Why Writing Skills Are Important and How To Improve Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Writing skills are important tools that individuals use every day. Whether they're completing important writing assignments for work or drafting emails to their friends and family, it's helpful for them to understand how to communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively. If you're hoping to develop your techniques in written communication, it's important to understand the different levels of writing you can perform and tactics you can use to strengthen them. In this article, we discuss what writing skills are, why they're important and how to improve them using a helpful list of steps and additional tips.

What are writing skills?

Writing skills are techniques and strategies that help individuals perform written tasks and activities. Using these skills, individuals can present ideas and information, write emails and memos, draft books, and deliver important instructions. It's also important for individuals to have technical knowledge of writing to help them understand grammar, spelling and punctuation. Technical knowledge also helps them determine what style or form of writing they should use for their different tasks and how to implement them.

Why are writing skills important?

There are several reasons skills in writing are important, including:

  • Delivering concise information: written communication can help you deliver clear and concise information. Whether you're informing colleagues about a major deadline or you're telling your manager about a potential issue or challenge, it's important to make sure that your words and sentences make sense so they don't miss any information.

  • Demonstrating professionalism: writing techniques can help you demonstrate a powerful level of professionalism, which can attract the attention of potential employers and help you pursue positions of advancement throughout your career. It can also help you explore new job opportunities or career paths, such as becoming a copywriter.

  • Finding employment: when you apply for open positions and jobs, one of the first pieces of information you send to employers is your CV or cover letter. Having a strong understanding of writing can help you present yourself and your qualifications for different roles.

Related: How to Write a Cover Letter

Levels of writing

Here are some of the different levels of writing you can perform:

  • Personal writing: personal writing can include a lot of different activities, such as writing emails or letters to family and friends. It can also involve personal projects, like writing a book, script or another form of written entertainment.

  • Academic writing: academic writing often includes students who are pursuing a diploma or degree as they write research papers and reports for grading. It can also include professors and other academic professionals, such as doctors, writing research papers or essays to provide insightful and educational information to the public.

  • Writing for work: writing for work can include a wide range of activities, including sending emails and memos, as well as generating reports or presentations for executives and clients. It's also possible that some individuals might write for a living, which would require strong writing knowledge and skills.

  • Writing for job applications: writing for job applications includes drafting CVs and cover letters to deliver information about a candidate's qualifications to a potential employer.

Related: 6 Universal Rules for Writing Your CV

How to improve your written communication

Here is a list of steps to help you improve your written communication skills:

1. Review grammar

Before starting new writing projects, it's important to review grammar, spelling and punctuation. Understanding the basics of these subjects can help you navigate common writing errors, such as writing run-on sentences. It can also help you use commas and punctuation more accurately.

When attempting to review grammar, it's helpful to look for resources, such as online courses or websites, that can help you learn grammar quickly and understand the essentials. It's also beneficial to have a grammar reference or guide to look at if you're ever unsure about something, so you can quickly look it up and keep writing.

Related: Assessing Your Language Proficiency Skills for a Job Search

2. Understand the tone

When you approach a writing assignment or task, it's important to understand the tone or style that you need to emulate. For example, if you're writing an email to a friend, the tone can be natural and casual, whereas if you're writing to a colleague or manager, it's more helpful to adopt a formal and professional tone. Practicing writing in unique tones can help you adapt to different situations and allow you to develop powerful writing techniques for any written task or project.

When understanding the tone of a piece, consider reading what you've written and analysing it from the reader's point of view. Without hearing you say the words out loud, will they understand the tone you're trying to convey? If not, consider rewriting certain sentences or phrases until you have the tone you desire.

3. Develop an outline

Developing an outline for different writing assignments can help you create a plan for your writing and allow you to create a coherent thought or argument. When creating an outline, it's helpful to create sections and title them based on the information you want to present. Titling the sections can help you see how you're going to present the information and if everything makes sense. If the flow of the writing doesn't work well, consider reorganising the sections until the information is more understandable.

If you're trying to argue a certain point of view, consider starting your outline from the end and work towards the beginning. Working backwards can help you understand which sections of information you need to list first so the following sections make sense. For example, if you want to convince your manager that departments would communicate better with communication tools and software, it might be better to inform the manager about the communication problems currently present in the company before telling them how the software will fix them.

4. Proofread your work

Proofreading is a crucial step to any writing assignment or task because it helps to fix grammatical errors and create a high-quality final product. When proofreading, it's helpful to read your work slowly to see if there were any minor mistakes you made during the writing process. If you're unsure about a grammatical or spelling question, it's always helpful to look it up either online or through other grammatical resources. It's also beneficial to read your writing out loud to hear how it sounds and to see if the presented information makes sense to the reader.

5. Ask for feedback

Asking colleagues, friends and family for feedback on your writing can help you see if you make any common or consistent writing errors, and also help you develop your written communication. After completing a writing task, consider asking someone to read through it and tell you how they perceive it and if they understand it. How they perceive it can help you understand if you delivered the tone you were hoping to present. Seeing if they understand it can help you understand if the information you presented made sense.

Additional writing tips

Here are some additional tips to help you improve your writing skills:

Read more

Reading more, including books, plays and articles, can help you develop powerful writing techniques by absorbing the different tones and styles other writers use. If you expose yourself to high-quality writing, you have a better opportunity to see how writers craft arguments and stories. You can also see how they follow grammar rules and have a better understanding of when to use punctuation.

Practice every day

Practicing your writing every day can help you develop and improve more quickly. Even if you're writing emails to friends or family, consider practicing writing in different tones and styles and taking extra care to use proper punctuation and grammar. It's also helpful to look up writing prompts online and practice writing stories or crafting arguments to help improve your skills and technical knowledge.

Join a writers' group

A writers' group is a group of individuals who focus on helping each other improve their written communication and knowledge. Most often, writers' groups show their work to one another and receive feedback on how they presented the information and corrections on any spelling or grammar mistakes. If you want to join a writers' group, consider searching for one online or through various social media platforms.

Imitate other writers

Imitating other writers that you read can help you practice writing in different styles and tones. It can also help you understand how to use words to craft unique messages and give powerful arguments. If you're working in a writing profession, such as copywriting, imitating other writers can also help you practice for your career writing for different brands and companies.

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