By Donna Hildreth, English Faculty, Charlotte Campus
Students frequently ask, “Why do I need to take a writing class?” Joyce E. A. Russell, vice dean at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, has a good answer:
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Good or bad, writing makes a statement about the writer that is instant and lasting. What does your writing say about you? Well, how you write can suggest to employers your ability to learn new skills.
Employers view writing skills in surprising ways. Kyle Weins, owner of iFixit and Dozuki, believes writing skills reflect a person’s attitude about work in general. He observes that most people don’t think of writing as a litmus test: “After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right? Wrong. If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use ‘it’s,’ then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with. So, even in this hyper-competitive market, I will pass on a great programmer who cannot write.”
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Weins goes on to say, “Applicants who don’t think writing is important are likely to think lots of other (important) things also aren’t important.” In other words, paying attention to details is not something a worker starts doing on the job, it’s a life habit.
In an age of Tweets, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, it’s easy to see how writing might be seen as a fading craft stuck in the past. Writing and language are infinitely adaptable, however, and writing in the 21st century is more relevant and indispensable than ever. Of all the soft skills, writing is the one most in demand by employers. An employee who writes well creates goodwill, generates business, and projects professionalism. There is no better way to compete in the job market than with good writing skills. Are you ready?