Course Details

Conducted by
Professor Logandran Balavijendran
Email : /
Office : 305-809, Office Tel : 02-820-5586


  • Tuesday/Thursday (10.30 to 11.45 @ Law 407)
  • Tuesday/Thursday (1.30 to 2.45 @ Law 407)
  • Tuesday/Thursday (3.00 to 4.15 @ Law 504)

Consultation Time (please make an appointment because my schedule might change)

  • Wednesday, 2 to 5pm

Class Policies

Language - This class is done in English but is not a class about English. That means I will not be teaching you English in class, nor will I be grading your English (pronounciation, grammar, spelling etc). However if you have questions about the language, please feel free to talk to me about it and I will gladly help you. That said, one of the objectives of this class is to build your confidence using the English language, so all communication (even group assignments) should be done in English.

Assignments - Assigments are a core feature of the class, and there will be in-class as well as take home assignments. Almost all assignments in class can be re-done, either to get a better score or just to try a different style. When possible, this must be redone at most one week after I give you back the assignment, and the topic (or some other component) must be changed. More details will be provided in class.

Evaluation - The emphasis of evaluation for this class is more practical than theoretical, therefore we won't be using a textbook and the majority of your grade will come from assignments. That said, theoretical understanding is also important, so a part of your score will come from quizzes. All quizzes will use material from this website and what was discussed in class, and will be announced at least one week before. The evaluation plan is as follows

  • Assignments - 60%
  • Quizzes - 30%
  • Participation - 10%

Lesson Plan - FALL SEMESTER 2011

This is a brief overview of what we will cover this semester. Other items may be added as required.

A) Writing Skills

B) Job Hunting Skills

  • Quiz 2 : 27th of October, quiz range is Resumes (Powerpoint Slides), Cover Lettersand Interview Skills
  • There is NO CLASS ON THE 18th, 20th and 25th of OCTOBER (mid-term week). Class will be replaced by the Job Hunting Forum
  • IF you did manage to choose a job in class, then the only job available for you is Job No 1 : Knowledge Trainer at Thomson Reuters. There is only 12 spaces for each job. If you wrote 13 and 14, you should also do Job No 1.

C) Social Networking

D) Negotiation

Negotiation Simulation

For students of Professor Jemi Choi


Other Notes

Understanding Media and Message Creation

Writing Your Message



Assignments & Grades

Please note that some of these were assignments given last year. Many details will be different.

Reference Textbook

  • Business Communication Today, Bovee / Thill, Pearson / Prentice Hall, 8th edition. ISBN 0-13-196873-4
  • the textbook is NOT compulsory for this course, but complementary and useful if you want to learn more about business communication. You can get a copy from the library if you are interested.


  • Emails - I will communicate with you mostly through emails. Please make sure I have your email address.
  • Grades - your grades will be published on this page. The file name will be the latest date of update. If there is a mistake, please send me an email.

2009 Resources

Assignments 2010

Assignment 1 : Creating a Message

Assignment 2 : Cover Letter & Resume

Assignment 2 Repeat : Cover Letter & Resume



    Cover Letters

    Follow our process

    • Purpose – to draw attention to myself and my resume
    • Audience – HR managers or someone specific. Would have strong knowledge of the industry and their company. Very busy people
    • Brainstorm ideas, organize, prioritize and then write. It helps you overcome writers block.

    Cover Letter Tips

    1. Cover letter must be specific to the company you are sending your resume to. Do not send a generic cover letter.
    2. Cover letter should be addressed to someone specific – find out who it should be addressed to (ask the company, or people you know working in the company). That is the person with whom you can check about the status of your application.
    3. No spelling mistakes and check your grammar
    4. Don't talk about salary, leave that for the interview
    5. Not too short or too long. 3 to 5 paragraphs. Enough to read quickly, but not too brief. Should fit one page on an email.
    6. Speak the right language – if the organization is conservative and traditional, be more formal and reserved. If the organization is creative and dynamic, sound more energetic and open.

    Title of the Cover Letter

    • Mention the Job Position and Advertisement here. Don't waste your first sentence talking about this
    • Re: Applying for Position of Lead Marketer at Starbucks Korea, as Advertised in Korea Herald on 30th February 2009


    Cover Letter Content – What do I write about?

    1. Emphasize how you can benefit the company. The cover letter is not just a summary of your resume, it highlights specifics portions of the resume and shows how you are relevant to the company.

