Something I’m trying really hard to figure out right now is how to truly sell myself to a potential employer. I can be a pretty meek and gentle human, and have trouble tapping into my strengths (such as my writing skills) and using them as reasons why I should be hired.
I’m in a communication internship program right now, and I often feel like the odd one out, because since my degree is in organizational communication, my peers are all working in settings that are more office-y than mine. While everyone is following suit with our coursework and getting jobs in office management and human resources, I’m finding whatever ways I can to continue writing, since it is the thing I like to do most. And that is fine! It is undeniably communication-related — writing is, after all, 100% communication. But now that I’m beginning to think about what I should do in terms of applying for full-time post-grad jobs (gulp), I’m getting a little nervous about how I can relate my writing experience to my degree, and potentially pitch myself for careers that are not centered around writing.
What I’ve found is that while writing, I’ve gained a lot of communication skills that will be applicable in any job I may apply to in my life — writing skills or otherwise. Here are five secret skills all writers have that make them strong and indispensable workers.
1. The ability to be effectively persuasive.
Persuading an audience is often the most important things you need to squeeze out of day-to-day communication. Whether you’re applying for a job, talking to your spouse or kids, or trying to make Friday night plans with friends, you’re most likely speaking persuasively all day long without even realizing it. Writers have the unique opportunity of being able to hone in on and perfect their persuasive language, and figure out what people best respond to in persuasive communication. Saying just the right thing to just the right person is often what gets you exactly where you want to be.
2. Confidence and conviction.
Before a writer writes something that they know a shit ton of faceless internet pals are going to read, they better be damn confident in it. When you are a person who lives off of your language, you learn how to speak with conviction and really only say the things you truly believe in.
3. Less fear of failure and criticism.
This is a big one, and oh-so-relevant. Similar to the above point — knowing how many strangers will read your words (and having the experience of getting even a few negative responses) quickly desensitizes you from having any sort of paralyzing fear of failure or criticism. Words still hurt, of course, and it always stings to get a bad response to something you say, or to not get exactly what you want out of a situation. But being less afraid of failure and less afraid of negative criticism allows you to take a few more risks, and go for things you want even when you’re unsure of how they’ll work out.
4. Time management.
Writers often work from home, which makes sense (thank u internet), but also means that we need to figure out how to effectively schedule and manage our own work days. Whether you have a daily or weekly deadline, or you’re working on a novel and are trying to stick to a timeline you’ve made for yourself, time management skills are improved every day you’re forced to use them.
5. Idea organization.
It is no secret that writers write. One of the hardest things about writing is that it isn’t always the same as talking. I’m often tempted to write the exact way I speak (and sometimes I do, like right now — lel), but that is not always the most effective way, depending on what or whom you are writing for. Most written communication needs to be organized in a way that is easy to follow, and easy to skim through quickly in order to get all necessary information. Perfecting this skill is key for projects that require anything written (and, to be honest, many/most jobs require some type of writing skills).
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