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									                                                                         The Writing Center
                                                                              Luther Hall 116

                      Writing Skills: Are They Important?
Whether you like to write or not, strong writing skills are essential for a successful career in almost any

According to the California Job Journal, “Business is based around the written word” (Kishman, 2004,
para. 5).

In fact, employers consider writing a threshold skill, meaning that the quality of employees’ writing can
make or break their careers, especially when it comes to hiring and promotion (National Commission on
Writing, 2004).

Professionals in business write:

      Reports
          o Sloppy reports can have a negative impact on employees, employers, or the entire

      Email
         o Emails that include errors can portray incompetence.

      Press releases
          o Poorly-written releases can damage an organization’s reputation.

      Meeting minutes
         o Unclear minutes can create confusion about project deadlines, agreements with clients, or
             important decisions (Kishman, 2004).

Here is a sample of what employers from 500 companies nationwide say about the importance of
writing, as reported in the National Commission on Writing’s 2004 report (p. 8):

      “In most cases, writing ability could be your ticket in . . . or it could be your ticket out [of a

      “All employees must have writing ability. Everything is tracked. All instructions are written out .
       . . [and] have to be crystal clear.
      “Writing skills are fundamental in business. It’s increasingly important to be able to convey
       content in a tight, logical, direct manner . . .”

      “My view is that good writing is a sign of good thinking. . . . Writing that’s not careful can be a
       signal of unclear thinking.” (p. 8)

To start improving your writing skills right away:
    Take advantage of free Writing Center services.
    Make use of any writing support provided by your employer.
    Have a friend, family member, or co-worker review your writing before you turn it in or send it
        out. Having someone else read your work aloud helps detect weak spots.

Research shows that students who visit writing centers or have someone review their writing
procrastinate less than other writers (Young & Fritzsche, 2002). This usually leads to a better final draft.

Kinsman, M. (2004, February 1). Are poor writing skills holding back your career? California Job

       Journal. Retrieved January 30, 2008, from

National Commission on Writing. (2004, September). Writing: A ticket to work or a ticket out.

       CollegeBoard. Retrieved January 30, 2008, from

Young, B. R., & Fritzche, B. A. (2002, Fall/Winter). Writing center users procrastinate less: The

       relationship between individual differences, peer feedback, and student writing success. The

       Writing Center Journal 23(1). Retrieved January 30, 2008, from

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