Unfortunately, widespread unemployment still plagues the nation. The development of clear writing skills will help to put you in a position where you can increase your opportunities for job placement, earnings potential, and career advancement. It will also, in the process, help to improve the economy by adding your own writing skills to the labor force, thereby increasing your chances of getting hired and potentially contributing to the reduction of unemployment. You can start adding to your writing skills by learning to create a paper trail.
As an integral component of my daily routine while practicing law, I developed the habit of memorializing everything I did. This is an extremely valuable practice to use, and I urge you to follow suit. Not only will the creation of such a paper trail be of immeasurable benefit to you as a personal or business reminder of important dates and events, but this habit will force you to write more, and thus will allow you to accomplish a necessary step on the road to learning clear writing skills. As this blog has repeatedly advised, you must write as much as possible to teach yourself the clear writing skills recommended here.
Agreements, formal or informal, deadlines, important events, issues for future follow up, errands, etc., all deserve to be put in writing, whether by follow-up letter or by memo to the file. It’s good personal and business practice to leave a paper trail whenever possible, not only as a reminder of matters requiring your attention such as deadlines, but to create a written backup to avoid any possible misunderstandings as to who said what, when it was said, where it was said, etc. I still follow these practices today.
There is no better place to begin creating a paper trail than by writing letters. Expertise in letter writing, including emails, should be an indispensable part of your writing arsenal and it is important to leave a trail for any follow up.
There are manifold uses for letters. One of the most important uses is to help you find employment. If you are in the market for a job, it is essential to use a cover letter to accompany any resume which you send out. The cover letter will serve to introduce you personally to the prospective interviewer. But, the letter must be well written; poorly worded letters will get you nowhere and will wind up in the trash. If a letter is worded improperly, i.e., poor grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc., the reader may conclude on the basis of the letter alone, without even reading your resume, that you are not qualified for the position. It will not make any sense for any interviewer to hire someone who does not write well because it will reflect badly on the company and may even cause it to lose business. The letter should employ clear writing techniques, and be visually attractive. It should specify the position you are seeking and state how you learned about it. It should also explain why you are qualified for the position you are seeking and how your qualifications will benefit the company. Close the letter by referencing your enclosed resume, requesting an interview, and stating when you will be available.
A properly worded letter of inquiry about a job opportunity may open a door of opportunity for you not otherwise available. Clear writing skills are most important here. Remember, you are selling yourself when you write. Unless the letter establishes you as a credible writer, the reader may not consider your qualifications even if you are well qualified for the position.
Also, sending a thank you letter to acknowledge an interview may make a difference to the interviewer. It is a good follow up to any interview and is an important part of the paper trail being discussed here.
Business letters should be clear, to th©e point, and correctly punctuated and formatted. Properly written, visually attractive letters will reflect favorably on you individually as well as any company that employs you. Written confirmation of all business transactions should be standard practice.
Leaving a paper trail for future reference is a good approach to the development of clear writing skills. This habit will go a long way to avoid misunderstandings and is always a good business practice.
Copyright © 2013. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.