Portfolio task: CVs, cover letters, application essays

This is a useful task for students who want to study or work abroad, and those who want to go to graduate school. You can do all three, or just one — do what’s useful for you and your future.

A resume or CV (curriculum vitae) is a brief summary of your education and work experience, and usually includes a list of your skills. Unlike Japanese 履歴書, there is no standard format. What you should include will depend on your purpose, but in general it’s a good idea to keep it concise — one A4 size page will probably be enough for most students who are 18-22 years old.

A cover letter is the letter you write to accompany your resume/CV. It explains briefly who you are, what position you’re applying for, and why you think you should be considered. This should also be concise. This may be in the form of a formal e-mail. You can also practice writing formal e-mails to get information about an organization or a study abroad program, for example.

Application essays  and motivation letters — my advice for this kind of essay/letter is to focus not only on what you want to get but also what you can give to the community.

Below are some examples / links

From Monster Worldwide:

And here’s a link to lots more information and keywords for writing different kinds of resumes: from Georgia State University

An example motivation letter with some advice

More advice about how to write a good statement of purpose with a checklist

A quiz about how to write formal letters in English

Some examples of different kinds of formal letters

Some rules and activities about writing formal e-mail