Cover Letters, Writing Samples, & References

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WRITING SAMPLE TIPS & RESOURCES

Some employers ask for a writing sample as a part of the application process.

  • If possible, try to have the writing sample relate in some way to job's focus area(s) or the skills needed for the job.
  • Select a writing sample that shows high quality work (no typos or grammatical errors, persuasive, highlights your ability to condense complex technical information that is understandable to lay audiences, one that received rave reviews, etc.).
  • Generally writing samples should be three to five pages in length (unless otherwise specified)
  • In some cases students will take a section from a longer paper and use one section of the paper as their writing sample. If this is the case, you should put a short note (one to two sentences) at the top of the writing sample with a brief introduction explaining the focus of the paper in general and mention that this is a section of that document.
  • Always include your name, address, email, phone number and title of the paper at the top of the writing sample along with a short one sentence description providing the context of the writing sample. Ex: "This was a briefing paper I prepared for the Mayor of Detroit on the costs of implementing various renewable energy systems for the city which resulted in the City installing solar powered parking meters and saving the city $50,000 annually in electricity costs."
  • Ask the employer for guidance on what type of a writing sample they would like to see.

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HOW TO SOURCE GOOD REFERENCES

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If you have any comments or feedback about any of the resources listed on this website, please send an email to snre.careers@umich.edu .  We welcome your comments!