Working in executive recruiting, I’m frequently surprised by the lack of writing skills possessed by some of the industry’s top candidates.
I once requested a cover letter from a prospective candidate–an industry-leading, experienced mechanical engineer—and I was astounded at what I received. It was littered with grammatical errors, it was poorly composed, and the misuse of verbiage made it almost unreadable. In this modern world where everyone is texting and sending messages via social media, is well written communication becoming a lost art?
Is it still important?
The answer to that depends on a few things, but it primarily depends upon the function of the role. For any mid to executive level position, your writing skills will be critical to your success. Even more so if you are looking for a leadership or sales role. There are very few positions that do not require at least some written communication, whether it’s directly to clients or just to your team. The importance of written communication will vary depending on the professional level of your position, but possessing those skills will definitely benefit anyone wanting to advance their career.
You will be judged on your written communication throughout the interview process. Your cover letter, resume, and any non-verbal follow up communication including email and letters will either impress or depress whoever’s in charge of the hiring process. Your cover letter and resume should be written as a presentation of your skills and successes, and it should be specifically tailored to the position you’re applying for. If it is poorly written, you may be immediately disqualified for the opportunity.
If well-written communication is a requirement in the role you’re applying for, the managers and recruiters you’re working with may be analyzing the quality of what you send them to get an idea of your writing comprehension level and your ability to present yourself professionally.
In conclusion, strong writing skills remain a critical ingredient to your success in moving your career forward. Even if you’re already pretty confident in how well you write, put in some additional effort to improve your writing skills and you will set yourself apart from everyone else who won’t.[Originally written by Karl Dinse]