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Writing Skills Are Essential for Every Professional,
Not Just Writers
Writing is an ability that is needed throughout all areas of life, including the workplace. And yet, the concept of communicating through the written letter is often left by the wayside, underdeveloped and underappreciated. Often the thought of writing well is either too intimidating to be properly addressed, or overlooked as a menial skill that has no measurable bearing on daily life.
However, the truth is that writing is one of the most important skills we can possess and is well worth the effort to take time to develop.
The Diversity of Writing
It doesn’t take much scrutiny to realize that not all writing is the same. Every time you put pen to paper or type out a sentence, it doesn’t need to be with the intent to create a novel worthy of the New York Times Best Seller list.
On the contrary, there are numerous writing skills you can leverage in the real world — many of which are simple and unimposing.
In fact, good writing is actually quite a bit easier to pull off than you might think. Whether you’re writing a resume for a job, a thesis in college, or a quick note to your manager letting her know that you need to leave early for an appointment, the important thing is to state your intentions clearly and concisely.
Why Writing Is Important
The quality of your writing is a critical component that can make or break an employer’s opinion of you, both in the hiring process and throughout your time at a company. In fact, the ability to write well is often worked right into a job posting. Take, for example, a description of an e-commerce manager position. It will include required skills like website design, hiring and training, project development, and communication, all of which require competent writing skills.
Similar writing requirements arise for positions like:
- Web developers
- Public relations specialists
The list goes on... The point is, the ability to communicate through writing is an essential element of many different jobs and careers, even if they don’t include “writer” in the title.
Writing on the Job
Writing in a career environment (also known as business writing or professional writing) is straightforward, concise, and pragmatic. It takes into consideration things like the recipient of the message and the core information that is required to communicate a message.
A quality piece of business writing should be direct and contain relevant information. It should be both clear and grammatically pristine. One useful option to help keep your writing short and pertinent is Hemingway Editor. This free online tool strips away unnecessary information and highlights sentences that can be shortened or restructured.
While there are numerous forms of business writing, here are a few specific examples of different kinds of writing situations that you might face in the business world:
One of the most important ways that an employee will use their writing skills on the job is through communication. While this was once straightforward, it now can involve a variety of options, including:
- Social media platforms
Another application of business writing that’s easy to overlook is its use in business plans. Encapsulating an enterprise’s goals, plans, and projections can be challenging in the first place.
Writing a business plan in a way that is both clear and compelling for internal personnel as well as stakeholders and potential investors is even more difficult.
Creating interesting, readable online content is a huge part of most companies’ online marketing strategy, and one of the best ways to do this quickly is with a blog — a vital consideration for entrepreneurs.
A company blog allows you to establish yourself as a source of authority and information and can boost your SEO as well. And, of course, decent writing skills are required if you’re going to attract and retain a readership.
Finally, there are also a lot of personal benefits to your career that can come from including writing in your job. It can help you organize your ideas and remember information. It can also help you process things and gain perspective.
Writing to Get a Job
Of course, writing is also a key element in getting a job in the first place. In our increasingly text-driven world — where we often don’t get face to face with a hiring manager until several steps into the hiring process — the ability to write well can be critical. This doesn’t just include filling out application forms, either.
In fact, there are many other ways that you can use writing to land a new job.
Social Media Profiles
Social media may seem like a part of personal life, but any savvy jobseeker knows that it can also be an important part of the job hunt. For example, hiring managers often investigate an applicant’s social media profile history in the vetting process in order to get a sample of their behavior and personality. Naturally, then, demonstrating well-written, respectful behavior on your social media profiles can be very important. Further, taking the time to do a 'spring clean' on your profiles — assessing and removing questionable content — is wise.
In addition, using tools like LinkedIn can be extremely helpful in networking and showcasing your skill set. And, of course, setting up a quality LinkedIn profile requires the ability to write well. It’s crucial that you take the time to craft concise, appropriate text for your headlines, summaries, background, job history, and skills on your career-oriented social media profiles.
Resumes and Cover Letters
The bulk of effort involved in your job search often boils down to your resume and cover letter. While filling out an application form well can be helpful, it’s often these documents that can make all the difference. A well-crafted resume should call out important facts, use statistics and numbers when possible, and incorporate details about the job posting. It should avoid things like excessive or irrelevant information, unprofessional fonts, and passive language.
A good cover letter, while in a sense easier, can be even more challenging. It’s important that you avoid simply regurgitating your resume in a different order or stating obvious facts. Focus on your interest in the position and the company itself. Display your enthusiasm for the work involved, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
Writing: A Life Skill for All
It doesn’t matter if you’re managing a warehouse, babysitting dogs, or building spaceships, the ability to write clear, concise, and relevant text is an ace in the hole for any professional.
It can help impress hiring personnel as well as maintain your reputation within a company once you’ve started working. The important thing is to appreciate the impact that writing can have on any career, then take the time to develop your writing skills for the long term.
About the Author
Magnolia Potter is from the Pacific Northwest and writes from time to time. She prefers to cover a variety of topics and not just settle on one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her outdoors or curled up with a good book. Chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.