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Writing Guide: How to Make an Outline for an Essay

Writing Guide: How to Make an Outline for an Essay

You’re faced with an immense challenge. Your professor asked you to write an essay, which will be very important for the final grade you’re going to get. Maybe you’ve tried to write few essays before and your attempts were not very successful. Maybe this is […]

The Ultimate Guide: Writing Essay Tips You Can Actually Use

The Ultimate Guide: Writing Essay Tips You Can Actually Use

Is this your first attempt at academic writing? Maybe you’ve already tried writing few essays, but that didn’t work. Whatever the case is, it shouldn’t worry you too much. Nobody was born with incredible essay writing skills. All great academic writers gained their skills through […]

How to Write a Cover Letter

How to Write a Cover Letter

What Is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a letter you send along another document or a parcel of goods, in order to explain its context. That’s the general meaning of the concept, but to job applicants, the cover letter has a very specific meaning. It’s the letter that you post along your resume or CV.

What to Write in a Cover Letter

When you’re about to apply for a new job, the application is a huge part of the importance. You’ll have to write the perfect resume or curriculum vitae, you’ll improve your LinkedIn profile, and you’ll be mindful about your online reputation. When you go through all these aspects, you come down to a real challenge: the cover letter.

The problem is that most applicants don’t know how to write a cover letter for a resume. They assume they can simply follow a specific cover letter format. They will change the personal details and voila – the cover letter is ready. Except; it’s not ready!

This should be a very unique document that conveys your special personality. It must prove to the employer that you deserve this job more than all other applicants. If all applicants followed a template and changed only the personal information, how would the hiring manager know who the best one is?

If you’re on your way to start applying for a new job, it’s about time for you to learn how to write a good cover letter. More specifically: what do you write in it? We’ll give you the best cover letter tips to guide you through the process.

How to Start a Cover Letter

There is no specific format that your cover letter must follow. One of the biggest mistakes that job applicants make is sending a 5-paragraph personal essay as a resume cover letter. They got so used to that academic writing format that they think it’s okay to use it for a cover letter. First of all, the essay format is too long and bulky. The cover letter should be very clean and easy to read. It will still need some structure, but it doesn’t have to be that rigid.

Yes; the cover letter will still have an opening, body, and closure. However, you can be flexible with the way you format these paragraphs.

Let’s get to the specifics: many job applicants don’t know how to start. These are the things you should include at the top of the page:

  • Address – You may address the letter to a department, but it’s better to send it to a specific person. If you know who the recruiter or hiring manager is, addressing them personally will show you’ve done your research.

  • Greeting – This is where you address your cover letter to the person who’s supposed to read it. Dear Hiring Manager is the usual recommendation, but it’s too general. Dear Mr. Roberts would be a much better option. Do your best to find the name of the contact person. If you can’t find a specific name, you can go with Dear Hiring Manager. Please don’t write Dear Sir or Madame though! You wouldn’t want to be called dear sir or Madame, right?

What to Include in a Cover Letter

So you got the address and greeting parts sorted out? That’s great! Now, you’re ready for the real deal.

The best cover letter is unique, but it still follows a pattern in terms of what to include. These are the parts you should pay attention to:

  • Opening Paragraph

Here, you should introduce yourself. Don’t start with the most common sentence that comes to mind when you’re introducing yourself to someone. “Hi, my name is” is not a good opening! You must clarify what position you’re applying for, and you may explain how you found out about the opportunity.

Here’s an example of an opening paragraph:

I am applying for the position of Assistant Curator of Exhibitions, based on a recommendation of a mutual contact, Hillary Masters. I graduated in May 2017 from New York University with an art history degree. I see this open position as an ideal chance for me to implement the knowledge and skills I gained from my academic studies into practical experience. I am strongly motivated to contribute towards the growth of the Whitney Museum of American Art.”

This kind of opening works because it’s straightforward and very specific. The hiring manager immediately understands what position you’re applying for and how qualified you are for it.

  • Body (Middle Paragraphs)

The body of the cover letter format gives you some space to expand on the opening. Here, you may describe your skills, job history, university courses that are relevant to the job, and competencies that make you the perfect hire for the organization’s needs.

Let’s expand on the opening example above, just to show how you could write the middle paragraphs of a good cover letter:

Throughout my work and volunteering experiences in non-profit events and organizations like Global Peace Festival and International Folk Alliance, I developed advanced organizational and communication skills. Currently, I am focused on starting a website that will help people find the perfect museum, based on location, needs, and the time they have for exploring.

