3 tips to improve your writing
Today, being able to write well has never been more important. Whether you’re sending emails, tailoring your cover letter and resume, or even sending texts to colleagues and potential employers, developing a clear and professional writing style is critical.
Have you ever received an email with 10 or more spelling errors? Or received a letter that was 4 pages long, when all you really needed to know was in the last paragraph?
How did those make you feel? Chances are you were annoyed or frustrated. Did you feel the person who wrote them was professional, or detail oriented? Probably not.
On a typical day, we can send dozens of emails, texts or posts and it’s easy to forget the importance of spelling or structure.
Here are 3 simple tips to improve your writing that you can apply to texts, emails, social media posts as well as business letters and employment applications.
Spelling errors stand out more than you think. When you are communicating with someone – for the first time or on an ongoing basis – making spelling mistakes not only creates a poor impression, but can erode your credibility with that person. And it’s easily fixed.
ALWAYS spellcheck before sending something. MS Word will automatically highlight most common spelling errors and suggest appropriate spelling – take advantage of this feature! If you don’t have this automatically enabled, you will find spelling and grammar check under the Review tab. Outlook can be set to check for spelling before sending email.
When you are writing online using a web browser or smartphone, just search any word you’re not sure is spelled correctly through Google – the first entry is usually a dictionary definition with the proper spelling.
2. Be concise
Don’t use 50 words when 5 will do. It’s easy to think that the more you write the better, but the opposite is usually true – especially in business communication.
For example, if you’re applying for a position by email and need to write about your skills or experiences consider using bullets instead of paragraphs. Writing point form makes it easy for the other person to quickly read, understand and evaluate you.
Also, using less words means less chance of spelling or grammatical errors!
3. State it simply
Saying that you’re “adept at managing cross-functional multi-faceted initiatives across multiple industry verticals” may sound impressive, but sentences that are full of jargon or industry-specific terms can be confusing. Even worse, they can make the reader wonder what you’re really trying to say, because these terms can mean different things to different people.
Consider stating things in a way that’s clear and easily understood – instead of the sentence above, consider writing “I have over 10 years’ experience leading up to 5 projects at once across all of the company’s lines of business”. The reader can easily draw specific information from a statement like this – your years of experience, ability to manage multiple projects, experience managing projects in various lines of business, etc.
Using these 3 tips – spellcheck, be concise, be clear – will improve your writing on any platform, online or otherwise.