Be a Better Writer
How many job and internship postings have you read that include “excellent written and oral communication skills” as a requirement of the position? Just about every job you apply to will require a written element, from writing an email to express your interest, writing a resume to communicate your qualifications, or writing a cover letter to persuade someone to hire you. Even great writers can make errors that could eliminate you from consideration, so here are some tips to help ensure your writing is top-notch.
1. Prepare to write. Some people can begin typing and an elegant, organized document flows forth, but many of us need to set aside a few minutes first before writing to consider what we’re trying to communicate. If it’s an email you’re writing, think first about what the purpose of the email is, and what is the point you’re attempting to communicate? If you’re writing a cover letter, it might help to develop a short outline first. Think about what the most compelling points of your candidacy are before you write the letter, so that you have some guidelines that will keep you on topic.
2. Be concise. One of the biggest challenges in writing resumes, cover letters, and even emails or memos is communicating effectively in a small space. Attention spans are slim in the recruiting process, and even when you’re writing for your work, communicating as concisely as possible will increase your effectiveness and decrease the chance that someone will be bored by what you say or misunderstand your meaning. Think about whether what you’re writing is necessary to communicate your central point, or whether it’s superfluous information. Having others review your writing can help identify areas that need to be cut down or rephrased.
3. Proofread your writing out loud. Reading sentences out loud can help you identify choppy sentences or errors in grammar, and can identify needed changes better than reading in your head. When reading silently your brain may overlook or fill in “blanks” on its own, and reading aloud can help catch these.
4. Have someone else review it. It’s much easier to catch errors in someone else’s writing than in your own, so hand over your email or resume or cover letter to someone you trust to help you identify elements that don’t make sense, or small errors that you may not have caught on your own. This can also be useful if you need feedback on “tone”, if I’m writing a document or email that is responding to conflict or is likely to cause conflict, I ask others to review it and make sure I’m coming across the way I intend to.
Career Events This week
Mon., April 22 | 2:30 – 4 pm
Tue., April 23 | 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Wed., April 24 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm – MGH 310D
MLIS Drop-In Job Seekers group
Wed., April 24 | 2 – 6 pm
Wed., April 24 | 3 – 5 pm
Wed., April 24 | 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Thu., April 25 | 1 – 2 pm
Thu., April 25 | 3:00 – 4:30 pm – MGH 370H
MSIM / INFO Drop-in Internship and Job Search Time
Thu., April 25 | 3:30 – 5 pm
Thu., April 25 | 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Fri., April 26 | 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Mon., April 29 | 3 – 4 pm
Highlighted Professional Jobs
NIST Information Services Office
University of Michigan
Illinois State University
Highlighted Student Jobs
Federal Reserve Board – Research Library