Writing Resources for LIS Job Seekers and MLIS Applicants
by Oscar Giurcovich, Senior Editor
Error-free resumes and cover letters are paramount in the job hunt. I think this is more important than ever in our everyday world of texting and social media where acronyms and shorthand rule. Unfortunately, the spelling and grammar checkers in the products we use every day simply do not catch all mistakes, so the only way to ensure is to be able to spot these when proofreading ourselves. In the spirit of our field’s quest for lifelong learning, here are a few resources I have come across in the course of my current work in the content marketing industry to help identify and correct any problem areas in writing documents during the job application process.
Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab was my savior in grad school by providing concise and easy-to-understand material on APA style. However, it also has a great section on different aspects of grammar including comma usage, semicolons and prepositions. It’s presented in the same manner as the citation style material, making it a great reference to either brush up on grammar or to resolve any gut feelings when something doesn’t look quite right while proofreading. For those getting ready to apply to an MLIS program, there’s even a useful guide for grad school applications!
ChompChomp is packed with information on grammar usage as well. Whether you prefer to review information as a PowerPoint presentation, handout or interactive quiz, this site has all of these options along with a few more, all while providing explanations along the way. You may have come across unclear terminology such as fused sentences or comma splices, but the terms page decodes these so that you can identify them more easily in your writing.
Grammar Girl is the brainchild of Mignon Fogarty, who has also published a bestselling series of books covering grammar topics. In writing this blog post, I realize some may not have the time or desire to be thoroughly versed in all aspects of grammar, so I am including this site as it presents practical tips briefly and in a visual format. Fogarty also hosts a weekly podcast that covers topics in five minutes or less.
Something that I once struggled with was coming up with different ways to express similar ideas. When I get stuck, a thesaurus is a great help. It’s a simple way to keep letters and other correspondence engaging and sophisticated. Besides built-in thesauri in the programs we use every day, there are a range of web sites to accomplish this. One that I like to use is Merriam Webster, which more often than not offers many great alternative terms to keep writing fresh.
I am hopeful that these will provide a solid starting point in thinking about how we present ourselves when writing to a potential employer or admissions committee. In the current LIS climate, a perfect cover letter or resume may give the edge needed to land that interview or offer! If you have other go-to sites or resources, please share below.