Writing skills have gotten a bit, well…atrocious. This is particularly true among university students, but it’s not entirely your fault. Texting, tweeting, instant messaging, and social media exchanges in general emphasize quick, minimalist and very informal styles of writing. Email however remains something of an exception; it may be the last vestige of what was once formal writing.
There’s Every Other Form Of E-Communications – Then There’s Email
The casual style of writing that has become common with other forms of e-communications is perfectly acceptable for those mediums. After all, when you contact someone you’re doing it with something close to casual conversation. In that case, it’s perfectly acceptable to be brief and even to use commonly accepted abbreviations.Email however something of a different animal, and it’s an area where you may want to work on brushing up on your formal communication skills. This is the most common method of communication in today’s business world. Old-school letter writing is gone – except in rare instances. Meanwhile, email has become a common substitute for phone calls. Given all that email has become, you need to be something of an expert at it.
Though there are brief forms of emails for quick communication purposes, it’s important to understand the critical nature of formal presentations. In many instances, email will need to be far more than instant communication. For example, resume cover letters and business proposals need to present complete ideas. You’re making a pitch for something – often yourself – and you have to be able to present it in a way that will make your point, and win the reader over.
Start Cleaning Up Your Communication Skills Now
As critical as email communication is, it’s important that you began preparing yourself to use it effectively while you’re still in school. Like everything else in life, writing is a habit. And as communications go, instant communication has become something of a bad habit. The writing skills you adopt this way won’t prepare you to write formal emails.
You can start by making greater use of emails. In the process, make them look more like formal communications. When it comes to emails, you’re frequently trying to make a case about something, and that takes a higher level of writing skills. It’s not the same as writing a term paper for a course, but it does require a logical thought process. An email has to make a point, and stand on its own. As a rule, it should never be an assembly of random thoughts.
When you write emails, think of them as assignments you’ll be graded on, much like you would for a writing assignment in an English course. Emails are never as poetic as what you would write for a graded paper, but you should make use a proper sentence structure, punctuation, and of course spelling. It is virtually the exact opposite of what students are doing right now with other instant communication methods.
Master The Employment Cover Letter
Soon enough you’ll be out applying for jobs in preparation for leaving university. Though there is tremendous emphasis on creating the perfect resume, mastering the art of writing a good employment cover letter can be just as important.
If your email cover letter does not impress the reader, there’s more than a slight chance that your resume will never be read either. An email employment cover letter should never be constructed as a casual communication announcing the arrival of your resume. It should enhance your resume, by making it clear what position you’re applying for, and highlighting the reasons why you’re the person for the job.
If you don’t know much about writing cover letters, do a web search under “writing an employment cover letter” or “employment cover letter samples” and follow the examples that you’re provided.
Related: 10 Graduate Resume Tips
Mastering The Business Email
Very often in the business world you’ll need to make a pitch by email. That will involve either a business proposal, a sales pitch, or even your contribution to developing office policy. Having a strong ability to write emails in a business environment is an often underrated skill. Communications are vitally important in any business environment, and email is a now major part of that. The better you are conveying your ideas – in a way that others will clearly understand what it is you’re trying to say – the more successful you’ll be at anything you will do.
Take this requirement very seriously. Begin now to work on more formal writing skills, particularly those involved in expressing specific ideas. In a away, almost every business email that you write is like a sales letter. You’re trying to convince others, or group of people, to do something that they probably wouldn’t do on their own.
Your Email Communications Are A Reflection Of YOU
Professionalism is a big part of the business world, and email is one of the ways that you can demonstrate yours. Everything you produce in the business world – including written communications – is a reflection of who you are and what you bring to the organization or business. When talking with prospecting clients, the way you write becomes even more important than ever.
A poorly written email that fails to make the case, could be an indication of weak leadership skills. Poor sentence structure and a lack of punctuation could be an indication of disorganization and even sloppiness.
If that’s not what you want to portray to an employer, coworkers, or clients, then you need to have strong writing skills, which will be demonstrated through your emails. Even if you’re a freshman at university, you should start working on improving your email writing skills now. It will take some time for you to transition from less formal communication methods to business emails. So take advantage of the time you have now to start improving.