What Skills do you Need for Professional Writing?

One of the most useful skills you can cultivate is writing. In the professional world, you can be called upon to write any number of things. For example, you could be tasked with writing blog posts for your company, articles about your profession or industry, newsletters, company emails, company policies, or query letters if you are trying to drum up more business. Writing is an inescapable facet of professional life. The more you hone your writing skills, the more effective you will be in accomplishing your goals. 

What writing skills do you need?

At the very least, you should know how to use proper grammar and syntax when writing. This does not mean that everything you write will be grammatically correct on draft one. It means that you will be able to curate and edit your own writing to professional standards. Beyond this minimum requirement, you can improve your writing by doing the following:

  1. Read good writing. One of the best ways to improve your own writing chops is to read writers who write well. You will gain inspiration from their writing, broaden your vocabulary, and expose yourself to new ideas and images that will strengthen your ability to communicate.
  2. Invest in quality writing tools, such as a thesaurus, dictionary, and writing handbook (Strunk’s Elements of Style or the Bedford Handbook are two solid choices). 
  3. Attention to detail. Cultivating the ability to go beyond the broad brush and dive into small details will serve you well as you curate your writing to professional standards. This can be as simple as scanning through your writing for grammar and punctuation issues or putting it through a redline program. Give yourself time to pay attention to the particulars of your writing!

Some strategies to improve your skills

How can you take your writing chops from basic to professional? As with most skills, improvement takes time and consistency. Try to write something every day, or at least several times a week, to give yourself an opportunity to practice. Some other things to consider are:

  1. Make an effort to fact-check yourself on your content. This is especially important if your writing is based on research. Take some time to learn how to cite content correctly and always check your sources!
  2. Aim for clarity and concise language. When writing for the business world, mean what you say, and say what you mean, especially if your writing is going to be published digitally.
  3. Make use of online tools like Grammerly.com, or network with a content editor like me who can provide you with advice and direction!

Do you need a content editor to aid you in improving your professional writing? Set up a consultation with me to discuss options!

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