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Wish I had learned business writing at school!

Business writing 101 – I wish I had learned it at school!

by Fay Barrett 

When I was at school, the business world was simply not on my radar.  Writing had always been a talent of mine but I was totally unaware of the opportunities this could lead to. For me, the only people who wrote for a living were authors, script writers and journalists.  Those jobs sounded pretty precarious, so writing did not feature too highly on my career prospects list.  Little did I realise how valuable good writing skills would be and how the ability to write & communicate well would serve me in my working life.

When you are setting out on your career path, going through GCSE’s, A levels, deciding whether or not to go to University, it all seems very daunting.  Decisions you make now can affect your options later in life.  So it’s really important to know what skills are sought after in the work place in order to make effective choices.  Building on skills you already possess, so they match what employers look for, is invaluable.

Learning to adapt existing writing skills, so they translate to the business world, is vital.  Fortunately, Sixth Form students are uniquely equipped for just that.  They’ve already spent the majority of their school lives writing essays. Capitalising and channelling those skills NOW places them at a huge advantage entering the world of work, whether that’s straight from school or after university.  Far from simply being the property of academia, essay writing can and must be translated into the business sphere in order to keep the wheels of industry turning smoothly.

If you can write well, you can communicate well.  This is central to good business practise.  If you’re not getting your message across effectively, how can you be sure your colleague is on the same page as you?  How can you know your client understands the brief?  How can you be certain your target audience will be suitably enticed to buy your product?  In offices, words zip around electronically day and night, via email & websites.  The web ensures a never ending need for new content as copy expires almost as soon as it has gone online. 

There are countless avenues, for those with business writing acumen, to tread; far from the naive limitations I saw at school.  Administration, Finance, PR, Marketing, Lawyers/Solicitors, Advertising, Content writing for the web/social media, bid/tender writing, let alone journalists, authors and script writers; are just some of the areas that require excellent writing skills.  Even putting together straightforward emails or letters; all communications can be greatly improved by someone who knows how to write.

Having spent over 12 years in the world of work, I can look back and reflect on the choices I made at 17/18.  Hindsight of course is a wonderful thing and life has a habit of taking us down unexpected turns that couldn’t be planned for.  If, however, I could go back in time and speak to my 18 year old self I would encourage her to embrace the written word and the many opportunities this could open to her, particularly within the business world (although she probably wouldn’t listen to me!).