27 September 2023

Write on — and stand out from the rest

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In the days of email abbreviations, emojis and popular slang, concise and accurate writing seems to be on the way out. Ashley Stahl* argues that the opposite is the case.

The coffee is brewing; your eyes are adjusting to the light — morning has hit and the first thing you do is reach for your phone.

Stop right there.

Instead of letting yourself fall into the trap of checking email and getting updated on social media, take the time to build a skillset that will help your career on all fronts: Writing.

As an author, writing is my true love, and it’s been a part of my life since I was a kid.

While I know not everyone else loves it like I do, I also know writing skills are necessary in today’s workplace, whether for quick text messages or long briefs.

Spelling, grammar and punctuation are some of the first things an attentive reader will notice and judge.

Here are three reasons for being a proficient and well-versed writer.

You will get more promotions

People with strong writing skills are perceived as more reliable and trustworthy.

Honing this skillset will not only help you in your current role, but will help you move up the corporate ladder.

A study by Grammarly noted that those with fewer grammatical errors in their writing correlated to more promotions and higher salaries.

In most jobs you will spend one third of your time writing and 73 per cent of managers want employees who excel at this skill.

Building this skillset will set you apart from others, especially in the worlds of technology and engineering, where many employees don’t lead with their writing and communication skills.

Try an experiment with your writing for 30 days. Commit to practicing your writing every single day. It is a muscle and skill that you can build over time.

Set aside 30 minutes each day and write something related to your line of work, be it an opinion you have or a draft of something you know you’ll need to say or write.

This could mean you focus on sending a very important email to a top-tier manager, or write a professional blog post that you add to your LinkedIn Profile.

This not only helps your writing skills but will grow your personal brand as a professional.

Job offers will come more easily to you

The job hunt holds a great deal of writing.

When I work with coaching clients on the job hunt, I help them improve their résumés and cover letters specifically for this reason.

Writing isn’t going to be the one-way ticket to a promotion, but if you don’t do it well, you have a lot to lose.

According to HR managers, 80 per cent report that the quality of a thank-you note post-interview is a helpful determining factor in hiring a candidate.

Keep it short, show your enthusiasm and of course, make sure there are no grammatical errors.

Many acclaimed authors all say it: In order to be a better writer, you must read.

The more you read, the more exposure you have to broader vocabulary, ideas, and perspectives.

Plus, the more you read, the more likely you are to be successful.

Look at Warren Buffet for example, who reads 500 pages every day, or Bill Gates, who reads 50 books a year. Stop with the Netflix binge and start reading more.

While you work through your job hunt, find blogs and articles that are published in your career path, or perhaps even by the organisation to which you are applying.

Read a book or a timely article and write a short review or a blog about the lessons it taught you.

Not only will this make you a better writer, it improves comprehension and the ability to understand concepts more deeply.

You will get along with others better

When you consider that 66 per cent of organisations offer some form of remote work, with 16 per cent fully remote, a great deal of communication has shifted from face-to-face to online.

Even if you are not a remote employee, you likely rely heavily on email, text and instant messenger platforms to share professional information and connect.

In a matter of seconds, your short email or IM exchange can either charm or turn away a colleague.

When you learn how to improve your emotional writing skills, you not only will be able to maintain relationships with co-workers, but also build them.

When the time comes, you can leverage your writing and communication skills to help persuade others to achieve their goals.

Also, keep a journal. Journaling has a whole different style of writing. Set time aside each day or week to turn inward and allow yourself to write free-flowing.

Don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure. Write how you feel about a person, situation or turn inward and reflect upon yourself.

Write from wherever your curiosity is taking you. This has been huge for me as a career coach, in helping others find their purpose at work.

Far too often, we have thoughts living inside us that we’re not aware of until they hit the page.

You can turn to this writing practice when you need to resolve a disagreement with someone or work through a challenge.

Writing is a skillset and a tool that is not going anywhere. In fact, it is only becoming more important in the workplace.

So buy that book, purchase that journal and start building your writing abilities.

*Ashley Stahl is a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author. In a previous life she was award-winning counter-terrorism professional. She can be contacted at Home – Ashley Stahl.

This article first appeared at forbes.com.

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