Thursday, March 12: Cover Letter Peer Review & Interview Skills


6—6:55   Part I:    Peer Review of Cover Letters

6:55—7:45  Part II:   Interview Skills


Part I:  Peer Review of Cover Letters

We will have three rounds of review—in other words, each of your letters will be reviewed at least twice in class today.

Round 1 (6:00 – 6:25) — Find your first peer review partner & their cover letter blog post.

Round 2 (6:30 – 6:55) — Find another peer review partner & their cover letter blog post.

For each round, follow these steps:

1. Find your partner, and locate their post on the Open Lab.

2. You’ll be writing your review comments as a reply to their post. Being “nice” is important in this process, but being critical is important too. So without being heartless and cruel, make your comments as honest and as detailed as you can so that your comments are useful for revision.

3. Respond to these questions about the cover letter you are reviewing. (I would simply cut and paste the questions below into your comment, and respond underneath them.)

  • Reverse Engineer the Letter: Without looking at the job ad/listing, read the letter. Then write down what you think the job ad says—you are reverse engineering the letter/ad by doing this—trying to see if you can figure out the job ad just from the letter.
  • Read the job ad. Were you close in your reverse engineering attempt? If you were, then the letter probably meets with some of the employer’s needs. If you weren’t, has the author missed understanding the employer’s needs? Or have they just emphasized certain things and overlooked others?
  • Does the letter make the person applying seem like a good applicant; an unappealing applicant; or an outstanding applicant?
  • Explain why and how you made the judgment in #3. If the applicant was not an outstanding candidate, explain what you think the author needs to do to get into a higher pile.
  • Is the letter free of spelling, mechanical, and grammar errors? Let the author know about the errors you see.


Part II:  Interview Skills

In the second part of class, we will discuss interviews—how to prepare for them, how to do well on them, and how to follow up when they’re over.

1. Read in-class handout:  “Job Interview Tips” written by Thad Peterson  for


2. Interview Models
We will watch two example interviews in class (on the projector). As you watch the interviews, please think back to Steve Fogarty’s five job interview tips. With those tips in mind, keep track of the candidate’s performance. How is he doing?
We will pause in-between questions to discuss the candidate’s performance.
Video 1  (4:45)
3. Blog Entry—please respond to the following interview questions in a new blog post categorized as Interview Answers.
Please cut and paste the questions into the blog, then respond beneath each one.


Can you tell me a little about yourself?
What would you say are your major strengths?
What would you say are your major weaknesses?
Describe a time where you had to manage multiple tasks in a short period of time.
Can you describe a time when you’ve been in conflict with a co-worker or classmate?
Where do you see yourself in five years?


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