Writing is a core skill. Whatever job you have or career path you are on, there will be tasks that require you to write, be it a letter, a proposal, or a presentation.
An effective communication skill is an asset to your professional growth because it can reflect you how effective you are as an employee in getting your message across to bosses, colleagues, clients, suppliers, and other company stakeholders. A clear, concise, and well-written proposal will give people a good impression of you and how valuable you are as part of the team. On the other hand, a poorly-written work may stain your professional image.
Consequently, there is a need to brush up on your communication skills if you want to be a reliable employee or more importantly, if you are eyeing career growth. Below are seven ways you can enhance your writing skills and improve your career:
1. Be clear.
Begin by assessing what you want to say. Knowing the core message you want to get across makes communicating it simpler. Think of the important details first such as the who, what, when, where, why and how of your message. Structuring the message with the details first already gives you an outline of how you are going to communicate your message. Remember that clarity is key.
2. Make it short and simple.
No one likes to read verbose and lengthy drafts, especially in a busy working environment. Keep your messages as concise as possible. Make sure you avoid too many unnecessary words such as that, just, really, perhaps and quite among others. Better to go straight to the point and be succinct. Be sure that your short and simple messages contain complete and coherent thoughts.
3. Use headers and subheaders.
Help yours reader go through the content smoothly with the use of headings and subheadings. These sign posts allow the readers to see the framework of the content, enabling them to easily navigate around the page or screen. It also keeps the content organized by giving it an outline, and breaks up the copy to make it easy on the reader’s eyes. Make sure that the headings and subheadings you will be using are relevant to the content, and have parallel structure for consistency.
4. Proofread and edit.
The writing process does not end with your last sentence. Part of the process is editing and proofreading. Go over your draft more than once, and read it again to check if readers can easily read and understand what you wrote. Remember, clarity of message should not be compromised because of text length. Your next step would be checking for grammatical and typographical errors. Another pair of eyes looking at your work would also serve you well so they can point out any mistakes you might have overlooked.
5. Utilize available resources.
Writing is a skill that can easily be trained and developed, you just need to look at available resources that can aid you in sharpening your writing skills. You can easily find a number of communication tools online. Most of them are free and easily accessible, so there is no excuse for you not to brush up on your written communication skills. Listed below are five online tools that can help you:
The Hemingway App
This is the perfect app to use if you want a clearer and bolder writing style. Hemingway App uses color codes to show you areas of improvement in your text. It also measures the readability grade level, which indicates the lowest education needed to understand what you have written.
Grammarly is an online proofreading tool that points out misspelled words, grammatical errors, and overused words. It also suggests synonyms that can replace your selected word to optimize clarity and meaning. Grammarly can be downloaded as a Google Chrome extension so you can improve your writing wherever you are online.
An effective writing skill needs an expanded vocabulary to provide you the perfect word to use. Thesaurus.com gives you that and more with its listing of over 550,000 synonyms and editorial content that can help you with your writing process.
Writing cold e-mails are made easier by MailMentor. The app helps you create short but compelling messages by giving you data on reading time and reading grade level. It also aims to simplify the text by recommending areas for structural improvement.
Well-written resumes and curriculum vitae are a must in snagging a good work opportunity. Resumes Planet offers the job seekers the opportunity to have a stand out resume and have a professional online presence that will draw the attention of HR. More than that, they have seasoned editors that can help refine your work, and tailor it to highlight your best skills and accomplishments, so you can make the impression you want to have.
6. Discard fancy lexicon.
Use the language which allows you to communicate with your audience better. Write in plain English so you will get your point across without confusing your reader. Do away with highfalutin words, jargons, and idioms. Keep in mind that you are composing prose rather than fiction. Break down complex information into shorter sentences with simpler and straightforward words. The easier your reader understands your message, the better. Your boss and clients would find your skill of simplifying complicated ideas valuable.
7. Show confidence in your writing.
Effective communication skills bank on strong and confident messaging. A simple tip to keep in mind is to construct sentences in the active voice rather than passive. You can also use a single word instead of using several words if that one word would suffice to express your idea. It is a matter of finding the perfect word that captures your message and getting the thought across strongly.
Working on your communication skills will work wonders for your personal and professional relationships. A well-written work can make everyone’s day easier. It reflects how clear your thought process is, how well you know the subject of your writing, and how confident you are in delivering the message. With all these considerations, it gives you an edge to advance your career. If you can be serious and effective with the simple task of writing, then potential clients and employers should have no qualms in entrusting you with bigger responsibilities.
Paige Donahue is a blogger and editor who understands the difficulty and the value of creating good content for the audience. With a natural thirst for knowledge, she explores various ways on how to improve her craft and shares her stories with others. You can connect with her via Twitter.