Tag Archives | writing

Image via pixabay.com

Image via pixabay.com

Just a couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Career Conversations Panel: Discovering Careers in Communications, Journalism and Writing. The event was hosted by York University and featured people in the field of writing advising people on how to find jobs in said field.

The panel consisted of a journalist with experience writing for many periodicals, the director of Communications at York University, an editor for Maclean’s and FASHION magazine, a novelist with Join In Press and a former Editor in Chief for The Atkinsonian.

I found the presentation extremely useful. The panel all managed to give helpful tips on how to find a job in writing; here are a few of my favourites:

  • Be persistent when applying for jobs: apply and reapply until you get in
  • Self-publish
  • Start out as an intern: this often leads to a full-time job as good workers may be kept on board

After the seminar, there was a chance to mingle with the panelists. I took this opportunity to talk to one of the speakers about an internship with FASHION magazine. He gave me information on how to apply and gave me his business card. Though I wasn’t able to use it for the internship I applied for, I was impressed he gave me his contact details without me asking.

I would give the Career Conversations Panel a 9/10. Not only was it informative, but it was also a great way to network. I learned about new strategies to apply for jobs I had never heard of, for example, if you apply and reapply for a job, the chances of getting it are higher. The panelists were eager to discuss their claims to success and talk to the guests. Overall, I was pleased with the Career Conversations Panel.

Image by Erin Kohlenberg, Flickr

Image by Erin Kohlenberg, Flickr

There’s more to writing a proper English essay than throwing together an introduction, body and conclusion. Here are some tips on how to knock your essays out of the park:

  1. Write the Introduction Last
  2. The first thing to do is figure out what you want to say. Once you have a clear idea and you have supported it with scholarly sources and examples, then start by introducing the topic, what you intend to say about it, and how you are going to explain it to the reader. It is safe to assume he or she has no previous knowledge of the topic.

    This is the lead for the rest of the essay. Make sure it grabs your readers’ attention. Don’t be afraid to use something unconventional or an interesting fact. You want to keep the reader interested enough to continue reading.

    Remember, the thesis statement is the last sentence in the introduction.

  3. Writing a Thesis
  4. The thesis should answer a few questions. How does your essay relate to the topic? Most importantly, what are you arguing? Does it focus on an idea for which you have ample information to write about?

    The thesis is the intention of the paper. What is the point of reading the paper? It should be original and answer the “so what?” question. Given the topic, what are you trying to say and why is it important?

    Remember to include the author, the issues with the text, and your approach in proving your point – i.e. compare and contrast, a methodical or theoretical approach?

  5. Essay Outline
  6. The outline of the essay is an introduction, body paragraphs and your conclusion. Do not follow the five paragraph or “hamburger”-style essay. These formats need to be expanded and more analytical in post-secondary education.

  7. Paragraph Format
  8. You should start your paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the intent of the paragraph. Follow it with your supporting point and the evidence. Each argument often has three points, and each point should have its own paragraph. Each paragraph should contain a conclusion that directly relates to the thesis. Your points must always relate to the thesis, the topic and what you’re proving in the essay.

    Make sure you indent and it is double spaced.

  9. Citation
  10. Spend time making sure you have properly understood the citation. Should you write “bibliography” or “works cited”? Is everything spelled correctly? Properly formatted? Know the difference between writing a quotation and paraphrasing.

    Do you need to include the author, title of the book, year or page number? What form is the professor asking for?

  11. Organization
    • If possible, use multiple screens – it helps you to sort information, and there is a lot that needs to be written and properly structured in the essay.
    • Colour-coordinate – highlight, change the font, and alternate between first and following drafts. This allows you to create your own legend. It keeps track of when you’ve written certain information, and you can pick and choose if you still want to use it or rewrite it.
    • Create its own folder – any information on your computer associated with your essay is in this folder. This is another organization technique that makes it easier to access your work.

  12. What Type of Essay is this?
    • Compare & Contrast
    • Argumentative

    This will help you structure your essay in terms of organization, word choice and even research. After you’ve figured out what you’re going to say, how are you going to say it? It’s safe to say you’re going to argue something or bring an obscure fact to light, but what’s the best way to explain it in five-plus pages?

