In this economy, with employment at 9.2 percent as of March 2011 ( http://www.bls.gov ), honing your communication skills is a must. Poor writing skills, according to Money ( http://ehow.com/facts ), result in poor performance by employees (those with poor communication skills are less likely to get ahead), lost revenue (poorly written external documents create a poor image of you and/or your organization), damaged reputation, and lost credibility (if customers can't trust what they see in writing, they're not very likely to trust the products the company makes).
The College Board suggests that employers are looking for graduates who can write accurately, clearly, concisely, and without making grammar and/or punctuation errors ( www.quintcareers.com ). Biztimes.com suggests that employers look at writing skills when hiring, that they will not hire those who cannot "write and communicate clearly," and that "All employees must have writing skills, [including] manufacturing, documentation, operating procedures, reporting problems, lab safety, waste-disposal operations and documents have to be crystal clear."
So, how does one go about improving his/her writing skills? One simple way is to read and write everyday. At least 15 minutes. And not the stuff you have to read for work or the kind of writing you do on the job. Expand your horizons and read novels, short stories, plays, newspapers, and magazine articles (well-written magazine articles, not the blurbs in People). Reading texts outside your workplace documents will help in that you'll begin picking up sentence structure and other nuances of language that you may have overlooked or been unaware of. Writing, too, helps in that the more you write, the better you become at it. Just as you can't learn to play an instrument without practicing, most of us won't improve our writing skills without practicing.
Other tools available are websites such as www.dianahacker.com/writersref , which allows you to do grammar exercises and lets you know what errors you've made. Another is bullfighter , a free download that helps writers reduce the amount of jargon and wordiness in their writing.
Beyond that, you can also take online writing courses, which offer several advantages over traditional onsite workshops: they're typically less expensive, more convenient (most are self-paced), and can result in positive results. Hurley Write's online courses also allow you to practice your writing with writing options at the end of every module, and we give you professional feedback, which allows you to focus on your writing strengths and weaknesses, and hone your skills. Improve your scientific and technical writing with Hurley Write.