to advertised positions in the field, and representations of documents students will likely be expected to produce).  

You are expected to make an appointment with Career and Professional Development and use the information there to illuminate your learning.  After studying the field, learning everything possible about the kinds of writing expected by those who work in the field, and practicing the required skills, students will assemble a professional portfolio that will include, at a minimum:  

  • a stock resume to use for the current moment 
  • a cover letter and targeted resume for a real and current advertised position that you could, someday, apply for  
  • A section that includes a listing of the kinds of writing typically expected in your intended field; a report on the kinds of writing typically done in the field, with a real world example of one of those kinds of writing 
  • A discussion of what organizations your professional self might want to join. List at least four, with descriptions and where you found the information.
  • a reflective, self-evaluative memo in which you review and evaluate your work on this project  


  1. Draft and revise stock resume  
  2. Identify and do research on a real job opening; what writing is required? How can you best prepare yourself for the work of the position?  
  3. Draft and revise application materials  
  4. Collate and prepare portfolio of materials  
  5. Editing  
  6. Submission of portfolio, with reflective memo   


The days they will need Library work: this is from my course calendar:


Week Eight 

--Revise resume to completion and turn it in on “Stock Resume Final Draft.”  pdf format. Give it a file name like this: YOUR NAME Stock  Resume 

Review lecture: How to choose the best ad for this assignment  

--Research potential job openings on HatterSync,, or other major resource online.  (these are intended to let you google for jobs. More advanced research will come. Choose three or four that seem workable.. Copy/paste these ads (not just the links) into a Word doc.   Highlight key words and indicators about the writing required. Save your document. You’ll revise and/or add to it before turning it in.  

Canvas post: 500 words Reflect on the job openings you’re finding.  Where are the jobs, and how much do they pay? What kinds of writing expectations are spelled out? What will you have to learn to do? How will you learn that?  


Tuesday class 3/5 


Examples that work, examples that don’t.

Discussion of what the job openings call for in terms of writing  


Thursday 3/7 

Week Nine 


Follow up the Library session by completing the following tasks:  

  1. Find at least two professional organizations you might want to join (explain their significance to you) 
  2. Find at least one professional or trade journal in your field that looks useful to you, and screenshot/print/scan the table of contents (explain what the table of contents tells you about the field) 
  3. Add to your list of job descriptions by using the Library resources 
  4. Compile all of this into ONE document, neatly labeled and organized, and post to “Follow up on Library Research” on Canvas. Title the document YOUR NAME Professional Research  

Make sure you have a copy of it ready to refer to for Tuesday’s class   

Tuesday class 3/12 

Follow up on professional journals

Discussion: the kind of ad to choose for this project.

Writing from "future you"

Thursday 3/14 



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