Writing better can boost your career
Good writing is important
Few people have been fired because they wrote poorly. However, many business and technical people have been passed over for promotions, because they failed to write well. Most people in commerce, industry, and government have been frustrated to see at least some of their ideas be ignored, some of their work go unnoticed, or some of their projects be left unfunded. Many of those failures are rooted in failed communications.
We all have encountered emails or internet posts that created the wrong tone—hurting feelings and generating resentment. In addition, much sales copy fails to capture the attention of clients, and many technical, legal, and financial documents are ignored, because they are overly complicated, confusing, or incomplete. If we are the authors of these offending or neglected documents, then we are apt to suffer the fallback.
On the other hand, those who rise to the challenge of writing well enjoy recognition and other rewards. A few instances I have witnessed include:
· A middle manager, with only a high school education, moved into upper management, because he could write well. His organization skills and work ethic were excellent, but his writing skills set him apart from other employees.
· A young intern at a large company received praise from a vice president across the country, because the intern wrote reports that clearly communicated information important to the firm.
· An engineer always found herself in demand, because she wrote thoroughly researched and data-rich reports on complex topics.
· An engineer lost his job in industry during an economic downturn, but rapidly found employment in an important federal agency, because he wrote exceptionally well.
· A young professional was retained by his company when the industry slipped into a deep economic recession causing the discharge of thousands of employees, because management valued the person’s writing ability.
· A senior manager, who had many enemies in the company, avoided being fired for many years, because the company’s president relied upon the person to ghostwrite sensitive documents.
· A senior professional, in spite of her having physical health limitations, was called back from retirement, because management prized the woman’s towering writing skills.
Superior writing skills are helpful to gaining and retaining management responsibility. Capturing ideas and decisions in typed words conveys a person’s intellectual strength and managerial capability. A person’s writing proficiency shows others your ability to think, organize, and communicate.
This is particularly important for young professionals who have not yet established their reputations. Lacking direct access to higher levels of management, a young worker can gain attention by producing superb documents. A well-crafted report or white paper can travel through even the most bureaucratic organization and display the person’s thinking to high-ranking leaders. Therefore, it is no surprise that writing well is a vehicle to being recognized.