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Technical Writing for Professionals: Resumes and cover letters


Your resume and cover letter may be the most important documents that you write in your working life. From only a handful of pages you are to be judged; you may be found worthy — to be granted that interview or receive that funding; to be credible to complete some work — or deemed insufficient. These pages must persuade the reader to want to meet with you… and in only the span of a handful of pages. That is a great deal of pressure to place on your words.

To create these documents in a compelling and engaging manner requires strategy and understanding of their purpose, some concepts on how to persuade your reader, and, yes, even some artistic licence. On-line templates — while easy — are unlikely to captivate or arrest your reader’s attention.

NRTG is offering a short, half-day, course to help people develop stronger and more compelling resumes and cover letters. Our instructors will introduce and reinforce principles and ideas — concepts that apply across industries and disciplines — to create compelling, engaging, and purposeful resumes and cover letters. A sample of the course content includes:

  • Required preparatory work
  • Purposes of these documents
  • Developing content and structure of these documents
  • Refining content and structure
  • Proofreading and detecting errors

Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enrol once – come back anytime.


I really enjoyed the technical writing class that you delivered to our team this July. It had been over 10 years since I was in an English class, and your course provided a great refresher in the basics of grammar, sentence structure, and paragraph flow. In addition to dusting off these skills, it inspired me to view my every day writing as an opportunity to communicate more effectively. I now see my daily emails, reports, and memos as practice for crafting something that is enjoyable to read. The course was hands-on and involved, I liked how we wrote and edited throughout. I found the timing and pace of the course to be appropriate and efficient. I recommend taking this course if you are interested in enhancing your writing skills in a technical workplace.

Emma Posluns – Biologist, Halifax NS

Really enjoyed, appreciated and benefited from a lot of what this course offered. Strongly recommend this instructor and course.

— Warren Littlejohn, Environmental Professional, Victoria BC

Valued the number of group and individual Technical Writing exercises, and the discussion on how to approach a new writing assignment.

— Stephanie Moloughney, Ecologist

Sean is a skilled presenter. One Technical Writing course exercise was terribly frustrating to start, but was a valuable experience in perseverance and value.

— Ryan Turner, Biologist, Prince George, BC

Really appreciated the emphasis on important principles and new updates and approaches to writing, as well as tips, tricks to better writing.

— Freda Shabrang, Community Planner, Campbell River BC

What I liked about this course was Sean’s ability to bring technical writing back to the basics – to remind us of the intent or purpose of writing, and to remind us on a basic level how to construct a sentence, a paragraph, and a narrative. Beyond the basics, he provided us with strategies for improving our writing through every stage of the writing process. My biggest takeaway from the course is a reminder that even technical, scientific writing can (and should!) be compelling, interesting, creative and persuasive.

Melanie MacDonald, Biologist Halifax NS

Great course, more hands-on that I was expecting and surprisingly, it was not dry material. Sean had lots of stories, quotes, exercises and tips and by the end of the two days, I had confidence that I wasn’t the horrible writer I had made myself out to be. Writing just takes work and practice like everything else. I’d love to take this course annually to re-inspire and refresh my writing skills.

— Jessica Hobden, Biologist, Kelowna BC

Strongly recommend this course and instructor!

— Kirk Miller, Wildlife Ecologist, Prince George BC

I learned a great deal in the Technical Writing course. Writing is a lot of work, and this course gave me a good base to keep growing from.

— Cam Dexter, Biologist, Nanaimo, BC

My writing has improved tenfold since taking the course, as well as my confidence. My supervisor and I have both noticed it – whether it is an email, summary letter, or full report, the flow is better and everything reads easier.

— Rachel Cullen, Biologist, Cochrane Alberta


By the end of this course, course participants will have the tools and strategies to:

  • Determine appropriate content for a targeted resume.
  • Differentiate material to place in the resume as opposed to the cover letter.
  • Appreciate the importance of layout and design for the resume.
  • Have fun creating these documents.

Course Format

Technical Writing for Professionals: Resumes and Cover Letters (TWPRCL) is a half-day (4 hour) course offered online only.

Potential Students

This course is intended for anyone seeking to improve their ability to persuade their audience, whether the student applying for their first job, the seasoned professional wishing to make a career change, the consultant including a resume in a proposal, or the academic needing to provide a curriculum vitae in a grant applications. We all, occasionally, have to sell ourselves using the resume format. TWPRCL is for those that wish to improve their chance of landing that interview, being seriously considered for the position, or win the bid or grant they want.


