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ENGL 202C, Section 020

To: From: Date: Re: Professor Vanessa McLaughlin Karren Vlahos September 27, 2012 Job Application Packet Purpose The goal of this cover memo is to explain why I chose to highlight different aspects of my education, experiences, and skills on my resume to better fit the jobs I am applying for. Another purpose for the memo is to explicate why I decided to discuss different experiences in my cover letters for the two jobs. Job Ad 1: Biogen Idec This position is very different from the other job because it focuses on research and scientific and bench work skills. The job with Biogen Idec requires me to highlight different skills and experiences than in the second job. Biogen is a large company, with 5,000 employees and many offices located all over the world. My application would therefore most likely first be read by human resources and then possibly passed on to the scientists who are working on the project. Therefore, I addressed my cover letter to the scientists there to let them know that I was truly interested. On the companys website, they had a great number of job postings, so I thought it was important for me to first start off my cover letter with the specific job I was applying to, so that there would not be any confusion. It is also the worlds oldest independent biotechnology company and seems to show a lot of pride in that, so I thought it was important for me to show them that I knew about the company and did my research. This is why in the first paragraph of the cover letter, I mentioned the companys goal. Also in the first paragraph for the cover letter, I included my passion for THON and helping out people with diseases, which is a main reason to get into research, especially with this company. In the second paragraph of my cover letter, I went into more detail about the relevant courses I have taken throughout college that may correspond to the job position. In the job ad, the company is asking for an applicant who has strong laboratory skills, as well as someone who has worked with PCR and assays before. I have therefore mentioned that I have performed these tests before, as well as others. Therefore, they are aware before even looking at my resume that I am qualified. Also in the ad, the company talks specifically about making antibodies for B- cells. Although I have never done this before, I have studied antibodies and B cells before in my Biology and Molecular Biology classes, which I indicated on my resume under the relevant coursework section. While researching the company, I found out what diseases they have therapies for and have mentioned

them and my understanding of them in the cover letter. I talked about my undergraduate independent research a little bit more to show that I have bench work experience as well as being independent and self- motivated which is what they were looker for in an applicant as indicated in the job ad. As a research company, it is also good to have new ideas and as a new graduate, I believe I can give a new perspective or approach to things. In the third paragraph, I thought it was important to show my independence and self- sufficiency. I chose to discuss my study abroad opportunity. This experience showed that I was on my own and had to make my own decisions while being in a new and very different situation than any I have been in in my life. Another major reason why I chose to talk about my study abroad is because it was in France. From my research on Biogen, I found that not only do they have offices located in Canada, but also France. They may see this as an opportunity that I have more potential to work and communicate with the other offices since I have been to France before and am proficient in French. On the resume for the first job ad, I started out with a list of skills that I have that not everyone would have. This sets me apart from other applicants. I also chose to put it first because the job ad was very adamant about having good laboratory and instrumental skills. Also included in this list are my skills with the computer, which is important for researchers to record and analyze their findings. I stuck in my proficiency level in French here too. The next part that I wanted to highlight was my education. I put my major and minor first because that is more of what the company is looking for. It doesnt really matter what university you attended. The ad specifically wants someone with a BS in Molecular Biology or a related area. Because I am not a molecular biology major, but just a biology major, I chose to include relevant coursework. This list shows that I have taken many classes that are in related fields as well as in molecular biology. Underneath my education, is a section of related experiences. This is where I put my independent research. I described it a little here to show that I have experience with bench work and the experimentation process. Next, I added my honors to express again that I am a hardworking student and highly motivated. The last section I chose to include on my first resume is an activities section. In here, I placed my study abroad and THON experience. These show more of my personality. The study abroad shows that I am cultured and independent, while the THON captain position explains how I am a leader, but am also able to work in a group environment. I left my work experience out of this first job description because none of my previous jobs had anything to do with this job position that would help me any. They seemed irrelevant and a waste of space, therefore they were not included. Another experience that I left out of this one that I had included in the second resume was my shadowing of doctors. Due to the fact that this job would be in a research lab, it didnt feel it was important to put in that information. That experience has more to do with interacting with patients and the other end of the biology spectrum. Job Ad 2: Jefferson Regional Medical Center The second job ad is different from the first because it is working in the medical field, not in the research portion of biology like the first one. In this setting, I would be around patients, and hospital staff including nurses and doctors. I believe it was important to show different qualities of myself in this job application. In the opening paragraph in the cover letter, I felt it was important to express my lifelong passion for helping people and wanting to work in the medical field. This inspiration came from my parents, which I mentioned at the beginning. This may be something the interviewer can relate to. I also used this opportunity to add in that I have family members who work at the hospital so that they know and can maybe ask around to see how they are as workers because it may reflect how I will be as an employee. Again, as in the last cover letter, I mention

