Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Taking a business writing course has helped me develop my formal communication skills. These skills came in multiple forms. I learned how to more effectively analyze my rhetorical situation for example. The course also taught me who to improve my approach to research. It required me to develop and execute a project in a professional context. In order to do this effectively I first had to research an organization I was interested in serving. I then conducted interviews and explored the organization's web site. Another skill I developed was professional communication. Prior to the course I often spoke and wrote in an informal context; now, I appreciate when that is appropriate and when I should use formal language. The following are specific examples from each unit of the plethora of skills I employed and developed in this business writing course.

Unit 1: Job Ad, Analysis & Résumé

Unit 1 involved composition of a resume and rhetorically analyzing a job ad. We had to put ourselves in the situation of an applicant.

  • As for the résumé, there were no issues, but I did have to refine a draft I already had. I had never done a job analysis before so I didn’t know what was required of me. I had trouble finding key words.
  • I intend to continue improving and updating my resume. I also feel that my cover letter could always use more work and should be individually tailored to each organization I wish to apply to.
  • They are important because they are key components of the job application process. Those materials are the only things a potential employer has to judge me on.
  • The goals I have set for myself in terms of my professional development are to conduct more thorough research on the organization which I am applying to, I also want to learn how to better prepare a cover letter. Another goal is to update my resume.
  • I believe that it is important to do ample research on a company before applying. It helps me have a better understanding of who/what they are looking for. Also, I find that it helps me tailor my application better.

Unit 2: Project Research & Proposal

  • By researching different non-profits it gave me an idea of who had the most needs. I also found an organization that I felt strongly about. Understanding who they are made me more excited to help them.
  • My partner and I choose Mobile Meals of Tucson, Inc. and we worked with Director Priscila Altuna.
  • We first established a point of contact via telephone. From that point forward, most of our conversations consisted of emails. We have also had a few face to face interviews.
  • What led us to propose the development of the deliverable identified in our proposal was after doing research and interviewing our client, we decided that Web site redevelopment was their primary need. We also determined that there was no other need we could feasibly help them with.
  • We made sure to stay in constant contact with our client through email and by phone. We made sure to have approval on everything before moving forward.
  • We adjusted the time line according to our client’s requests. We also did not realize that she wanted anecdotal stories, so that was an adjustment we made once we began coming up with the text for the site.

Unit 3: Client Deliverable (Website)

  • My partner and I pursued the development of our deliverable by working together in class and also outside of class. We spoke on the phone, conversed via email and also met in person to complete our project. We split the project into smaller portions and divided them evenly between ourselves.
  • We first devised a draft. I put together the informational portion of the different pages and Jocelyn took care of the anecdotal stories. We combined them and had a rough draft, which we showed to our professor and also the client. We received feedback and then made adjustments.
  • We adjusted the development of your deliverable, since it was written in an essay format. Also, we made it more visually appealing and something the more closely resembled a web document. We also added more anecdotal stories to the web site.
  • We established a rapport in person, on the phone and via email. We maintained our client-consultant relationship through email primarily. Once we are finished with the revisions a technology expert will step in and continue revising their web site as needed.
  • I realized that it is important to have a set schedule for deadlines and to meet those deadlines. I also learned more about working in a team, rather than independently.
  • I learned about an organization that I previously knew nothing about. I also learned about non-profit organizations in general.
  • I believe I learned how to conduct myself in a professional manner and meet strict deadlines.


Throughout the semester I embarked on projects that promoted my professional development The Projects were: to assemble materials I would need to apply for a job and also to work with a nonprofit organization to develop a physical, or in our case, an electronic document that would meet the organization’s biggest need. In each of these projects I gained skills which were distinctly different, yet both were important. One theme, however, I learned from both was the value of research. Before I did not seek to learn any information about organization I wished to work for or with, but now I feel I must conduct an ample amount of research in order to suffice. By working with a client in Unit 2 and 3 I better understood what it meant to work as a team with my partner and also with our client.

* Idea inspired by Jocelyn Bresnick