The education at New York University helped me gain deep understanding of art and art history. My coursework included…”

Okay; you get the point. We continued with the specifics and we maintained the straightforward approach throughout the body of the cover letter. Now, do you see why it’s almost impossible to use a template when you want to write the best cover letter?

How to End a Cover Letter

Think of the blogs you like the most. Have you noticed how the bloggers call you to action at the end of each post? They either invite you to comment, check out other articles at their site, or share the post on social media. They’ve been preparing you for this moment throughout the post, and now you’re ready to take the action they suggest.

You should follow that example when writing the cover letter. In the closing section, you should include a call to action. There are few actions you desire: you want them to check your resume, consider your application, and call you for an interview.

Here’s an example on how to include a call to action in the closure:

Please review my attached resume for all details regarding my education and job history. In addition, I included the recommendation letter by Ms. Hillary Masters. I look forward to discussing my candidacy for this position in person or by email/phone, so I will be available for you to contact me. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,

Patricia Garmin”

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

Various online guides will give you different tips in regards of the cover letter length. The standard recommendation is one page. A single page gives you enough space to talk about yourself. Anything beyond that would be too much, and anything less would be too scarce. But is that always the case?

A full page may be too long. If the content is bulky and you don’t divide it in small paragraphs, the cover letter will seem like an overwhelming read. Most employers prefer a shorter cover letter. Half a page might be better!

If, however, you have tons of experience, you’re applying for a position in management, and you know how to keep a reader engaged with your writing, you may even expand on that one page. That’s a huge risk to take, so you have to be absolutely sure you’ll keep the reader’s attention.

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

Now that we told you what to put in a cover letter, let’s proceed with some actionable tips that will help you improve its content:

  • Use Keywords Relevant to the Position

Hiring managers use a system that helps them go through the database of resume whenever they need to fill in a position. If your cover letter gets in this system, they should be able to find it through keywords. That’s why it’s important to use relevant keywords, which you’ll easily find if you review the job description.

  • Make the Cover Letter Unique

We cannot stress this enough. It will take some time for you to craft a cover letter that’s unique for the position you’re applying for, but the effort is well worth the results. When a hiring manager reads this cover letter, they should get the impression that you’re the perfect choice for their unique needs and goals for organizational growth.

You may check out a sample just to get inspired by its structure and to make sure you’ll include all needed information. If you get a bit too inspired, however, you’ll end up in plagiarism, and that’s not something that gets you hired.

  • Proofread

It’s never easy to edit and proofread your own writing, but you have to do it! Make sure the flow, grammar and syntax structure are flawless before you send the cover letter!

Conclusion

Hopefully, the cover letter tips you just went through will help you craft the document without much effort. It’s a challenging thing to write, but you already have what it takes. You have the experience and skills for the specific position, right? All you need to do is express them in written.

What Is The Writing Process?

What Is The Writing Process?

Writing process is defined as a series of steps a writer takes to produce a quality piece. Although every writer has their writing process, each version is essentially the original one “on steroids.” Why following an established writing process is important? Well, being aware of […]

Essay: Genre That Teaches Critical Thinking

Essay: Genre That Teaches Critical Thinking

One of the greatest English novelists of the 20th century Edward Morgan Forster once said: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Indeed, through writing we explore the abilities of our mind, we dig out our thoughts and find […]

How to Stop Procrastinating (When You Have to Write)

How to Stop Procrastinating (When You Have to Write)

What Does “Procrastination” Mean?

To procrastinate means to postpone completing something that needs to be completed without a solid reason. Procrastination is a common self-obstructing behavior among writers, both beginners and experienced. In fact, it can easily become an occupational hazard and even the worst enemy of your productivity.

You know how it happens: you may have a story to tell, even some characters. However, for some crazy reason, you just can’t begin or stay motivated to complete the work. Even though you perfectly understand the dangers of putting this work on hold, you often can’t do anything about it. So the only thing you’re thinking about is how to not procrastinate.

Indeed, too much procrastination can be incredibly frustrating.

If you need to finish your writing – an essay, a book, a blog post, or something else – but just can’t get started, you need a reliable but not overly complicated method to get on with the writing.

So, if you think you have a procrastination problem, read on.

How to Stop Procrastinating

If you want to know how to avoid procrastination, here are some great techniques:

Step 1: Divide your project into manageable chunks

Regardless of how small or big your project is, you can break it down just for the purpose of eliminating the influence of procrastination. For example, if you’re working on a small project, you can resolve to write something – even if it’s 200 words – every day and concentrate on what you want to achieve in this small timeframe. Day by day, as you continue to work on the project, chances are you’ll find yourself writing more than 200 words and enjoying it.

