Application Essay Advice similar to Job/Resume Advice

College students, the title of this blog may look like advice for the high school seniors, but read on!!!

It’s November, and the college application deadline is looming! In the spirit of wanting to inspire great college application essays, I’ve once again been researching other people’s thoughts on them. However, what I’ve noticed, is thoughts on writing a great application essay also translate into items that make for a great job application cover letter and successful interviewing.  Some of these keys to success include:

* Write it yourself
Both a college application essay and a job cover letter are a reflection of you. For a college essay, you receive an essay prompt, for a job vacancy you receive a list of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA). No matter which you are writing, you must utilize your skills, accomplishments, and the challenges you’ve overcome, as examples of how you can be a valuable asset to the college or company.

* Practice, edit, practice, edit, practice, edit…
Once you know the prompt or the KSA, now:

  • Brainstorm a list of experiences you can write about. Then…
  • Pick a few key topics from that list and make a short outline of how you believe those topics answer the prompt/KSA. Then…
  • Write a few rough drafts (three topics = three drafts). Then…
  • Make sure you’ve used a positive tone, no one wants to read a whiney story! Then…
  • Seek an outside opinion. Ask a friend, family member, a counselor: high school or college career center for feedback. Next…
  • Utilize their feedback for edits, then self-edit, then get outside editing again!

Your best writing is not your first draft, nor your second! It’s important to be willing to allow yourself time to grow as a writer of this type.

* Are Admissions officers/Human Resources staff even reading this?
In the case of Admissions officers for a college: Yes, they are, and they care about who they admit to the institution. In the case of Human Resources: it depends, some companies use computer software to screen applicants. The electronic screening is often set to find key words, which makes it very important for applicants to include key words and phrases used in the job vacancy in the cover letter and resume.

For those of you working on the application essay, these two blogs may be useful! For those of you working on resumes and cover letters, go to your campus career center for one-on-one conversations and feedback!

Happy writing! (FYI: I edited this blog more than ten times!)

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