Unless a specific type of writing skill, such as experience with social media copy or familiarity with a certain style guide, is listed in a job description or is clearly a big value add for a specific role, your writing skills don’t usually belong in your skills section—or at least, that’s not where recruiters and hiring managers will look for them. Instead, they’ll look at the way your resume is written to see these skills in action. Here are some guidelines to follow:
Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills
Quick summary ↬ We collected over 50 useful and practical tools and resources that will help you to improve your writing skills. You will find copywriting blogs, dictionaries, references, teaching classes, articles, tools as well as related articles from other blogs.
Effective writing skills are to a writer what petrol is to a car. Like the petrol and car relationship, without solid skills writers cannot move ahead. These skills don’t come overnight, and they require patience and determination. You have to work smart and hard to acquire them. Only with experience, you can enter the realm of effective, always-in-demand writers.
Of course, effective writing requires a good command of the language in which you write or want to write. Once you have that command, you need to learn some tips and tricks so that you can have an edge over others in this hard-to-succeed world of writers. There are some gifted writers, granted. But gifted writers also need to polish their skills frequently in order to stay ahead of competition and earn their livelihood.
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Before you write a single word, you need to do your research about the topic you’re writing on. Gathering information that’s up-to-date and accurate is a key part of writing, and the process may help you figure out what content to include. Depending on what you’re writing, research may involve learning about your target customer—whether it’s an overall target market or individual company—evaluating sources for strength and credibility, talking to experts, reviewing and analyzing data, or talking to other members of your team.
An outline is a pared-down sketch of what points or topics the document you’re working on will cover and how you plan to structure the information, which can give you a roadmap to follow as you write. Creating and following an outline ensures you’re incorporating all the important information in the right order and not being repetitive or straying too far from your point. It’s often easier to get outside input on an outline than to write an entire report or similar only to find out key information was missing. Outlining skills can also be used to map out a non-writing project ahead of time or plan a process, which can be especially helpful if you’re delegating to or collaborating with others.
Grammar and Clarity
Grammar is the set of rules governing language usage. It’s what guides everyone to communicate in a similar way and, as a result, understand each other more. There are many rules of English grammar, and you should definitely know the basic ones. But unless you’re a writer or editor, knowing the obscure little quirks of grammar usually isn’t necessary. What is necessary is knowing how to construct a clear, easy-to-read, and understandable sentence so you can communicate in writing.
Editing is the process of correcting and changing a piece of your own or someone else’s writing to strengthen it. You can revise or edit by making significant changes to the structure, organization, or content of a piece. Or you might proofread a piece of writing, checking for any misspellings, grammar mistakes, or typos. In other cases, you might be tweaking sentences or paragraphs to flow better or reflect a certain tone. Strong editing skills can be useful in a wide range of professional situations—from looking over a report or presentation for a teammate to spotting an error in an email you’re about to send the entire company.
Writing Skills: Significance Of Writing Skills
There was a time when people used to think that only journalists and digital marketers must have excellent writing skills. But now, thanks to the growing importance of communication, you require effective writing skills in almost every industry and for every job.
Don’t you agree? Think of the reports, sales proposals, marketing copies, user manuals presentations you have to draft regularly as a part of your work responsibilities. And, of course, how can we forget the very first step to applying for a job: a resume or CV.
There’s no doubt that how well you have written your CV decides your future for that job role. A precise, neat, and engaging resume that highlights the milestones of your career, capabilities, and achievements grabs the attention of the recruiter within seconds.
Once you start work, every day at the office starts with writing as we are required to send emails to peers, managers, and clients. And that’s when your writing skills come in handy. So, let’s understand the basics of writing skills.
Importance of developing writing skills
Good writing skills are essential for success in the workplace. Whether it’s emails, project reports, or sales proposals, content full of typos, grammatical errors, and poorly constructed sentences suggests a similar attitude towards work.
Five important writing skills you should have
- Strong grammar skills: It happens to most of us. You have a great idea that popped up in your mind. But just because of a poor grasp of spelling or grammar skills, you may fail to express your ideas and convey the message convincingly and correctly. Try to use auto spell-checkers to aid with correct grammar and spelling usage.
- Research: While writing reports or creating marketing copy or proposals, you may come across a topic you don’t know much about. Your ability to research, find suitable information, and pick up only relevant information quickly plays a crucial role in creating effective reports and other written business communication.
- Technical writing skills: If your job entails working on instructional and supportive documents for technology-related tasks, having dependable technical writing skills becomes essential. These skills are necessary to convey complex technical information in a user-friendly manner.
- Think of user manuals as an example. If your work involves getting feedback or creating FAQs, charts, and training documents, then you must focus on learning technical writing skills. Along with strong communication skills, your writing skills, and command over vocabulary and grammar should be exceptional.
- Collaboration and communication: Writing is an art. And art often seeks collaboration to explore ideas, express your thoughts, and convey a message through writing. Thus, whether it’s creative writing or business writing, you must be able to work effectively in a team.
- Assessment skills and active listening can lead you toward building a positive rapport with your customers and colleagues.
- Word Processing Software: Most employers nowadays require using certain word processing programs, collaboration apps, and file-sharing services. Find out the popular apps and software and try to get a hold of their working and features.
- The more you know how to use these platforms, the more convenience you can bring to your daily tasks at the office.
Important steps for writing
One cannot create a presentable copy just by developing creative writing skills and fine vocabulary. Here are some common and important writing steps that will ensure you create effective content every time.
- Research: Whether you are writing a project report, sales proposal, or creating marketing copy, research as much as possible. Think from your reader’s perspective and note all relevant information, ideas, and thoughts.
- Organizing content: The next step is organizing your ideas and relevant information in the proper sequence. Or in other words, create a draft or outline you further want to elaborate on. Outlining helps you in writing a long piece of content by fixing the proper flow and breaking information into paragraphs to make it more meaningful and effective.
- Writing: Now is the actual time of writing. Always use direct language and choose words suitable to the objective of your document. The division of paragraphs, headings or subtitles, and relevant statistics can make it easier for readers to understand.
- Editing and proofreading: Once you have finished writing a report or drafting an email, it’s time to edit, format, and proofread for spelling, grammar, and sentence and paragraph structure. Remember, your readers may take simple grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes as signs of negligence towards your work.
How to improve writing skills
- Make use of wide vocabulary: While you are practicing your writing skills, you will find yourself repeating some words. You are not alone. Almost every writer has their own favorite words, which they like to use often. However, using fillers and repeating words throughout the document will annoy your readers. Instead, make use of varied vocabulary, synonyms, and antonyms to make the content fresh, effective, and readable.
- Write for your audience: This applies to everyone whose job role requires business writing skills. Whether you are writing a blog or drafting an email to your client, having a strong understanding of the intellectual and reading levels of your target audience will help you tailor your text accordingly.
- Creativity: People are always bombarded with more information online and offline every day. This often makes your readers fickle, especially when they are forced to read 10-page long reports or manuals. Thus, it’s your chance to show your creativity and present the same information in fewer words without affecting the credibility and meaning of the content.
- Edit and proofread: The first draft is never perfect. Whether you are just starting or have years of experience, every writer needs to edit and proofread their content. Try to write down your ideas and relevant information in the first attempt. Go with your natural creative flow. Don’t pause to edit and correct your mistakes as you can do it later on.