The same rule applies to large writing projects as well. For example, if you’re writing a fiction novel, you can begin by crafting an outline, developing the main character, or building one of the main scenes. Focus on what you really want to write about, and procrastination will go away.

If this method still makes you fairly overwhelmed, feel free to break down your project even further until you find your pace.

Step 2: Limit your options for procrastinating by removing distractions

A smartphone is a common source of procrastination for most writers. Whenever they feel like postponing the work until later, they find themselves browsing an Instagram or a Facebook feed. As the result, they often avoid writing for hours and then regret it because they have accomplished pretty much nothing.

So, to finally write the first sentence and get some creative process going, anything that can distract you should be avoided. This may include a smartphone, a laptop, a tablet, a TV – any procrastination option. For example, take your smartphone to another room or turn it off; it is very likely that it will distract you with a new notification, an email, or a call.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to sit a concrete cell with nothing but a pen a sheet of paper. Eliminating procrastination options can be as simple as turning off your smartphone and installing a browser extension that blocks the access to social media and other sites that you often use to procrastinate.

Step 3: Schedule a time to begin writing

How many times have you been distracted from writing because of something you forgot to do? If you have, you know what is meant here. For example, when you finally sit down to begin writing your next blog post, you remember that you’re supposed to pick up bread at the supermarket. So, you have to stop and go do it.

It is much easier to work and avoid procrastination until everything else is done and you have nothing to worry about. In other words, if you plan ahead, you can get more done because you’ll have more time to actually write.

Do it right now, it’s very easy! Look at your diary. Think about your next week’s schedule. Allocate just one hour for writing, and make it an unbreakable appointment!

Step 4: Get your research done

Many people don’t realize that the source of their writing procrastination habit is a lack of ideas generated by poor research. Research is an important fundamental of writing; for example, if you’re not sure what to write about, you can easily start to procrastinate and waste precious time. Instead, as designers say, “you need to go back to the drawing board.”

Do your research and improve your research skills. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about social media marketing, chances are you’re not an expert in this field. Make yourself one! Read articles about it written by professionals and increase your knowledge until you feel like you’ve grasped every concept. As the result, you get unstuck because you figure out what needs to go into your own article. It’s that simple, folks.

How Procrastination Affects Writing a Paper

1. Poorer quality of writing

If you do not know how to overcome procrastination but begin to write without being truly inspired, your work may suffer in a profound way. Readers expect a well-written, well-researched, inspiring, useful, interesting, engaging, motivating, and quality piece. These characteristics show how much work should be put into writing. Can you produce such piece if you don’t beat procrastination? Of course not.

For example, if a writer procrastinates until the point where he or she absolutely has to begin writing just to make the deadline, chances are high the quality of work will suffer. Why? Because there will be no time to thoroughly research, proofread, and do other things that make a great text. That’s why universities teach their students about the dangers of procrastination; for example, Harvard has an entire section of their website devoted to this topic.

2. Late submission of work

The person waiting for your work to be done (this could be a publisher, a professor, or a supervisor) does not expect that you spend a lot of time procrastinating. Just a few of them can tolerate late submission, and if they do allow it, they typically require a solid reason.

Naturally, procrastination is not a good reason to explain why your work is delayed.

3. Poor health

Another way in which procrastination affects writing is by undermining your health. The current body of research provides significant evidence of procrastination being an impactful factor linked to various health issues. For example, one study recently published in Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that participants with higher procrastination scores were associated with higher prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Next, Psychology Today described that procrastination was associated with a greater number of acute health problems, higher stress, less frequent dental and medical checkups, poorer sleep, and the practice of fewer wellness behaviors.

By increasing your vulnerability to various health conditions and stress, procrastination has a profound impact on the quality of your life. Needless to say, your writing also suffers greatly.

Apps to Stop Procrastinating on Writing

1. Procraster – this app gets to the bottom of your procrastination problem by offering you answers for the most common reasons why you postpone working. For example, the user is given a number of options, including “I don’t know where to start,” “My task is too big,” “I’ve made a mistake,” and “I have to be perfect.” After the user selects one of these mindsets, the app gives a useful advice; for example, if you select “I don’t know where to start,” Procraster will prompt you to break down the project and guide you to the finish in an inspiring fashion.

2. Focuswriter – is a simple, distraction-free writing environment for your PC or Mac. Remember how we talked about removing distractions above? Focuswriter helps to achieve that. It works just like regular word document app but has a lot of useful features like live stats, timers, alarms, and daily goals.

3. StayFocusd – this app that also works as a Google Chrome extension can help you increase your performance by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites such as social networks. Or it can block a website or an app completely (for a limited time) via the Nuclear Option. Just create the blocked and allowed sites list and activate the app when you have to work.

4. RescueTime – a popular productivity time software that also works as Google Chrome extension, and an Android app. It has some useful features such as productivity reports, alerts, daily goals, and automatic time tracking to help you beat procrastination. For example, you can track time spent on apps and websites, and RescueTime will give you an accurate picture of your day in a detailed report based on your activity.

Conclusion

Remember, procrastination is a completely different thing from being lazy. You just focus your energy on something unrelated because you don’t feel like working. But there will never be a better time to write! So, you have to make time to work by beating procrastination before it gets you. Make sure you follow as many tips from this article as possible to ensure you have a productive day and keep adverse effects of procrastination away.

After all, you are doing exactly what you want to do with your life.

Common Mistakes in Writing Web Content

Common Mistakes in Writing Web Content

What are the most common mistakes you’re making in content writing? Don’t say you’re not making mistakes. That cannot be. Even the best writers in the industry face writer’s blocks. They become unmotivated to complete articles on boring topics. When they push themselves through the […]

How to Avoid Plagiarism. Plagiarism Guide

How to Avoid Plagiarism. Plagiarism Guide

Plagiarism has become a burning issue in the modern society. We are all aware of it, but most of us don’t realize how serious it is. In the world where information is abundant, it seems that everything has already been invented and all ideas have […]

How Important Is Technology in Education?

How Important Is Technology in Education?

What Is Educational Technology?

Educational technology is a systematic application of relevant technological processes and resources in teaching, with a goal to improve students’ performance. It involves a disciplined approach to identifying the needs of students, applying technology in instructions, and tracking their performance.

Many people are wondering: what do you mean by educational technology? There are many definitions of the concept, mainly because every educator implements technology in a unique way. If we tried to come up with a simple definition, the one we presented above would be it.

First of all, EdTech is a systematic approach. What does this mean? An educator cannot pick random tools and use them with random goals in the classroom. There still is a curriculum to follow.

Relevant technological processes and resources. This means that the processes and resources must be relevant to the curriculum goals and milestones. EdTech also has a purpose: to improve the performance of the students. Every tool and method that’s being introduced in the classroom should be driven by that goal.

Finally, EdTech also requires the educator to have a disciplined approach to revealing the needs of the students. Those needs will help them determine the relevant technology to apply in the classroom. All results must be tracked, so the teacher will know how effective their methods are. If the students are not achieving good results after implementing a specific tool, the teacher should search for a better one.

Not every teacher is ready to start using EdTech in their teaching methods. That’s exactly why universities are offering programs related to educational technology, so the upcoming generations of teachers will be ready to meet all needs of modern students. As for the current generations of teachers, they have a responsibility to upgrade their skills.

Why Is Technology Important in Education?

Now that we got a clear definition of the concept, let’s focus on another angle: what is the importance of technology in education? There are multiple reasons why all teachers should start introducing tech tools into their classrooms. Let’s list few of them.

  1. The Students Demand It

These students NEED technology in the classroom. Just like previous generations of students needed colorful textbooks and we provided that for them, we have to respect the needs of modern students, too.

They are engaging with technology outside the classroom on a daily basis. They want to use their parents’ smartphones and tablets. They know how to play their favorite songs on YouTube. Technology is part of their lifestyle and they love it. As teachers, we have to respect that inclination. In fact, we can use it to our advantage.

When we introduce technology in the classroom, we’re using something they like. They will easily get engaged in the learning process. Technology is making learning more fun and accessible for today’s students.

  1. New Teachers Are Demanding It, Too

The education of the latest generations of teachers has one significant twist: they are being taught how to use EdTech in their classrooms. They know how to use technology in many useful ways. Technology is making their jobs easier. It helps them assess the knowledge of their students as objectively as possible. It also helps them keep the entire class engaged.

New teachers know how to use technology to their advantage. They want to use it. The rest of us have to follow the trends. Since EdTech is now considered a necessity, we have to implement it.

  1. They Have to Learn How to Use It

Technology is everywhere. High-school, college and university students have to know how to use the Internet to complete projects. When they hit the job market, the employers will demand these skills.

