This summer, C2 Strategic Communications hired its first college intern. She asks us a lot of good questions related to career development.
Recently, our president, Chad Carlton, mentioned the importance of writing skills in any career, and it reminded me of an Inc. article I read about the demand for solid writers. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that 73 percent of employers want a candidate who can write. In fact, writing skills ranked third behind leadership and teamwork. Its easy to see that humanities fields would value writing, but you’d be wrong if you thought it didn’t matter in STEM fields or elsewhere.
When I switched from journalism to accounting, I was pleasantly surprised at how much writing I did: footnotes to financial statements, letters to the IRS or to clients, and grant applications. Eventually it dawned on me: Accounting and journalism are about gathering, understanding, organizing and presenting information clearly and concisely to help others make informed decisions. Other fields are no different.
At C2, for instance, we work closely with construction and engineering firms on large transportation projects to help residents, business owners and other community members understand the long, complex process, including effects on their properties and their commutes.
The Inc. article has a great quote from Basecamp founder Jason Frieds book, Rework, that neatly sums up this idea: Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand.
Another Inc. article reported that businesses spend $3.1 billion annually on remedial writing training. If you’re a small business, you can find free or low-cost resources online. Here are a couple we found:
- The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has a section on professional and technical writing.
- Lynda.com has several video tutorials on various kinds of writing. If you have a Louisville Free Public Library card, you can use this website for free.
Writing training doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive, but considering what poor communication can cost your business in terms of missed opportunities or misunderstandings, improving your writing skills is time and money well spent.