“Chris, your speech is not a thesis paper.” Staring at what I had prepared for my speech, my thoughts responded, “But the outline pattern is the same as a thesis. I’m so confused.” It took several iterations with hours of practice, making mistakes, noticing my mistakes later and being willing to pressure myself to do better next time. What is the purpose of what we are writing?


If our desire follows what Brian Clark blogged about in his article “Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques,” when he questions whether we desire to convince our readers to do or agree with our point of view, then it is important to consider the framework of ethos, pathos and logos. When we are creating our resumes, aren’t we trying to persuade our audience why they should consider us as candidates?

In April 2012, Jessica McKee and Megan McIntyre with Writing Commons released an article titled ‘Ethos‘:

“Ethos is a method of persuasion in which the speaker or writer (the “rhetor”) attempts to persuade the audience by demonstrating his own credibility or authority. I think the best way to understand this kind of appeal to the credibility of the author is to look at the three most common ways a rhetor attempts to demonstrate authority on a topic.”

The intrigue expert, Sam Horn, lectures that we have less than 60 seconds to capture the attention of the audience. We should consider this for those that will be reading our resume. Is it an example that shows we know what credibility is? Have we put thought and effort into the paragraphs that lead into our bullet pointed skills? The first paragraph of our resumes should offer enough information in a brief sentence that conveys we have credibility. I believe that we can use ethos as the lead-in to pathos.

Yourdictionary.com shares several examples that we can work with and defines pathos as, “a way of convincing an audience of an argument by creating an emotional response to an impassioned plea or convincing story.” When you are writing your resume, does it strike a chord of passion that would inspire them to call you as a candidate?

My sentiment is that, if we put ourselves in our audiences’ shoes and look at our resume, we should write them in a way that tells a story of why you are the best candidate. If your resume reads like dry toast, there is a high chance that it will be tossed to the side with, “yeah, yeah… next.” Also, do remember that logos (logic) is crucial to show your audience how credible you are. What is logos?

Logos is defined by yourdictionary.com as, “a way of persuading an audience with reason, using facts and figures.” Again, facts and figures. This is where the importance of credible sourcing is paramount to understand. Sam Horn lectures about the importance of providing statistical percentages that increases the intrigue of the audience. At the same time, remember to avoid using jargon. Jargon is boring and a lot of people who do not have the same experience will be disinterested because they may not understand what it means.

Gerald Groff and Cathy Birkenstein’s book, “They Say / I Say,” gave me insight into the formula pattern of what is expected with credible writing. It was my Public Speech professor that helped me realize that our orations and writing does not have to be, and should not be like dry toast. It took, and still involves writing constantly to practice the art of writing so my resumes and workplace communication reflects that I’m continually learning how ethos, pathos, and logos applies beyond my education in scholastic writing.