There are no formal prerequisites. Though not required, completion of the more comprehensive companion course Technical Writing for Professionals, before or after this course, is a valuable addition to further refine your ability to develop resumes and cover letters through strategic writing.

There are no formal prerequisites.  A standard college or university English course or previous experience writing reports is recommended.

Personal Equipment Requirements

 Participants are required to bring/supply their own laptop, writing pad, pen/pencils and refreshments.

Course Fees

Course fees will vary by course delivery location.  For further information, please refer to our Course Schedule.   

How do I Attend?

This online training course is available via our website schedule, or on contract to community groups. The TWPRCL course is regularly scheduled throughout the year. Interested groups or organizations can also arrange for an ‘in-house’ or contract delivery of this course.  In either scenario, contact NRTG for further information.

If you would like to have this course delivered to your group or community, please consider the following:

  1. Contact us well in advance of your preferred course start date
  2. If applicable, secure program funding
  3. Recruit course participants (most NRTG courses have minimum enrollments of 10 participants)
  4. Coordinate course participant equipment, classroom facility, and contractual agreement with NRTG.

Instructor Profile

Sean Mitchell, PhD, R.P. Bio.

Having not held a single job for more than three years at a stretch, but rather choosing to work in a wide variety of environments and positions, Sean has a great deal of experience developing and revising his own resume. This wide range of work experience has also exposed him to a great variety of other’s resumes (the good, the bad, the ugly). And ranging from first job resumes to experienced academics. From witnessing these other’s documents, and his own mistakes, he has found consistent errors, oversights, and poor decisions are common among these documents. Sean believes the piece lacking in developing most resumes, and resulting in weak presentation, is strategy, and that is what he teaches.

Sean’s chosen career has required continual writing during his professional life, including more than fifty contract reports, two academic theses, and twenty-three professional, peer reviewed papers. However, in addition to a requirement for his work, writing is a passion for Sean. He has written articles and short pieces for non-technical audience and is currently working on three book projects (two non-fiction; one novel). Sean brings tools and strategies from other forms of writing to technical writing. He strongly believes, and propounds, that studying the processes which fiction and creative writers use can greatly help our technical writing abilities and efficiencies.

To teach a writing course requires some experience in teaching as well as writing. Sean has taught six biology courses at universities in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, ranging from first to third year, and from introductory biology to field school. He has been teaching with NRTG for three years. He now brings the tools and strategies learned from these experiences to this writing course to create a valuable learning experience to the student.

Jason Cote, B.Sc., R.P.Bio.

Jason’s career has progressed from a technical specialist (in the field of marine and freshwater fisheries biology) to a business owner and senior leader and mentor. If asked today what sets him apart from other environmental professionals, its his drive to develop and foster long-term relationships with colleagues, regulators, proponents and First Nations. For emerging environmental professionals, a compelling and engaging resume is, in many cases, the first step in fostering such relationships. Through strong technical writing, and a modest flare of artistic persuasion, Jason provides powerful techniques and tools to transpose “you” on paper in a professional manner.

Jason’s approach to resume writing is based on 17 years experience working with government agencies, consulting, non-profit organizations and educational groups. This diversity of experience has taught him one universal truth – the objective of any written document is to present a clear message and lead the reader to an informed conclusion. Jason empowers students to go beyond the online robotic resume templates to clearly and confidently demonstrate the “why you are worthy” message and receive the prospective interview, grant, funding, or project.

Frequently Asked Questions

NRTG offers this course online approximately every two to three months in an online format year-round. Please refer to our Schedule page for course timing. 

Technical Writing for Professionals: Resumes and Cover Letters is a half-day course comprised of lectures interspersed with exercises and examples.

Students are requested, if possible, to have a resume and cover letter they are working on with them in order to apply the lessons directly to their own work. Apart from this, students will want a form of taking notes, whether they prefer pen-and-paper or computer is up to each individual.

Technical Writing for Professionals: Resumes and Cover Letters is one in a series of specific and focussed courses (the two others being (i) proposals and (ii) report writing) designed to assist students to write more effectively within a single application of technical writing. In contrast, the broader Technical Writing for Professionals is intended to assist students improve their writing across a wide range of applications. It is, therefore, high level, and focussed on tools that are generalized across all technical writing.

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