There’s no getting around it: To get anywhere in the job market today, you have to be an effective writer. I’m Cat Miller, and this is DiceTV.
Cat: Your resume, cover letter, thank-yous, follow ups, presentations, even your daily e-mail are judged on how skillfully you arrange and rearrange the 26 letters of the alphabet into persuasive, lively extensions of your personality.
Like any other skill, writing well takes practice. So here are some things to think about.
There’s a nifty trick the Vipassana Buddhists have in teaching awareness. They simply ask you to notice that you’re seeing. And what do you know – it works.
Do the same thing when reading. Seek out good literature. Pick up a well written business book. Be aware of how authors use words to make strong points. Watch for effective techniques from good authors, and then adapt them for yourself.
Obviously, you can’t write three finely edited drafts of each e-mail you send. If you tried, you’d never get anything else done.
But when you can, start early on written work, and make changes to your memos and presentations based on what you’ve learned by reading the work of others.
Besides improving your writing, this will help you catch the kind of simple mistakes that can drive some managers crazy. For example, you don’t want to write “loose,” when you meant “lose.” Spell check will miss that kind of thing. And it’ll get you tagged as a loser. As opposed to a looser.
Smashing Magazine has a nice little list of fifty writing helpers. Check it out and find what works for you. Then keep practicing to refine your communications even more.
I’m Cat Miller, this has been DiceTV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.