WRD 206: Professional Writing (Autumn 2014)

Course Description

WRD 206 is designed to familiarize you with key principles of professional writing and to give you opportunities to practice creating professional documents. The course will address topics important to professional writing, including audience analysis, genre norms, professional tone and disclosure, action-directed prose, document design, project management, and collaborative writing. These concepts will be explored primarily through assignments to research, write, and revise professional documents—including emails, memos, and formal and informal reports—that address a range of real and invented scenarios. Additionally, the course will ask you to refine your professional identity by developing a collection of texts useful for a professional job search.

By working through the materials and assignments, you should complete the class with an expanded ability to

  • Adapt your academic writing process to professional audiences and purposes
  • Produce well-designed and usable documents
  • Use a professional voice and plain writing style
  • Select and use writing, document design, and project management tactics and tools appropriate to a range of professional writing tasks
  • Demonstrate social habits that are valued in the workplace, including the ability to work on writing teams and to give and accept critique on workplace writing


Canavor, N. (2011). E-mail: Your everyday chance to build a professional image. In Business writing in the digital age (pp. 113-134). Los Angeles: Sage.

Johnson-Sheehan, R. (2011). Working in teams. In Technical communication strategies for today (1st ed.) (pp. 34-57). Boston: Longman.

Oliu, W.E., Brusaw, C.T., & Alred, G.J. (2013). Writing that works: Communicating effectively on the job (11th ed.). Boston/New York: Bedford. (Note: all assignments and readings are from 11th edition, but 10th edition is also fine)

Spinuzzi, C. (2012). “Don’t just send in a resume: How to write a letter of application.” Available: http://spinuzzi.blogspot.com/2012/02/dont-just-send-in-resume-how-to-write.html

Williams, J.M. & Bizup, J. (2013). Style: Lessons in clarity and grace (11th ed.). Boston: Longman. (Note: all assignments and readings are from 11th edition, but 10th edition is also fine)


  1. Project 1 – The Fundamentals of Professional Writing: deliverable is a collection of typical professional writing genres written in response to scenarios, including a short report on web research written in memo format, a visual sales document, and three professional emails.
  2. Project 2 – Managing a Professional Project with Writing: deliverables are a collaboratively written and revised work plan, a collaboratively written and revised formal report, and an individually written team performance review.
  3. Project 3 – Representing Yourself on the Job Market: deliverables are a résumé, a cover letter, a LinkedIn profile, and a revised sample of writing in your academic discipline.