Characterizing Disciplinarity and Conventions in Engineering Resume Profiles

Catherine Berdanier, Mary McCall, Gracemarie Fillenwarth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Resume preparation is a common activity within technical writing classes, but the advent and increased use of resume profile and job-hunting sites, such as, require instructors and researchers to re-think common practices in the teaching of resume writing, particularly for writing instructors with limited disciplinary experience. Prior research for conventional resumes has quantified the disciplinarity of resumes as a function of resume quality using metrics of disciplinary discourse density, which may be useful in analyzing online resumes profiles. Research questions: 1. How do online engineering resume profiles demonstrate disciplinarity? 2. What formatting and stylistic conventions are observed within engineering resume profiles? 3. How do rhetorical disciplinarity and conventions vary with resume profile quality? Literature review: Although past efforts have examined the resume as a critical genre for entering a professional setting, few researchers have sought to interpret the relationships between discursive and stylistic expectations and quality in online resume profiles, while also accounting for aspects of disciplinarity. Methodology: This study compares engineering (all disciplines) resume profiles from with a corpus of conventional engineering resumes through qualitative genre analysis and quantitative methods for calculating disciplinary discourse density. We also characterize stylistic and rhetorical conventions for resume profiles, and statistically compare these facets as a function of resume quality. Results and conclusion: Results determined that discursive strategies were significantly different between strong, moderate, and weak engineering resume profiles. Qualitative analysis captured differences in style and form that were also statistically linked with quality. Based on our results, we call for further investigation into resume profiles and reconsideration of current pedagogical approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-406
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Industrial relations
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language


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