February 22, 2018
High school and college are amazing times if you don’t consider the massive amount of writing assignments that you have to do. Often, it’s easier to skip them in search of a more rewarding activity. But how does your approach to writing relate to the job market?
A few centuries ago, practical skills were the name of the game. In our days, without good communication abilities, it’s less likely that you’ll land the job of your dreams. Technology has advanced, globalization is on the rise and networking is becoming more and more important in a swiftly-changing world. In this context, being able to find your words both in conversation and on paper is a useful skill that can be generalized to a variety of situations. If the hallmark of intelligence is adaptation, then communicating effectively is one of the main strategies for adapting to the present.
- Writing Trains Your Prefrontal Cortex
Writing is something that we learn from a small age. In time, it helps us hone our skills of rational, analytical thinking, focused attention, planning and delay of gratification. All these abilities have their center in the prefrontal cortex and they’re immensely valuable for performing in virtually any type of career or job.
Think of all the time and effort needed to research for an essay. You have to put all other activities on hold and keep your attention on the task. Planning a structure of the assignment is the next step. Your short-term memory develops because you have to keep in mind all the ideas you want to include. Finally, the writing process itself requires your full attention and commitment. That new episode from your favourite show simply has to wait.
All of these micro-skills, if practiced through repetition, build the foundation for traits that many employers are looking for: analytical thinking, diligence, ability to meet deadlines and respect requirements, commitment to the task. The process of noting down thoughts on paper disciplines the mind and that discipline can generalize to more areas of your life. Writing an essay isn’t easy business, but it’s destined to pay off.
- Writing Can Broaden Your Mind
In researching for an essay, you’re meant to stumble upon different perspectives on the same subject. The world is a varied place and not even science is always scientifically correct, simply because there might be no ultimate truth to sustain. Both the research and the writing process can broaden your perspective by confronting you with new, sometimes opposing ideas. Through writing, you can even surprise yourself with thoughts you never knew you had!
One of the main signs of creativity is being able to see a variety of solutions to the same problem. Perspective taking and divergent thinking are often needed in the workplace, not only in management positions but also in executive ones. Both troubleshooting and innovation processes gain from individuals who are open-minded and knowledgeable. Writing can enhance both your knowledge base and your ability to come up with unique and eloquent ideas.
- You Can Market Yourself Better
People with good writing skills are generally perceived as more professional and credible. This becomes obvious starting from your resume. A well-written CV and letter of intent boost your chances of getting the job that you want. What employer likes to see grammar or spelling mistakes, poor sentence structure or overly simplistic vocabulary? The way you present yourself is through words and if those words are chosen and combined right, you’re more likely to be seen as a potential employee and not as just another name on a list.
In university, writing skills are held in high regard. The skill you have in your domain is highly likely to be noticed through the written assignments that you have as homework. If you manage to stand out from the crowd, you can participate at conferences, write publishable papers and even get recommendations from your teachers. In this manner, you can improve both your resume and your direct chances of landing a desired job.
- A Cross-Domain Skill
Your essay writing efforts are likely to pay off, as the skills that you gain are easy to generalize to other communication-related contexts. Not only do you learn to write an academic paper, but you also improve your abilities to write e-mails, reports, notes, memos or newsletters. It’s evident why writing skills are paramount in careers such as journalism or public relations, but these aren’t the only types of work that require constant communication.
In 2004, the College Board’s National Commission on Writing reported that writing skills are important in two-thirds of jobs in big US companies. Most of the time, it’s about networking: e-mails, notes, messages. The precision and the style of your writing influences how you’re perceived by your manager, your co-workers and your clients.
More than that, writing and reading skills are knit together. For example, more than half of Canadian workers spend up to 4 hours daily reading written text. In this context, good writing skills can improve comprehension of received information. If you’re comfortable with producing text, it’s more likely that your brain is primed for managing written information in general. This way, writing prowess can help you become a more efficient and more precise reader and this can further improve your job performance.
It’s becoming more and more obvious why we are talking about a cross-domain ability. According to the California Writing Project, writing is a “threshold skill” in a wide variety of workplaces. Corporate leaders and managers report that they’re more likely to promote and less likely to outsource or fire employees with writing proficiency. The leaders themselves see their writing skill as a meaningful ingredient to their success as well!
In a Nutshell…
Gone are the days when only the intellectual elite had to be efficient writers. Connections and networking are the lifeblood of today’s society. Whether you want to work from home, in an office, in a writing-based profession or in a workplace where writing is just a means to an end, you’ll probably need to know the basics of expressing yourself correctly and with good coherence. This varies from job to job, as some practical or artistic careers will rely less on the written word, but generally, it is safe to say that writing is a cross-domain skill.
Of course, you can always rely on some of the best essay writing services out there. But writing is like running a race: other people can coach you and encourage you, but no one can run in your place. Let’s say they do. Then, it will be their muscles that will develop, not yours.
Critical thinking, effective reading, self-discipline, credibility are just some of the gains of consistently practicing your writing skills. You will be seen as more reliable, efficient and intelligent in your workplace and you will have an advantage both in the recruiting and in the job advancement processes.
By Stephanie Proper.
Stephanie Proper is a writer and a career strategist. She tries to find best solutions for career building and self-development. You can find her on Twitter.