  13. Take Time to Read Over the Entire Essay
  14. After you’ve written the essay, leave it for a day and come back, so you can read it with fresh eyes. It will be easier to catch mistakes, improper spelling, organization issues, and identify what doesn’t make sense.

  15. Peer Editing
  16. One useful technique is to have someone who hasn’t read your essay, or who has little to no knowledge of the topic, read it out loud to you. While they’re reading it, take notes. How does it sound to you? Is this the way you wanted the writing to come across? Does it make sense?

    Finally, ask them questions. Was it clear and easy to read? Could they understand the point you were trying to make? Most importantly, did they enjoy reading your essay? Bias not included.

Regardless of the type of essay you’re writing:

  • Avoid general statements
  • Refrain from using clichés
  • Present new ideas
  • Use your own words only – or cited otherwise
  • Make sure it relates to course material
  • Save everything, constantly!
  • Keep track of what you’re writing
  • Does it make sense?
  • Do you like it?
  • Have you done what’s required?
  • Ask questions for clarifications

These essay-writing tips should help you get on your way to submitting a thorough, properly structured essay. Tweet us @StudentsDotOrg and let us know if these tips helped you!

Before you start writing, be sure to check out this article on how to avoid getting an “F” on your academic paper.

Are you writing your supplementary essay? These tips might help you too.

Image by Elvert Barnes, Flickr

Image by Elvert Barnes, Flickr

Writing an academic paper is a regular activity at school and it’s a way for students to showcase their abilities in gathering data, writing, and more. Writing an excellent paper is one of the goals of every student because they get to improve their knowledge, acquire better grades and develop certain skills that will be able to help them in their studies. However, it seems that only a few students are able to accomplish such a feat. Getting an “F” is the last thing a student wants to see on their paper, but if you don’t put the effort in, you can’t expect great results. As a student, it’s your responsibility to excel at your studies no matter what, and you have to find out what’s causing the problem. Here are a few examples of the problems that you should prevent before it’s too late.

  1. Getting easily distracted
  2. There’s certainly no way you’ll be able to write a great paper if your mind isn’t in the right place. Being unable to focus is the result of boredom taking over and you won’t be able to finish if you allow it to continue. Distractions are pretty much everywhere and you’ll have to avoid them as much as possible. Work on your paper in an isolated place like the library or your own room provided you’ve cleared away anything that can cause distractions. Be sure to turn off your Internet connection, laptop and your phone while you’re at it.

  3. Experiencing “writer’s block”
  4. If you can’t seem to write anything, then it’s a clear sign you have a writer’s block – the worst thing that could happen to you while writing. Forcing yourself to think will only make things worse, as your brain isn’t working with you. You’re pretty much doomed to fail, unless you do something about it. According to some studies, exhaustion can cause writer’s block, which is why you should take enough time to recover from your mental and physical fatigue so you’ll be able to write without any problems.

  5. Taking the easy way out
  6. Most students aren’t fond of spending too much time on their papers, which is why they’re doing everything they can to shorten the amount of time needed to write. Copying articles word for word is one of their usual strategies, which is obviously a form of cheating, as is getting someone else to write it for you. Writing a brilliant paper will take some time because you’ll need to do proper research to write a compelling argument on your topic. Remember that your patience and effort in writing can eventually pay off in the form of an “A+”.

  7. Getting information from a single source
  8. There are many reliable sources of information that can be used, but the problem is that most students are narrowing their search into a single medium. They have a great dependence on the Internet since information is easily accessible in seconds, but it might lack on some areas of their topic. Aside from the Internet, try reading books or asking knowledgeable people about the subject so that you’ll be able to cover more ground, and that would greatly reinforce your arguments.

  9. Writing at the last minute
  10. Tardiness is very common among students nowadays and it could have a negative impact on your study habits. Working on essays or assignments at the very last minute is a good example of something that can result in a paper truly deserving of a failing grade. You need to set your priorities straight if you want to gain positive results from your efforts, and writing your assignments should take precedence once you get home. It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely for your own good.

There you have it! Hopefully, you’ve learned what to avoid when you’re writing academic papers. Good luck!

This article was contributed by guest author Sophia Jennings.