Genre Structure and Writer Identity in EFL Students’ Application Letters



Application letter, EFL, identity, moves, rhetorical analysis


Writing for academic and professional purposes has been increasingly challenging for applicants as it requires a certain degree of proficiency to promote themselves as potential workers in the desired position. Considering the significance of English as the global lingua franca, there is an increasing need to ensure that formal writings, in different fields and contexts, adhere to the generic and linguistic standards necessary for effective written communication. This study presents an examination of genre features and rhetorical strategies of job application letters written by Tunisian Business students. More specifically, it intends to investigate how far novice non-native English candidates are able to successfully use the genre components and persuasive strategies of the target language. A corpus of 30 undergraduate job application letters was subject to move analysis, using top-down approach, basing on Khan and Tin’s (2012) model as an analytical framework. The results indicated that the participants showed different types of rhetorical patterns preferences used in various sequences and frequencies to articulate the same communicative purpose of the genre. The analysis revealed also that Addressing, Establishing credentials and Ending politely proved to be the most preponderant moves in the corpus.  Yet, although the majority of applicants have commonly attempted to use an appropriate schematic structure in writing their job application letters, most of them failed to prove any creativity in elaborating their unique characteristics and achievements.  The paper concludes with the possible linguistic and pedagogical implications of the study.



How to Cite

Haji, G. (2023). Genre Structure and Writer Identity in EFL Students’ Application Letters. Studies in Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis, 4(2), 15–31.