something about the hospital that I found by researching it. This shows that I have knowledge of the hospital and its recent advancements and activities. In the second paragraph, I touch a little bit on my educational background and how it will be an advantage to me for this position. The job ad does not say that you need a bachelors degree or have any education in a medical related field. However, I do so I want to highlight this to show that I am very qualified and have a good understanding of what may be wrong with the patients. This would assist me in doing a better job as a patient sitter. Also in this paragraph, I chose to share my experience shadowing physicians. By adding this in here, I am revealing that I know how to interact in a hospital setting, not only with the physicians but also with the patients. This is a crucial characteristic to have for this job. My third paragraph is where I explained a leadership role that I have. Being a captain in THON is a major responsibility and time commitment. By describing my role as a leader, as well as a committee member, I allude to the fact that I can work well by myself or by directing people. It also presents how I am able to monitor the progress of myriad projects while simultaneously excelling in a group dynamic. This serves as proof that I am a nice addition to a team. Being a captain also presents that I am reliable and responsible because in this position you must be punctual and prepared for meetings and events. Committee members look to you to guide them. Firstly, on the second resume I chose to use my home address. I did this because I live only 20 minutes away from the hospital. This may aid in me getting hired because they know I wont have to move. I also put an objective on this one so that they know what my goals are for applying for this position. It is general and not specific so they know I am interested in a majority of things and maybe progressing in the hospital once I obtain a job. Education came next. I again put my major and minor first to highlight my area of study to show I am educated in some of what my job will entail. I listed different relevant courses in this section because the job ad does not say that they require laboratory skills. Instead, I listed health policy and administration classes because they taught me about the workings of hospitals, doctors, and the health care system. This is more of what a job at a hospital is about. I did not separate my honors on the Deans List because the job does not require a bachelors degree so they are not really looking for this. I provided a special skills section because in the job ad it requires that you are CPR certified and FBOA certified. I have not done this, but if I were to apply at the end of the year, I am assuming I have taken these courses and have been certified. I know this is something that they are looking for specifically, so I have provided it towards the top. In this section, I also have my oral and communication skills as well as computer skills because I know that a lot of hospitals are switching over to digital records instead of paper. The next section on the second resume is relevant experiences and activities. This is where I have showed that I have clinical experience by shadowing physicians. In this description, I explain that I have exposure to how interactions between each part of the hospital work, between patients and doctors and staff. This is a relevant experience because I gained some knowledge from the physicians on how to communicate well with patients. Another activity was my positions on the THON committee. This is in here because it shows my leadership to successfully lead a large group of people and also how I can work within a group dynamic. I believe if I were to get this job, I would have to both have leadership skills as well as work well with a team of other employees. Being the captain also means that I had to have good oral and written communication skills because of the jobs I had to do. This activity shows that I am responsible enough to have such a large role in a very important event. The last part of my resume, I incorporated in some work experience. The first one is a job I have my senior year. This shows that I have good time management skills and am also responsible and

reliable. It hints to the fact that I am a hard worker because I was able to be a full time student, a THON captain, and have a part-time job, which are all major time commitments. Another thing this shows is that I am able to multitask and still do well in everything. These are all very important characteristics employers are looking for in employees. The other job I have in this part of my resume is my job as a nanny. I thought this was relevant for this job position because they both require me to be observant and care after other people and their needs. Although most of the patients will mostly likely not be children, I will still have to be very helpful and watch over them and attend to their needs. Other work experiences and my time doing independent research are not very important or significant for this job ad. They do not show the skills that the hospital is looking for in this job position.

