Is Writing For Everyone?

Karyn Williams, Staff Writer

To write is to communicate.  English is simply the means by which we communicate.  It is necessary to be skilled in both in order to have good writing skills. But is having good writing skills really that important outside of college?  Absolutely.  Though there are many fields that don’t explicitly require writing skills, employers highly value an employee’s ability to write in many different aspects.  Allison Doyle author of the article “Important Writing and Editing skills that Employers Value” provides a comprehensive list (which you should absolutely browse when you get a chance and is linked at the end of this article) of the many writing skills employers value whether you have an English degree or not.  Below I have described for you some of the skills she highlights in her article as being some of the most important that employers look for in employees.

Strong grammar skills: basic grammar skills are a vital part of any piece of writing you create.  From proofreading, to tone, to spelling, to revising, you will be expected to know it all. It is also the simplest part of writing.  Messy or poor grammar hurts your credibility as an intelligent and competent worker.   If you aren’t willing to put in the minimal effort to ensure that your grammar is correct, employers won’t be willing to trust that you are willing to put in the minimal effort to do the rest of your job.

Research skills: Whatever career field you go into, you will have to do research.  From analyzing and reporting data, to knowing how to use databases and search engines, these practical skills are included as writing skills because they are an essential part of the writing process.  Whether you have encountered an unfamiliar situation or need to find more information to complete an assigned task, you will have to do research. Employers will expect you to be able to accurately and succinctly provide information without bogging down your writing with technical terms.  If your academic abilities are science-based then you may be required to know those technical terms and use them proficiently.  Having a good idea of what employers will expect you to do in your career field is a good first step to preparing yourself for it.

Word processing software: these skills highlight your ability to use writing software such as MS word, Google documents, WordPress, etc.  This can include knowing how to print, how to edit document layouts, how to insert images, and the like on many different types of writing software.  You may have used Google documents since high-school but once you enter a firm they have every legal right to require that you only use a specific kind of software while you are on-the-clock.  Having an understanding of different software – or at least the flexibility to adapt to them – will help you complete tasks faster and more efficiently.

Collaboration and Communication:  As mentioned earlier, writing is simply a means of communication, so having good writing skills can also mean that you have good communication skills.  Are you able to give clear answers to emails? Can you take notes effectively? Do you know how to use tone and language to persuade, encourage, and motivate both team members and outside organizations?  Plus, communication is one of those fields that is valued both in the workplace and out.  Nobody wants to spend time with someone who can only be relied on to communicate when they are in their office.

Technical writing skills:  Technical writing skills combines several of the general skills above (such as analysis, research, grammar, and software skills) and adds a level of detail.  This is basically your ability to take your writing skills and apply them to different industries.  This may require in-depth knowledge and an attention to detail that is not focused on in the above categories.  How flexible of a writer are you?  Do you know how to take your current skills and apply them to different fields?  Because your employer might expect you to.

There are many others that weren’t mentioned here for the sake of length.  The most important takeaway is that there will never be a time in your life when writing skills aren’t important.  Right now is the time to start preparing yourself for the future.  Don’t wait until you’re looking for a job to decide what skills to invest in.  College is the place to learn and make mistakes with few repercussions so that in the real world, you won’t make the same mistakes with many repercussions.  Everyone needs to know how to write to some degree.  When are you going to start?

(Important Writing and Editing Skill that Employers Value: