Now you’re looking at starting your first job post college or university, you’re going to need to know how to improve your business writing skills. You already have experience in writing, thanks to the work you’ve done over your years at school. Business writing is a different skill though, and you’ll need to develop it before you graduate. Here’s 9 tips that will help you improve those skills and get ready for the world of work.
- Let Go Of Your Worries
As a student, you know all too well about the red pen, and a teacher ripping apart your writing. This can make some people feel apprehensive about writing at work, meaning they don’t reach their full potential. Try to let go of that worry. In the workplace, no one is going to grade your writing. You need to write eloquently, but if you use these tips you’ll be able to do that, no problem at all.
- Proofread And Edit
Before you send anything out, make sure that you’re checking it over first. Even the simplest errors in your writing can look bad for you, even making you look unprofessional. Manually check your writing, and make use of tools that can help. For example, Grammarix, Simple Grad and Academ Advisor can all help with spelling, grammar, and other proofreading issues.
- Understand The Reader
Every document you write will have a different audience. As you write, you need to keep them in mind, to ensure that you’re giving them the right information. For example, say you’re writing to a client. What are their wants and needs? What is it that you and your company can do for them? Keep these questions in mind as you write, and you’ll create texts that give the reader what they need.
- Stick To The Point
As a student, you’re used to writing to a word count. In the business world, you won’t be given one. That means that it can be easy to veer off topic and write documents that don’t stick to the point. To avoid this, try writing your main point into the very first sentence of your document. That will help you stick to your aims, and give the reader what they need.
- Always Write A Draft
“Especially in the early stages of your career, it’s a good idea to write a draft of a document before you send it,” suggests business writer Donald Farrington at Academized. “This will help you organise your thoughts and get the message right.”
- Get Feedback If You Can
Once you’re in the workplace, you won’t have your professors anymore to feedback on your writing. However, you can still get help. If there’s someone in the workplace that you trust, ask them to read over your work and offer feedback if they can.
- Keep It Short
Longer doesn’t always mean better. “When you’re working, you’ll realise that you have very little time to be reading long communications” says business writer Fiona Graves at Australian Help. “That means that anyone you communicate with will be in the same boat. Keeping your messages short is vital.” If you write longer communications, it can be easy to go off topic or even lose the reader’s attention entirely. Instead, it’s better to keep your writing as short as possible.
- Identify Your Weaknesses And Strengths
As you’re about to be a graduate, you’ll already have an idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are in writing. Pay attention to the feedback your professors are giving you, and go back to them for more if you need it. Then, work on your weaknesses to improve your writing.
- Avoid Jargon
It’s tempting when you start work to use the office lingo in everything you write. After all, it will help you show that you know your stuff and help you fit into the workplace. However, this can backfire on you. If you’re writing to someone outside of the industry, it can make your writing seem unintelligible. Keep your language simple, and restrict jargon in your writing unless you know the reader will understand it.
These 9 tips will help you develop those essential business writing skills, ensuring that you’ll be ready for the workplace before you graduate. Start using them now, and you’ll have writing skills that will get you far in your chosen career.
Written Mary Walton, City Alumni