Job Ad 1: Research Assistant obReqLang=1&recordstart=1&codes=JINDED

About Biogen Idec Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) is a biotechnology leader that discovers, develops and delivers medicines to improve the lives of patients. As a company, Biogen Idec recognizes that cutting-edge science and medicines can address unmet patient needs to change the course of devastating diseases. Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec is the worlds oldest independent biotechnology company. Patients worldwide benefit every day from our industry-leading multiple sclerosis (MS) products. We have one of the strongest late-stage pipelines in the industry. In the coming years, were working hard to bring new therapies to market for patients with MS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrigs Disease), hemophilia, and others. With more than 5,000 employees, Biogen Idec is a truly global organization generating revenue of more than $5 billion worldwide in 2011. In addition to our headquarters in Weston, MA, and our research operations in Cambridge, MA, we have world-class manufacturing facilities in North Carolina and Hillerod, Denmark and offices in Canada, Australia, Japan and throughout Europe. We also have a direct commercial presence in 29 markets, including the US, EU, Brazil, China and India, and a network of distribution partners in more than 70 additional countries. Requisition Number 18472BR Posting Title Associate Scientist- ASll/lll Molecular Biologist Location US-MA-Cambridge Job Category Research & Preclinical Development Job Description Biogen IDEC is seeking an independent, self-motivated individual who has expertise in the use of molecular biology methods to obtain and express antibody sequences from B-cells. Experience with PCR, sequence alignment and an understanding of antibody structure are required for the successful applicant. Experience with single cell PCR, antibody engineering, expression cloning of antibodies, construction of affinity matured antibody libraries and a strong background in assay development would be considered a plus. Primary responsibilities will include the support of discovery research projects with an active role in therapeutic antibody selection. The position will require development and execution of PCR of antibody sequences from select B-cells, and cloning the derived genes into expression vectors, the reviewing of antibody sequence alignments, expression cloning of selected sequences and potentially creating minilibraries from selected sequences for use in display libraries. Qualifications The desired candidate will have experience in Molecular Biology with strong bench scientist skills. The successful applicant will have experience in the application of assay systems to execute molecular biology techniques to derive antibody sequences from selected cell populations, clone those sequences into expression vectors and to understand alignments of resulting sequence information. Excellent oral communication skills, strong laboratory skills, a proven ability to work independently as well as a member of a discovery team are required. Education BS or MS in Molecular Biology or related area.

Karren Vlahos 348 Blue Course Drive, Apt 150 State College, PA 16803 September 27, 2012 [Company Name] Cambridge Operations 14 Cambridge Center Cambridge, MA 02142 Dear [Recipient Name]:

