Creative Job Applications

Awhile back, I shared the story of my friend James who applied for a job with the WWE by stenciling his resume onto a metal, folding chair. Here’s another example of creative job applications. Originally spied on Reddit, designer Andy Morris created this LEGO minifigure package as his professional calling card. On the reverse, there are links to his resume, LinkedIn Profile, and other contact information.

Beginning of Class Writing: Research Questions Memo

With the article that you read for today’s class, you will be writing a memo outlining several research questions.

When I say research, I mean it as a synonym for investigate, explore, and discover.

While you should have learned something from the article that you read, what can you follow up to learn more about? It could involve something named in the article. It could involve an idea not fully explained in the article. It could be something that the article referenced in passing that you would like to learn more about. It could be anything connected to the article.

So, the goal for this writing assignment is to think of four questions that you could conceivably answer given the time and resources to research on your own.

Your memo should follow this format:

Memo Header (to, from, date, subject)

One sentence describing this memo’s purpose.

One sentence summary of the article.

List of four questions.

APA Bibliographic Entry for the article that you read. Use the Purdue OWL APA guide.

Copy-and-paste your work into a comment made to this blog post.

Beginning of Class Writing, Letter to Your Article’s Author

For today’s beginning of class writing assignment, you will write a different kind of letter than the one that you wrote to an editor. In this assignment, you will write to the author inquiring for more information about something discussed in the article. Your letter should demonstrate that you read the article and did some research on your own. Never ask for more information about something without performing your own due diligence to research and learn on your own. Google, Wikipedia, the City Tech Library, etc. are your friends in this regard.

Follow this template for your letter. When you are done writing in Google Docs or Microsoft Word, copy and paste your letter into a comment made to this blog post.

Your Street Address
Your City, State  Zip Code


Author’s Full Name
Search Google for their work address–if not available, write c/o Editor First Last Name, Magazine, Address

Dear Mr./Ms. (or Dr. or Prof.–find out!) Author’s Last Name,

In one or two sentences state the purpose of this letter–to inquire about something mentioned in the article titled “something” in the Month Year issue of Magazine.

I enjoyed reading your article about … one or two sentences demonstrating that you read it.

My question is … state it clearly and remember to add a question mark? Write one or two sentences about what research you have done and what you have learned that left you hoping to learn more from the author. For example: I read the Wikipedia article about the iPhone and learned about the different versions released over the years, but it does not explore the behind the scenes development of the iPhone alluded to in your essay. I was hoping that you could tell me more about the first iPhone prototype’s development that was not included in your article.

Thank you for your time and considering my request. I hope to speak with you at your convenience.


Your Full Name

Turning In Project 1

Before our next class, follow these directions to submit your Project 1 portfolio to Professor Ellis.

After you’ve created your profile and populated it with the information from your resumes, full work history, and profile photo, find Professor Ellis’ profile and add him to your network.

Create an email from your City Tech email account to Professor Ellis (

Use this subject: ENG1133 Project 1 Portfolio

Write a brief, professional email explaining to me that this is you Project 1 Portfolio.

If you’re using Google Docs, and need to download your documents to attach to an email, from inside Google Docs for each of your documents, choose File > Download As > Microsoft Word docx.

Give your documents meaningful file names (e.g., Ellis Skills Resume.docx, Ellis Experience Resume.docx, Ellis Job Letter.docx), and attach your documents to this email in Microsoft Word docx format.

Send your email, and watch for a confirmation email from me. I will be actively watching for your work. However, if you send your email moments before class begins, I might not be able to reply before class begins.

Beginning of Class Writing: Explaining Complex Ideas Using Only the Most Common Words

It is important to recognize who your intended audience is and how best to communicate your ideas to that audience. As a technologist, you work in complex ideas that can be difficult to explain to an audience who does not share your educational background and workplace experience. It is important for you to think about how to take complex ideas and terminology and make the accessible and understandable by a general audience. We will use this idea for the basis of your beginning of class writing assignment.

For today’s assignment, you will write a memo summarizing the article that you read for today’s class using only the 1,000 most commonly used words in English. To help you with this task, see this xkcd comic about how this works and use this xkcd tool called simple writer to write the summary in your memo. Follow the format below for your memo:

TO: A colleague sitting next to you

FROM: Your name

DATE: Today’s date

SUBJECT: Simple Explanation of “Article Title”

One sentence explaining in your own words what this memo’s purpose is.

Your summary written using simple writer (linked above).

APA citation of your article. Remember to use the Purdue OWL APA site for guidance on writing a bibliographic entry for your article.

Beginning of Class Writing, Background Research Memo

For today’s beginning of class writing, you will write a memo that provides a colleague with background resources relevant to the article that you read for today’s class. Its purpose is to help them learn about the people, company, and keywords found in the article. You will gain some additional experience working with APA and using library research tools.

Before you begin, scan your article and circle keywords (terminology and technical terms), company names, and the names of people referenced in the article. Your article might have examples from all of these categories, or it might only have one or two. All articles will have keywords.

Next, begin a new memo following this format:

TO: [Write the name of someone sitting next to you]

FROM: [Your name]


SUBJECT: Background Research Memo

One sentence description of this memo’s purpose in your own words.

One sentence summary of the article–incorporate in the sentence or in parenthesis the article’s title, author, and magazine.

APA citation for your magazine article using this format: Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

An example: Henry, W. A., III. (1990, April 9). Making the grade in today’s schools. Time, 135, 28-31.

One sentence explaining that the following three links provide background reading for better understanding the article above.

[Use the Infotrac Newsstand through the Library’s website to search for articles based on three things you circled in your article. I would recommend using one circled word for each citation below. When you find an article, click on the title and then click on citation tools on the right, choose APA and copy-and-paste the citation below.]

APA citation for one article.

APA citation for second article.

APA citation for third article.

For Our Next Meeting

When we have class the week after next, remember to have two copies of each of your draft resumes. This means that you should bring two copies of your skills-based resume and two copies of your experience-based resume. The examples that I showed you in class are available on the Project 1 page linked at the top of our Openlab site. Also, bring a new magazine article for our beginning of class writing assignment.