As a teacher, you have a responsibility to make your students responsible digital citizens. Responsible use of technology starts in the classroom.

  1. Technology Improves the Learning Experience

What are the roles of educational technology in learning? This would be the clearest answer: it improves the learning experience. Stanford researchers found that when teachers implement technology properly, they can improve the learning processes and close the achievement gaps between the students. The same report showed that replacing teachers with technology is not a successful method. The students still need their teachers. However, pairing teachers with technology is currently the best method of providing high-quality education for students.

One of the biggest reasons to start using technology in the classroom is as simple as it gets: it will improve the learning experience for the students. Shouldn’t that be enough?

  1. Testing Went Online

It’s a protocol that you, as a teacher, can’t control. Your students will take standardized tests that demand proper computer skills. Online testing has tons of advantages. The students can see their scores in real-time, and it’s easier for the teachers to track their performance.

When you start introducing fun online tests in the classroom, you’ll be preparing your students for the standardized tests. They will get used to the environment, so they won’t be overwhelmed by the big tests when it’s time for them.

How Does Technology Affect Education?

Does technology improve education? That’s the big question we have to answer. If it doesn’t improve education to a great extent, is it even worth trying?

The answer is yes, it improves education to a great extent. Let’s be specific: how can technology improve education?

  1. EdTech Keeps Students Engaged

When teachers are using technology effectively, it will keep the students engaged in the learning process. That’s exactly what a study published in the British Journal of Educational Technology showed. The study doesn’t neglect the importance of the teacher. In fact, the researchers state that “when professors have more ‘sophisticated’ conceptions of teaching, it is more likely that they use instructional strategies that result in student learning and active engagement in the process.”

When teachers decide to use technology, the preparation process has to go beyond technological competence. They have to analyze the needs of their students and pick the right tools for specific tasks, tests and goals.

Since students are mesmerized with technology, we can find a way to use it with the purpose to boost the engagement.

  1. Technology Helps Students Improve Their Results

The flipped classroom is a huge educational trend. When the teacher introduces digital tools to be used outside the classroom, they can use class time for evaluation, discussions, and interactions that matter. They can pay attention to every single student’s achievements and they can personalize the educational process.

The teacher can use different methods to capture the students’ attention and assess their progress. With that approach, we can enhance the learning process.

  1. Students Can Learn at Their Own Pace

The traditional classroom makes that difficult. Today’s students still have to take standardized test and follow a curriculum. However, with the integration of technology in the classroom, they have the option to take things slowly. They can go back to lessons and concepts they don’t understand. They can get online instructions to support the learning process. Those who are advanced can go ahead with the online lessons.

Technology makes learning personalized, and that’s one of its greatest advantages.

  1. Technology Improves the Entire Educational System

How does technology improve education? It makes every piece of information available. Anyone can learn anything. There are absolutely no limitations to what students can learn outside the classroom. If someone wants to become a carpenter, they can’t get the instructions at school. Online lessons, however, will teach them the basics. If an elementary student wants to be a scientist, they can take beginner and advanced science classes online.

When the teacher sets the foundations for responsible use of technology, they are opening the doors to a limitless world of knowledge. We should be proud of that.

  1. Collaboration!

That’s another huge advantage. Some of the best ways to enhance the collaboration between students in the classroom are hands-on projects and collaborative learning. Technology supports those processes. The teachers can create a safe online environment where the students can ask questions, discuss different topics, and help each other learn. They can also collaborate on projects without the need to get together outside the classroom. They can connect online.

The collaboration between teachers gets easy, too. Thanks to educational technology, we can learn from the experience of educators from all over the world.

Conclusion

So how does technology help education? Simple; it makes it better. When the teachers introduce EdTech through proper methods, it keeps the students engaged. It makes the evaluation easier. It prepares the students for the future.

Now that we understand the importance of EdTech, we have no other choice but to start using it in the best ways possible. Our students expect that from us. Both teachers and students are the driving force of the educational system. The students tell us what they need, and we find the best ways to provide such knowledge for them.

What do you think? Does technology help education? How? Do you think we’re still not ready for it? Maybe you’re one of the teachers who think technology imposes a huge risk of making students distracted? Share your opinions!

How to Choose a Career Path for Students

How to Choose a Career Path for Students

Being as challenging as it is, education is just the beginning of your many journeys of independence. Once the time comes to the question “How to choose a career path?”, this can put a lot of pressure on you, especially at a time when you […]