Tech at the Intersections of Business Leadership & Professional Writing
Writing at the intersection of intellectual curiosity and tech know-how.
When new professionals enter the job market, they bring a wealth of diverse knowledge. They may have had a part-time job or an internship. They have varied educational training and backgrounds. They bring knowledge of multiple technologies and disciplinary fields. As the job market continues to get more and more competitive, educational programs emerge to help students meet new demands. That’s why, across universities and colleges in the United States, professional writing programs are becoming more popular and more effective. Companies realize the importance of hiring individuals who know much more than how to use technologies in their work. And they increasingly look for students with strong writing and communications skills. They look for students who understand the why as much as the how.
Students from a broad range of disciplines can find success in the business world. This is especially true when they’ve studied and developed their writing skills. As Steve Straus wrote in 2013: “I love English majors. I love how smart they are. I love their intellectual curiosity. And I love their bold choice for a major. Most of all, I love to hire them.”
“Intellectual curiosity,” Straus points out, leads to a more invested hire, someone likely to be “interesting, well spoken…[and] take a position and defend it with logic and reason.” Simply put: students who have studied writing—whether as an English major or a student of professional writing courses—have a lot to offer.
What is professional writing?
Many English Departments house robust writing programs that offer breadth and depth across all kinds of writing development. English Departments typically offer courses in creative writing, academic research writing, professional writing, business writing, and even specialized topics courses in entrepreneurial writing and industry-specific writing practice (such as technical writing for engineers or science writing for STEM majors). These courses give college students assignments, projects, and content specific to their future career goals. Professional writing classes also give students lots of advice and practice writing resumes, cover letters, and other crucial professional documents. No matter a student’s future professional goals, professional writing courses give them a chance to:
- Test out their writing and communication skills
- Locate weak spots for future development
- Learn about the writing skills they already have
- Discover the writing required in their chosen industry
More and more, both students and their future employers consider professional writing skills as a key metric of success. From workplace writing and marketing courses to business management and tech-writing classes, students increasingly enter professional writing classes before they ever enter the professional world. The professional writing classroom is a space for experience and education to come together—and drive future success in the professional world. It’s a space designed to help students develop their professional identities, communication styles, and identify proficiencies.
Why does professional writing matter?
Whether a student has a clear career goal or wants to explore the possibilities they might find as they develop skills in their coursework, professional writing courses help them envision their future. These courses typically offer insights into the kinds of writing required in diverse workplace environments. By taking professional writing courses—and examining their own proficiencies in creativity, organization, strategy, and style—students explore the professional worlds they might one day inhabit.
Students who study why certain technologies make more sense for certain audiences understand the nuances of the professional world. In other words, professional writing students don’t just rely on tools to get their work done, but understand the impact that technologies have in their industry. They’re critical thinkers. And they apply their critical thinking skills beyond the status quo. They ask the questions that drive innovation, and by doing so, anticipate the kinds of communications technologies and tools we’ll need in the future.
What do students of professional writing learn?
As the skills developed in professional writing become more robust, and as students who take such courses prove themselves in the job market, these courses become more desirable. In many ways, these courses offer existing professionals the opportunity to make explicit which writing skills we hope our future business leaders take with them into the job market. These currently include how to network and interview effectively, perform professional research ethics and practices, and compose in business genres, such as business letters, memos, email, and invoices.
Additionally, students learn how to effectively implement the right technology at the right time. Some courses even partner with community businesses and non-profits to give students real-world experience. Students might run a local ad campaign, compose new website content, or jumpstart social media content for a small business.
In advanced courses, students learn credible and ethical research methodologies, how to take a sustained look at business problems from strategic, informed perspectives, and how to work as a project manager or team leader. They may write e-books, design effective how-to manuals, strategize and compose each step in a sophisticated email campaign, and build their own researched reports from brainstorming to final deliverable. Finally, they are pushed to investigate how, why, and when technology should come into play when solving problems.
The main point: students who write well, work well. And professional writing helps them develop a robust skillset for their future professional communications. Students of professional writing learn not just what the professional world requires, but how to make a difference in it. By weaving together training in professional technologies with a study of research methodologies, students develop the critical thinking skills the ever-competitive job market demands. When they apply their writing skills to diverse audiences and purposes, professional writing students make it more possible, and more likely, that technology will do good—will continue to solve real problems in effective ways—out there in the professional world.
Did your education prepare you adequately for the technologies you use in your job market? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, or get in touch at Info@2gshop.2ndgear.com!
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