Of all the skills you will acquire throughout your life, few are as versatile or transferable as writing. Strong writing skills give you an edge in almost any career. They also improve your communication skills and can help you market yourself in business and life. If you’re already a writer, you still have room for improvement. If you’re not a writer, it’s time to get started. Here are reasons why (and how) to improve your business writing skills.
Why To Improve Your Writing Skills
Before I get into the ways you can improve your business writing skills, it’s first important to understand why you would want to invest the time into your writing. Here are a handful of reasons why improving your writing skills will improve your life.
1. You’ll Have More Credibility
Have you ever read a poorly written article and immediately thought less of the person who wrote it? Your writing can have the same effect. Writing that is riddled with errors, typos, or incomplete thoughts makes the reader assume that the author didn’t put a lot of time into the piece. The reader might go so far as to think you’re stupid for having too many mistakes. You might think that since you’re not a professional writer, this doesn’t apply to you. Think again. Every email you send can have the same effect. Every time you write a Facebook post or send a card in the mail, you could cause people to question your credibility. This alone should be reason enough to improve your writing skills.
2. You’ll Be Able to Market Yourself
When you hear “market yourself,” you might think of the job search process. While this is certainly a time to market yourself, you also market yourself every time you write an email, send a letter, or provide a report for work. Your written work is a reflection of you as a person. Are you intelligent? Confident? Weak? Interesting? It’ll all come across in your writing. You are constantly marketing yourself – to future employers, potential friends, maybe even a future spouse. Make sure your writing is an accurate reflection of who you are.
3. You’ll be More Persuasive
There are many reasons why you might want to be able to write persuasively. If you ever want to write a letter asking for sponsorship, and interview, a networking opportunity, or a scholarship, you’ll want to sound convincing. If you are writing to a customer or colleague to ask them to purchase a new item or help you with a project, persuasiveness is helpful. Persuasive writing is a HUGE asset in life and in work. And you’ll only learn to write persuasively if you take steps to improve your writing in general.
4. You’ll Get More Interview Opportunities
Are you seeking a new job? Do you want to move up within your company? Odds are, either of these steps will require an application and a cover letter. Think of your cover letter as the biggest factor in determining whether or not you get an interview. Even if your experience isn’t a perfect match for the job, a great cover letter could convince the manager to give you a chance. Excellent writing skills can drastically improve your chances of landing an interview.
How To Improve Your Writing Skills
Write In Active Voice
As often as possible, write in active voice. Instead of saying “The dog was jumped over by the cat,” say, “The cat jumped over the dog.” In active voice, the subject is whatever is doing the action. Writing sounds strongest when it is written in active (instead of passive) voice.
Start With An Outline
Creating an outline is a great way to learn, at the beginning of a project, whether or not you have the information and examples to back up your argument. When you start with an outline, you’ll be able to find out if one section has too much content while another has too little. You’ll also learn if you have repeated yourself at all.
Use Your Skills Frequently
Ideally, you should write every day. You might write in a journal, emails, blog content, or essays, but just make an effort to put words on paper on a daily basis. Here are some tools that can make that process a little easier.
750Words: Sometimes the hardest part of improving your writing is the act of actually writing every day. 750 Words encourages you to write whatever you want as long as you reach the required 750 words each day. The site gamifies the process, giving little rewards along the way, so you’ll actually want to practice your writing!
Ninja Essays writing service: Writing every day isn’t very effective if you keep making the same mistakes over and over. Essay Mama can edit your work, so you’ll learn each time you write. The website can also offer proofreading and formatting services. They are especially helpful if you need to write academic papers while you’re still in the process of improving your writing.
Dark Room: This full screen, distraction-free writing tool blocks out everything else on your screen, thus making it easier to focus exclusively on your writing.
Leave Time For Edits
Never, never, never consider a written work finished until you have completed at least one revision. The first draft is not going to be perfect. There are better ways to phrase your ideas, better examples to use, and other areas ready for improvement. Be sure to always include time for revisions and edits in your work.
Keep It Simple
As you’re practicing your writing, remember the adage that less is more. If you can make your point in 300 words, don’t use 700. Be sure to have a clear idea of the message you’d like to convey, and then express is with simple language and short, readable sentences. A great tool to help with this is Hemingway Editor, which will identify any sentences that are difficult to read so you can edit them.
Your writing skills are extremely important. They can give you an advantage at work, at home, and in your daily social encounters. Even though improving your writing skills will take some time, the end result will be more than worth it! So, go! Get started! Write!
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