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What Are Writing Skills?
Writing skills are what make it possible for you to communicate a message with clarity and organization in a text format.
While it’s common to think that writing is a single skill, it can be broken down into component skills that make a good writer such as grammar, structure, messaging, tone and voice, word choice, research and reader engagement.
The importance of writing skills
We live in a text-heavy world and many businesses rely on the written word to communicate with their clients, customers, employees and business partners.
The style of writing that is most valued varies depending on the specific nature of the business you’re interested in working for. Different roles tend to require different kinds of writing skills.
For example, roles in editing require a focus on grammar, spelling and style, while roles in journalism require skills in research and accountability. Technical writing, on the other hand, requires the ability to explain complex processes in a simple way, and roles in marketing require attention-grabbing and persuasive language.
That said, employers often want to see your writing skills in action before they’ll hire you for a job.
For instance, while programmers might have to perform a coding test to get hired, the strength of many creative professionals such as writers, artists, filmmakers and others, is proven through their portfolio. A portfolio features a selection of work you’ve produced that shows employers you can handle the needs of the role.
You should include a portfolio with your resume and cover letter if you’re applying for a writing-centric job!
Namely, for roles in academia, advertising, copywriting, content creation, digital media, editing, email campaign management, journalism, marketing, screenwriting and public relations –– it’s in your best interest to include a portfolio!
However, if you know that the job might involve writing, but isn’t writing-focused, it is not necessary to include a portfolio. An administrative assistant position or a teaching position that mentions writing emails in the job description is a good example of roles that do not require one.
Top Writing Skills
It’s important that you get your facts straight and consider all the angles before you write –– especially if it’s for academia, journalism, presentations or official company announcements. Good writers ensure the information they use is well-sourced and accurate. Being a valuable writing asset means reading closely, verifying your sources, having subject awareness and strong attention to detail!
Many companies rely on writers to create content that can persuade an audience by appealing to consumers or convincing investors. In these cases, your ability to craft a sales pitch that resonates and creates interest can be a powerful tool! Persuasiveness strategies like storytelling and emotional appeal are great to give your writing the power to influence.
Assuming brand voice
Many businesses need writers who can step into a role and create advertisements, content and promotions that are in line with the brand identity and tone. It takes strong attention to detail and creativity to say fresh things in someone else’s familiar voice.
If composing a message with the right tone and sensitivity is your strong suit, it could pay to mention it to employers. Word choice can make a world of difference in fields like branding, community outreach, marketing, public relations, social justice and journalism.
Editing is the most important step to ensure your writing is polished and professional. Moreso, good editing skills help your writing flow and convey all the essential information with conciseness. Editing skills are valuable because high-quality content is produced when you adhere to best practice standards, usage and writing techniques.
At the core of every good writer is an avid reader who doesn’t miss a word and completely understands the underlying message. Reading comprehension is especially valuable for jobs that require you to explain large or complex topics in a simple way to readers, such as technical writing or journalism. The more you understand what you read, the easier you can explain it to others!
Writing is often compared to a journey because your goal is to get from the first sentence to the end. While every writer may have a different writing process, it should focus on effective time management. Time management shows that beyond the artistry of your craft, you have an understanding of business needs and the productivity to make it happen.
Even if you’re the best wordsmith around, you must produce high-caliber work by deadline! You’ll be far more likely to get the job if you convince the employer that not only do you produce good work, but you do it on time
Storytelling is a popular method to capture and hold the attention of a reader by creating interest. Once a reader is caught up in a good story, they are far more likely to keep reading until the end! This can be a powerful tool in the world of marketing and advertising.
Organizing the information you need to relay in a bite-size and digestible way makes communication more effective. Well-organized writing will greatly increase the strength and impact of your message on your audience.
Outlining refers to your ability to plan and structure your message before you go through the process of writing it. Outlining skills can be useful because having a guide allows you to make adjustments as needed before time and resources are invested into producing a polished written product.