I am writing to apply for the Associate Scientist position in your company at the Cambridge Operations site. Throughout the years, giving back and helping people has been a major part of my life. I wish to improve the lives of people living with serious diseases. I take pride in any work I do that helps others. This is a main reason why I have been Involved in the Penn State/IFC Panhellenic Dance Marathon for the past three years. I joined to help raise money for children with pediatric cancer and research so that oneday we will find the cure for pediatric cancer. I would like to now find a career that deals with the other side of things, research. As a recent graduate, I am able to look at things from a different perspective and add new ideas. This will help advance research done. My educational background in biology, along with my professional experience and skills, makes me an excellent candidate for this position. As a senior majoring in Biology at the Penn State University, I have acquired many skills over the years, not only experimental, but also critical thinking. I have taken many biology classes, and on top of them, molecular biology and biochemistry courses. I have a strong educational background in the topics of research, antibodies in B cells and diseases such as MS and ALS. In congruence with those lecture type classes, I have also taken many labs that teach different experimental techniques and instruments. These skills include running PCR, H and C NMR, UV vis spectrometry, gel electrophoresis, IR spectrometry, and many more. Another opportunity I have had as a student at Penn State was being an independent undergraduate researcher working in the lab of Dr. Daniel Cosgrove. This was a major educational experience for me because I was able to design and execute my own experiment. Although I did not make any major breakthroughs, it equipped me with the ability to be innovative and think outside of the box for new ideas to solve problems. Another major experience of my collegiate career as well as my personal life was studying abroad in France. Due to my major, I was not able to travel abroad for a full semester; I was only able to go for the summer and fulfill some of the classes for my minor in French and Francophone studies. This was an eyeopening experience, not only to a different culture, but also in learning more about myself and being independent. I was completely on my own in a new environment and culture and had to learn to do things for myself. This included my classwork and traveling to new places. I gained an appreciation for different customs and ways of life, as well as became a more self-sufficient person along the journey. If you have questions, or if you want to schedule an interview, please contact me at [phone number]. I look forward to meeting you to further discuss employment opportunities with [Company Name]. Sincerely, Karren Vlahos



PCR, H NMR, C NMR, UV Vis Spectroscopy, IR Spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry, Gel Electrophoresis, Proficiency in French (Eight Years), Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Windows, CREEP, excellent oral and written communication skills

Bachelor of Science in Biology Minor in French and Francophone Studies Penn State University Relevant Coursework: Experimental and Organic Chemistry Labs Differential Biology and Molecular Biochemistry Advanced Biochemistry Biology Labs Technical Writing Speech Communication

GPA: 3.55 August 2009 - Present University Park, PA


Independent Undergraduate Research Penn State University Cosgrove Plant Biology Laboratory Spring 2011 Conducted research on plant cell walls and determining the components within them. Performed experimental tests and assays on dependent and independent variables. Investigated how the cell wall reacts to acidity and tension. Equipped me with tools and knowledge of how to critically think and problem solve.

Deans List 4 out of 6 semesters at Penn State University


Study Abroad Program Besancon, Fr ance International Student Summer 2011 Explored a new culture, people, and cuisine to gain an appreciation for other views and cultures. Traveled around to different countries to learn more about the world and myself as an individual. Studied the language and culture of France with other international students. Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon OPPerations Committee Captain/LT/Committee Member October 2010- Present Organized and oversaw the worlds largest student run philanthropy alongside a team of volunteers to provide outstanding emotional and financial support to families of children with cancer.

Lead a committee of 36 people throughout the year in preparation for THON weekend. Set up and tore down the Bryce Jordan Center before and after THON, as well as kept everything stocked and clean to create a safe environment for the families and dancers.

Job Ad 1: Patient Sitter Department: Patient Sitters Schedule: Part-time Shift: Day/Night Shift Hours: Variable Job Details: Provides an environment conducive to patients who may be at high risk for injury, falls or wandering due to various medical conditions. The primary responsibility is to ensure patient safety by providing continuous visual observation and appropriate intervention. High school diploma or GED required. Prior sitter experience in acute care, extended care or home care preferred. Must have a minimum of Heartsaver CPR - Course #1 which includes Adult CPR and Foreign Body Airway instruction (FBOA).

