By Sarah Wright
Why Are Writing Skills So Important?
Though we live in an era where print media is faltering, and people hand write and mail letters out of novelty rather than necessity, writing skills are still important. In fact, it can be argued that they are even more important now than ever. It's always been important for professionals and academics to use proper grammar and communicate well, but now, it's increasingly important for more people to have good writing skills.
The reasons for that are many, but the two main forces in play are the Internet and a highly competitive job market. Though some see the rise of digital media as the death of writing, the Internet actually makes unprecedented use of text. Newspapers were, of course, written in type, but they didn't allow for the reader interaction that news websites have. And though a resume and cover letter have long been staples of a job search, the ability to make your application packet stand out is a major step in even being considered for a position.
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Technology Makes Your Writing Visible
We use written communication more regularly now than ever before. Text messages, social media posts, e-mails, blog entries and comments are all modes of communication that typically rely entirely on written words. For some people, social networking, texting and e-mail have taken the place of phone calls, except for very special occasions. And while your average blog or YouTube comment proves that not everyone takes grammar and style very seriously, a lot of people use writing quality as an opportunity to assess others.
Some people might not care, or think it's important, but the ability to communicate effectively in writing can actually save some headaches. It's hard to read emotions and other subtle things like sarcasm through text, but if you write well, you'll convey your meaning better. And because we handle more emotional matters online than ever, there's incentive to pay closer attention to how well we write. The growing popularity of Internet dating alone might be motivation for some to pay closer attention to how they communicate online.
On top of personal communications, career communications of all kinds are increasingly being handled online and in text. Even just applying for jobs usually requires a few different types of written communication, from filling out an application to writing a cover letter and drafting a resume. Most online job postings require some form of written content, and the quality of this writing often serves as a gatekeeper. Something as simple as a grammatical mistake or use of text-speak in the e-mail containing your well-written resume and cover letter might cause your application packet to get moved into the trash folder in favor of the many others that are no doubt waiting to be considered.
E-mail communications within the office are especially important as well. Many jobs require workers to send e-mails to prospective or current clients and customers, and a poorly worded message might do some damage. Plus, you don't want to get a reputation around the office for making a legendary typo. If you're worried about improving your writing skills, there are lots of Internet resources, from typing games to style guides, that can help you avoid mistakes.
Learning how to write a good resume is a particularly important part of getting work-focused communication skills.