    • I would like to join the marketing department of Starbucks Korea and bring to your organization my experience of brand building at L'Oreal, my extensive leadership skills and my accomplished creativity.
    • During my three years in purchasing with Tidewater Productions, I’ve been credited with yearly savings in the $50,000 to $75,000 range. This resulted from a combination of skillful negotiation and replacing underperforming vendors. (talk about organization, club, society, part-time job in the same way)
    • My senior year’s academic result: A 3.7 GPA with President’s Honors, despite my student job requiring 30 hours a week, illustrates that I know how to dig in and get the job done.
    • With my technical skills and understanding of your market, I can step into the position and be immediately productive.

    2. Show you know something about the company or industry. Don't spend a lot of time praising them, just mention one or two things and connect it to your skills, vision or interests. Don't suck up too much.

    • I love Starbucks coffee. I drink 7 cups of it every day.
    • As a regular Starbucks customer, I appreciate Starbucks leadership role promoting Fair Trade coffee.

    3. Mention a specific department, product, service that you think you will do well at

    • My qualifications and skills are especially suited to IBM's Server Marketing Team, especially the Open Source software range, X-Server series and improving regional sales strategies.

    4. Build your vision into the company's vision, growth strategies or challenges

    • I believe my experience will help maintain and promote the superior Starbucks brand in the increasing competitive premium coffee market, especially in the canned coffee and suburban retail markets

    5. Be brief about your feelings and personality. This part is very subjective and hard to prove. One or two words should be enough.

    • I am a strong, energetic and creative person. I have never lied and always work very hard. Even if it means not sleeping, I will do it to ensure I get my work done.
    • I am a hard worker who prioritizes a commitment to excellence over everything else.

    Good Openings
    Don't waste attention stating the title of the job or your name in the first line. Put those things at the top of the letter. Open with your greatest strength or benefit to the company. Set the theme for your letter.

    • My computer skills developed from childhood, plus my well-honed interest in technology advances, and my recently completed education in computer science make me a strong candidate for a position as an entry-level software engineer at your highly regarded company.
    • I recently graduated with a 3.75 GPA from the University of California, where I was a research assistant to Dr. Joe Famous, engineering department chair.
    • As a new USC graduate, I’ve been hoping to find the kind of position you’re staffing because I have exactly the background you’re asking for. Specifically, the following columns match item for item: (The company’s requirements are listed in the left column, and in the right, your matching qualifications.)
    • I would like to join Datacom Office Equipment as your new Sales Executive and bring to your organization my 12 years of experience working on international corporate clients for Bestdata.

    Good Closings
    Close strongly and indicate you want to meet the person. Sound positive, like you are confident you will get the job and are looking forward to working there.

    • I look forward to speaking with you personally to discuss your specific needs and my ability to meet them. I’ll call your administrative assistant next week to see what time would be most convenient for you.
    • A copy of my resume is enclosed for your review and consideration. If you have an interest in my background, I would be pleased to hear from you.
    • I hope to play an active role in the future prosperity of your organization. I’ll contact you next week to talk about this job or other positions where your needs and my talents meet.
    • I’m excited about employment opportunities within your agency and hope to explore contributions I can make. I’ll e-mail you within the week to see when your calendar is open.

    Activity : Write and Share in Class

    Title : Applying for Position of Marketing Team at Starbucks Korea

    Opening Paragraph

    • your greatest strength and why the company can benefit
    • say something specific about the company and about you

    How the company benefits from your skills, experience or education.

    • two sentences that talk about your experience and one sentence that connects it to the company

    Your ambition and vision

    • a characteristic that can be proven



    References and Additional Resources

    The Essentials of Cover Letters
    Preparing an effective cover letter to accompany your resume is vital if you want to impress a potential employer and land a job interview. You may need some guidance on the essentials of how to write a cover letter that stands out and generates a positive first impression.


    Here are your grades so far. Please click on this link to view your grades.

    • Check if your grades match those on your returned quizzes and assignments.
    • If your grade is missing - don't panic. Please send me an email or come to my office
    • If you grade is wrong - don't panic. Please bring your assignment to me and I will correct it.

    Interview Skills

    What is an Interview?

    • It is a test, but not an exam. You have passed one stage, be a little confident.
    • Doing well at an interview isn't about following the rules or given the "right" answers. Often there are no right answers.
    • It is about presenting yourself as a confident and capable person. The purposeof the interview is to know your personality.
    • You should leave an impression. Don't try so hard to not make mistakes that you become hard to remember. Easily forgettable.

