Make us your home page
Instagram
Jobs | Skill sets

Writing skills more important than ever in job search

What is the value of good writing skills today? I recently posed this question to a number of executives, consultants and business leaders from various disciplines. All of them said that writing is even more important than in previous years. Professionals spend more time each day writing and are inundated with e-mails, reports and memos, so it is imperative that employees write succinctly and well. Writing skills can differentiate job candidates from one another. Many hiring managers figure that if a person demonstrates poor writing skills when highly motivated to apply for a job, those skills probably won't be any better once on the job. Here are some things to consider when you sit down to write:

• Think about your audience (business colleagues, friends, etc.) and the appropriate format (e-mail vs. report vs. letter).

• Make it reader-friendly with section headings, paragraph subheadings, graphs, charts and bullet points.

• Proofread your work or get someone else to review it for accuracy, clarity, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

• Be clear. Don't rely on technical jargon or acronyms.

• Be concise. It is often important that you be able to write a one-page executive report as well as other short reports.

• Be professional, especially in e-mails. Anything you send can be copied or forwarded to others. Employers often comment that a person's written message reflects his/her personal image and degree of professionalism.

• Be comfortable with revisions. Don't expect that your first draft will be the final product. Great writers often spend many hours revising and improving their work.

• Practice and get feedback on your writing.

• Take classes to improve. An Internet search quickly reveals numerous in-person and online options to improve technical writing and creative writing.

• Read your writing aloud to uncover mistakes.

• Cite references where appropriate. Make sure you do not plagiarize by taking others' work without crediting it.

Joyce E.A. Russell is the director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. She is a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist and has more than 25 years of experience coaching executives and consulting on leadership and career management.

Writing skills more important than ever in job search 06/20/11 [Last modified: Monday, June 20, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown's transformation

    Business

    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  2. Florida ranks high for workplace equality between men and women

    Working Life

    When it comes to the workplace, Florida ranks fifth in terms of gender equality, a WalletHub study released Tuesday found.

    Florida ranks high in terms of equality between men and women in the workplace. Pictured is Sandra Murman, county commissioner in 2015, talking about the differences in pay between men and women. | [Times file photo]
  3. Treasury secretary's wife boasts of travel on government plane, touts high fashion

    National

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, boasted of flying on a government plane with her husband to Kentucky on Monday and then named the numerous fashion brands she wore on the trip in an unusual social media post that only became more bizarre minutes later.

    Steven Mnuchin and his then- financee Louise Linton watch as President Donald Trump speaks during Mnuchin's swearing-in ceremony as  treasury secretary in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 13. [Mandel Ngan | AFP via Getty Images]
  4. Ford, Chinese partner look at possible electric car venture

    Autos

    BEIJING — Ford Motor Co. and a Chinese automaker said Tuesday they are looking into setting up a joint venture to develop and manufacture electric cars in China.

    In this April 23, 2016 photo, attendees take smartphone photos at a promotional event for Ford Motor Company ahead of the Auto China car show in Beijing. Ford Motor Co. announced an agreement Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 with a Chinese partner to look into forming a joint venture to develop and manufacture electric cars in China. [AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein]
  5. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]