Karren Vlahos 135 Devonwood Drive Upper St. Clair, PA 15241 [phone number] September 27, 2012 [Recipient Name] Human Resources Department 565 Coal Valley Road Jefferson Hills, PA 15025 Dear [Recipient Name]: As the daughter of an anesthesiologist and a nurse anesthetist, working in the medical field has always been a dream of mine. Medical jargon was a reoccurring topic at the dinner table. Throughout my collegiate career, I have studied to pursue a career in the medical field and to work at a respectable hospital. This is why I feel I would be a good addition to the Jefferson Regional Medical Center family. I am very familiar with this particular hospital because both my mother and sister work there. Jefferson Regional is a world-renowned hospital for many reasons, including being one of the best hospitals for cardiac surgery. Nothing brings me more joy and satisfaction than helping other people out and making them happy. This is why I want to be involved in patient care. Also, my educational background in biology, along with my professional experience, makes me an excellent candidate for this position. During my four years at Penn State University, I have been studying biology with the goal of graduating with a degree and earning a career in the medical field. Through my courses, I have gained knowledge in anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, and diseases. This means I will be coming in with some comprehension and understanding of what may be wrong with the patients so that I can pay special attention to certain things. Another quality that I have gained is how to communicate and work with physicians, staff, and patients. This was obtained through shadowing physicians. For a few weeks, I followed around three doctors during their full workdays. They allowed me to come into the examination rooms and speak with the patients, as well as observe procedures. That experience taught me great amount about the interaction between patients and the staff, including the physicians. This is a vital tool to have for this job position, since it involves caring for patients and being around them on a daily basis. Another experience that I have taken part of for the past three years is the Penn State/IFC Panhellenic Dance Marathon. Through this organization, I have had many positions, but the most notable is being an OPPerations captain. As a captain, you lead a committee of 36 students throughout the year in preparation for major events, including the biggest, THON weekend. It is a 46-hour, no sleeping, and no sitting dance marathon to raise money for children with pediatric cancer. For captains, you prepare for this and other events for 6 months as well as collect donations. It involves a lot of communication between different committees as well as people from all tiers of ranking. One must have good oral and written communication skills to be successful at this position. This is also true for being a patient sitter and having to be responsible for patients as well as communicate with them and other hospital staff. As a captain, I have improved my public speaking by leading meetings 3 times a week with different committees. I have also improved my written communication skills by writing weekly updates and reports for other captains and overalls to read. A major characteristic that I have obtained is leadership by having 36 other people follow my lead and my orders. If you have questions, or if you want to schedule an interview, please contact me at [phone number]. I look forward to meeting you to further discuss employment opportunities with [Company Name]. Sincerely,

Karren Vlahos




To acquire a career in the medical field that involves interacting with physicians and staff and caring for patients

on a daily basis.

Bachelor of Science in Biology Minor in French and Francophone Studies Penn State University Relevant Courses: 2 courses of Health Policy and Administration Deans List: 4 out of 6 semesters at Penn State University

GPA: 3.55 August 2009 - Present University Park, PA

CPR and FBOA certified, French (Eight Years), Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, reliable, good oral and written communication skills, interpersonal skills, strong work ethic

UPMC Shadowed Obstetricians/Gynecologists Followed around OB/GYNs in their office setting. Interacted with physicians, staff, and patients.

Bethel Park, PA December 2011

Learned not only physiology and embryology lessons, but also how to communicate and act with patients.

Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon OPPerations Committee Captain/LT/Committee Member October 2010 - Present Organize and oversee the worlds largest student run philanthropy alongside a team of volunteers to provide outstanding emotional and financial support to families of children with cancer. Lead a committee of 36 people throughout the year in preparation for THON weekend. Set up and tore down the Bryce Jordan Center before and after THON, as well as kept everything stocked and clean to create a safe environment for the families and dancers. Communicated important information between all different ranks of people.


Campus Dining Commons Server, Part Time Prepared and served food and drink orders for customers.

University Park, PA Septe mber 2012- Present

Stocked and made sure that there was a clean, safe, and healthy working environment. Interacted with customers and tried to achieve customer satisfaction. Bethel Park, PA Summers 2009-2010 Coordinated developmentally appropriate activities for 3 children to provide a quality healthy physical, mental and social environment.

Maslanka Household Nanny

Planned and performed social and physical events, meals, and educational activities for each of the children. Cooked, cleaned, and ran errands for the family.