Writing plays a big role in the coaching work I do.
Resumes have to be full of clear, quantifiable written information that uses action verbs to illustrate the candidate’s unique strengths. And it all has to fit on one page.
Cover letters have to tell a compelling story that highlights specific skills, experiences and qualifications while at the same time being primarily all about them–the industry, the specific organization, and the open position the candidate wishes to fill.
At campus workshops, I train students and faculty to emphasize professional writing skills such as emails, phone messages, memos, agendas, letter of recommendation requests, and visual support for presentations.
My clients who are academic writers have to produce copious amounts of written text. Academic writing always involves a few too many moving parts–massive quantities of data, multiple article ideas at play at once, choosing the best writing strategies, managing time so that writing projects can proceed given the chosen strategies, allowing time for drafting and editing, and doing all of this in relative solitude.
Accuracy is of the utmost importance in all of these forms. Spelling, grammar and punctuation matter. Resumes and cover letters with errors in them never make it to the top of the pile. Emails, phone messages and memos with mistakes in them can represent major failures to communicate. Editors and reviewers won’t agree to publish academic articles that look sloppy.
Though each form of writing I mention seems quite different from the others, one thing holds true: keeping at it makes you better at it; the more you write, the easier it is to write.
And the payoff for keeping at it and persevering with all this writing? Turns out it might be higher pay. Check out this infographic from Grammarly:
While it’s true that “people with stronger writing skills may simply be more attentive to details and thus better at their jobs,” for my clients writing skills are directly tied to getting and keeping jobs.
If you can’t write a compelling resume and cover letter, it’s difficult to get an interview, much less a job. If you have a tenure-track job and you don’t write & publish, you won’t get tenure (which is the same as getting fired).
So check out Grammarly’s grammar checker and… #writeon
Darcy Lear is a career coach specializing in academic writing, job search documents, professional school applications, and interview preparation. To schedule a campus workshop or for help navigating your career transition, contact Darcy: email@example.com