    Preparing for an Interview / Interview Checklist

    1. Know the company you are going for. Make a brief checklist. Don't just repeat things you know about the company in the interview, but use your knowledge of the company to give specific answers to questions or shape your answers to fit the company.
    2. Know exactly where you are going and exactly who you will meet. Building, floor, parking. Always try to arrive early. Go there the day before to plan.
    3. Make sure you know well what you wrote in your resume / cover letter / application form! Always keep one copy for yourself and bring it to the interview.
    4. Presentation - dress as you think you would if you worked there every day, so your potential boss can picture you working there. Don't over or under-dress (but if you have to choose one, over dressing is better than under-dressing)

    Answering Questions

    1. Look at it as a conversation, not an interrogation. Be conversational - talk freely in a nice and easy tone. Feel free to elaborate and explain your answers.
    2. Be yourself - emphasize the good things and dilute the bad, but you cannot be a different person. No one is perfect. Employers would rather choose the person who is not perfect but sincere and trustworthy, rather than the person who is hiding something.
    3. Take your time, do Not Rush. Do not attempt to drown your interviewer with information. It is okay to pause, and stop when you think you have finished the answer. Look for signs from the interviewer.
    4. Smile - be relaxed. No one wants to work with a grumpy person. Have positive energy!
    5. Use questions as an opportunity to talk about yourself and your experiences. Tell short narratives about your experiences - you can think about two or three big accomplishments to talk about.
    6. It's okay to not know the answer - it is an assessment of your attitude and character. Your Resume showed what you know and that was enough to get the job. However if the question is about something in your resume, then you should answer accurately.
    7. Give your opinions - Employers often ask "what do you think..." questions. Tell them what you think, don't search for the perfect answer or give no answer.
    8. Buy time before answering a question - rephrase or describe the question, make a short joke, prepare yourself to answer the question. Don't rush into an answer, or stay quiet. When buying time, stay relaxed.
    9. If you don't understand the question, ask for clarification.
    10. Ask questions at the end of the interview - shows confidence. Prepare some questions about your role, job expectations, welfare and so on. Ask them if they think you will get the job - a chance for them to voice objections and for you to respond.


    1. Fidget, move around, avoid eye contact, play with your pen or do anything else that shows you are nervous
    2. Say bad things about your past employer
    3. Lie!
    4. Don't give cliche answers - things everyone will say
    5. Don't talk about irrelevant stories - if they ask to tell them about yourself, emphasize things related to the job.

    Group Interviews
    Sometimes you are put into group situations to analyze interactive abilities

    1. It is not a competition to answers all the questions. Don't bully other people or cut people off.
    2. Don't be hesistant or overly fair. You still want to be hired over other people.
    3. Respond to other people in your group. Interact with them, show your communication abilities.
    4. Helps to talk to people while waiting for the interview to start (but don't be stressed if they brag about themselves!)

    Common Interview Questions

    Common Questions

    1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    2. Why do you want to work here?
    3. What part of your current job do you dislike the most?
    4. What does this ________ mean in your resume?
    5. What areas of this job appeal to you the least?
    6. How do you think this company can improve?

    Behavioural Questions
    Questions that try to assess how you behaved in certain situations.

    1. Think of a problem person you had to deal with, describe the situation and tell me how you handled it.
    2. Give me an example of a colleague/ vendor/ customer who was hard to communicate with and tell me how you handled it.
    3. Describe a situation in which you felt it was necessary to break company policy or alter procedures to get things done.
    4. Tell me about something you've done in your job that was creative. Think of a specific example. Tell me exactly how you handled it.
    5. Tell me about a time you made a quick decision you were proud of.
    6. Tell me about an important goal you've set in the past and how you accomplished it.
    7. When you had to do a job that was particularly uninteresting, how did you deal with it?
    8. Tell me about a time when an upper level decision of policy change held up your work. How did you handle it?
    9. Tell me about a time when you've stuck to company policy or procedure, when it might have been easier and more effective not to.
    10. Describe a time when you had to communicate some unpleasant feelings to a supervisor.
    11. What's been your experience of dealing with poor performance of subordinates? Provide an example.
    12. Can you think of any major obstacles you had to overcome in your last job? How did you deal with them?
    13. What types of things have made you angry, and how did you react to those situations?
    14. Describe for me a time when you made a mistake that illustrates your need to for improvement.

