The following is a guest post written by Kyle Simpson.
When you got your bachelor’s in English, everyone told you how lucky you were to have a degree that would help you in any field you chose to work in, from corporate marketing to communications to service writing for an automotive shop. But now that you’ve started your professional life, you’re having trouble adapting the lessons you learned from classical literature and poetry classes to practical purposes. After all, how does penning a sonnet relate to organizing a marketing campaign for dog kibble? However, having a strong grasp of the mechanics of the English language (spelling, grammar, vocabulary, structure) can only help you in any area where writing and communicating (or even thinking and organizing) are required. You just have to work at it.
- Write for your audience. The first thing you’ll want to do is tailor your writing to the business you’re in. For example, writing a service manual for a vacuum cleaner doesn’t exactly call for flowery prose (“Attach the hose with the utmost attention to detail, ensuring that all parts go together like cake and ice cream” will probably leave customers scratching their heads – and you out of a job).
- Format properly. Every position is going to call for a specific style, so do whatever you can to learn the format as quickly as possible. Advertising, marketing, and press releases all require completely different types of writing (even though they’re closely related fields), and you’re going to stand a lot better chance of excelling at your job if your writing is versatile.
- Be smart. Believe it or not, there is a certain amount of logic involved. If you want to run a successful ad campaign, you need to learn how to influence people in a subtle manner, whereas a press release is the very simple conveyance of information, largely unembellished. You will benefit a lot more from learning how to say what you want if you understand the reasoning behind it.
- Never stop learning. Chances are, you’re not going to write the definitive novel of your generation, or get the dream job working in a publishing house or writing literary reviews for a well-known magazine. It’s much more likely that you’ll take a paying job wherever you can get it.
- Have fun! You can still use your writing skills to your advantage and enjoy whatever career you pursue. And you’ll find that pushing yourself to learn a style that is not familiar to you will present not only difficulties, but rewards. There is nothing more fulfilling than flexing your mind in a new and challenging way…and succeeding.
The main thing to keep in mind is that confidence is the key. If you don’t believe you can master a particular style of writing, you’ve already lost the battle. People don’t like to change, but we are, by nature, adaptable creatures, and teaching yourself to think and express your ideas in new ways can be as easy or as hard as you make it. The truth is, being flexible will not only make your job easier, it will allow you more opportunities in the future. And if you are writing that novel or blogging in your spare time, every technique you pick up will allow you a greater range of expression and help you to hone your individual style.
Kyle Simpson writes for Medical Billing and Coding Certification, where you can find more information about a career and training in the medical field.