    Dealing with Tough Questions

    • Take your time, answer clearly and honestly. There are no perfect answers.
    • Ask for clarification if the question is not clear.
    • Answer in detail. Explain the Situation/Task, Action and Result (STAR)

    Dressing for An Interview

    Women's Interview Attire

    * Solid color, conservative suit
    * Coordinated blouse
    * Moderate shoes
    * Limited jewelry
    * Neat, professional hairstyle
    * Tan or light hosiery
    * Sparse make-up & perfume
    * Manicured nails
    * Portfolio or briefcase

    Men's Interview Attire

    * Solid color, conservative suit
    * White long sleeve shirt
    * Conservative tie
    * Dark socks, professional shoes
    * Very limited jewelry
    * Neat, professional hairstyle
    * Go easy on the aftershave
    * Neatly trimmed nails
    * Portfolio or briefcase

    Questions to Ask the Interview (and Not to Ask)

    Interview Questions to Ask

    1. How would you describe the responsibilities of the position?
    2. How would you describe a typical week/day in this position?
    3. Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?
    4. What is the company's management style?
    5. Who does this position report to? If I am offered the position, can I meet him/her?
    6. How many people work in this office/department?
    7. How much travel is expected?
    8. Is relocation a possibility?
    9. What is the typical work week? Is overtime expected?
    10. What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
    11. How does one advance in the company?
    12. What do you like about working here?
    13. Would you like a list of references?
    14. If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start?
    15. What can I tell you about my qualifications?
    16. When can I expect to hear from you?
    17. Are there any other questions I can answer for you?

    Interview Questions NOT to Ask

    1. What does this company do? (Do your research ahead of time!)
    2. If I get the job when can I take time off for vacation? (Wait until you get the offer to mention prior commitments)
    3. Can I change my schedule if I get the job? (If you need to figure out the logistics of getting to work don't mention it now...)
    4. Did I get the job? (Don't be impatient. They'll let you know.)

    From :


    What is a Resume?

    • CV (curriculum vitae - Latin for 'life story')  and Resume  mean the same
    • It is a detailed description of the knowledge, skills and abilities you have that are relevant to for a specific position or company

    Your Audience

    • they receive hundreds of CVs and resumes - don't make yours seem common (but also not too creative)
    • they are looking for something specific, don't fill your CV with everything you are good at
    • There are different standards and formats of CVs for different cultures, countries, companies. It is best to check with the company if they have a preferred format

    Resume Tips

    • Do copy a CV. Ever
    • Do not lie on your CV. Ever
    • Get more information about the job you are applying for. Understand what they want. Ask for more details or do research.
    • Do not overuse emphasis
    • Do not have more than 2 different fonts



    Parts of a Resume

    Parts of a Resume
    A) Personal Details
    B) Education
    C) Experience
    D) Skills & Interests

    A) Personal Details

    • Should include contact information
    • Should NOT include irrelevant information (not required for your job – religion, blood type etc)

    B) Education

    • Most recent first. Names and dates of school and degree most important. Can highlight courses that are relevant to company (but not just courses that you did well)
    • Highlight achievements
    • Gaps should be explained.

    C) Experience

    • Most recent first. List achievements and responsibilities against each role. More emphasis or information for more recent or relevant jobs
    • Gaps in career history should be explained

    D) Skills & Interests

    • Emphasize things that are useful or will give you an advantage. A foreign language, computer skills, driving license.
    • Should be short. Only purpose is to give you some character. Don't write boring things that everyone will write (but don't sound crazy). When talking about a hobby, give details that show success or some special abilities (for example, competed at 3 national debate tournaments)

    Example Analysis

    Biology Student -
    Business Student -
    Before/After – Management -
    Before/After – Sales Executive -


    Maximize Your Resume

    In this section we will look at how to express yourself in the most powerful way possible. We cannot change the things we have experienced, but we can emphasize the best parts of it!

    Remember that work experience does not mean only experience you have had working for a company, but any kind of work that you have done. This can include

    • internships
    • volunteer work
    • work for a club or society
    • competiting at tournaments
    • organizing a university event
    • and more...

    Give enough relevant information about your previous employers and projects to interest the reader, but not enough to send them to sleep. The best candidate CVs summarise a wealth of knowledge and experience in a concise and engaging fashion.
    - Maxim Recruitment,


    Here are 6 ways you can maximize your resume


    1) List your duties, responsibilities and the reporting structure you worked within and any unusual features of your role or project or experience e.g.

    • Responsibility for the commercial management of all projects run from the southern area office. Working with the Area Manager in leading a team of 3 Quantity Surveyors and 7 Site Agents - forecast annual turnover of £7 million. Reporting divisional results/performance directly to the Operations Manager, Managing Quantity Surveyor and Commercial Director.
    • Intern in Macquarie Korea, Derivatives and Commodity Trading Department. Reported to the Head Trader and as part of a team of 3 was responsible to analyze news sources like Reuters and Bloomberg and prepare daily market reports. Learned how to use research software, generate client reports and work under pressure. Helped secure trade deals of more than 10 million won.

    2) Provide the technical project information that is relevant to your experience in the context of the employer it refers to e.g.

    • Project Details:
      • £3.5M Road Contract Using NEC Option C
      • 48 week contract period
      • Client: The Highways Agency

    3) Focus on the benefits of the experience you have gained, rather than on the features of it. e.g.

    • Used NEC contract form while a Senior Quantity Surveyor on the CTRL over the last 18monts OR
    • Having used NEC contract form while a Senior Quantity Surveyor on the CTRL over the last 18months, I am now ready to take up my first Managing Quantity Surveyor role on the London Underground rail renewal projects I am applying for…

    4) Be confident in the use of ‘active’ words such as led, organised etc e.g.

    • Led a team of 3 Intermediate Quantity Surveyors on the National Physical Laboratories PFI Contract…Responsible for the external envelope (£9m) and management and procurement of internal partitioning sub-contractors (£4m).

    5) Indicate the benefits of your contributions to the efficient running of your previous employers’ projects e.g.

    • In 2001 I co-founded and successfully established a Project Management Consulting division. In addition to PM services, it also comprised Planning and Programme Management; Risk, Value and Project Facilitation streams. I helped to grow this division from £180k fee income in year one to a £1.6 million business unit after only two years. The newly formed team grew from 3 consultants to 12 during the same period.

    6) Use details to maximize the size and scope of your responsibilities – mention the number of the people, the number of hours, the amount of money etc

    • President of the Chess Club, organized the Chung Ang Chess Challenge 2008 (CUACC), sponsored by Starbucks, OR
    • President of the Chung Ang Chess Club – the second largest non-sporting official club in CAU. Organized the Chung Ang Chess Challenge, that involved 200 participants. Led an organizing team of 33 people over the period of 3 months and successfully negotiated a sponsorship contract with Starbucks Coffee Korea.

    Activity : Resume Consultants

    Resume Consultants help people write better resumes. Today, we will all be resume consultants!

    Steps - Before the Lecture

    1. Assume you are applying for a job. The job is to work in the Marketing and Promotions Department of Starbucks Korea. You will be part of the team that tries to extend Starbucks' evil empire across Korea.
    2. You should write 2 or 3 items that you will include in the "Work Experience" section of your resume.
    3. Pass it to me.

    Steps - After the Lecture

    1. Based on the resume that you have been given, try some or all of the given strategies to improve it.
    2. Compare this with the people sitting next to you.
    3. Each small group must share some of the before and after examples.


    During every vacation I worked at a clothes shop in Namdaemun. Through this opportunity I learned the spirit of service for the customer.

    (not enough details, emphasis your contribution)

    Worked at a clothes shop at Namdaemun for 4 summer/winter vacations (2006 & 2007).  Responsible for arranging products for display and negotiation with customers. Personally sold more than 1 million won worth of merchandise a month. Learned how to understand customers needs and persuade customers to purchase products



    Did volunteer activity for Seoul "No Car Day". It was very hard but I learned a lot

    (use more details to show the size of the event and explain what was hard)

    Volunteer promoter during the Seoul "No Car Day" event that was organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Council, and was directly responsible for managing traffic at 4th busiest intersection in Seoul. This very challenging event involved 200 volunteers and took over 12 hours to complete. Learned the importance of detailed planning and communication under stress.


     I volunteered to monitor workers in Goodneighbours, one of the biggest NGOs in Korea

    I was leader of UNIQLO marketing team. We made some UCC or Advertisement. I presented some statistics, fats, plans for sales. I can learn about marketing and advertisement

     Helping disabled children, by washing and feeding them. I could understand how disabled people are uncomfortable and respect all kinds of people.