WRITING IN THE WORKPLACE
In study after study, researchers have discovered that college graduates report similar trends about the writing they do on the job. The graduates surveyed consistently stress that they spend much time writing and that writing affects job performance and advancement. They also consistently mention as important certain skills and the ability to write certain kinds of documents.
The Importance of Time Spent Writing
People in careers do a lot of writing. College graduates spend the equivalent of one day per week – and often more writing. Cairo J Barnum and Robert Fischer, who interviewed engineering technologists, found that 70 percent write a minimum of one day a week (9). Gilbert Storms, who surveyed business school graduates, found that 24 percent write one-third or more of their tire and 57 percent write one-half to one full day of every week (14). Writing is extremely important for moving ahead in any profession. As Figure 1.1 shows, almost all college graduates feel that writing is important, and three-quarters feel that writing is either very or critically important in their jobs. Graduates and employers also feel that writing ability helps individuals gain promotions. Barnum and Fisher found that nine out of ten graduates feel that “the ability to communicate has helped in: their advancement” (10). In another survey, one employer was very blunt: “Good writing skills are critical to career advancement. Without such skills ad-
van cement opportunities are limited” (Minors 6). Another study reported that employers feel this way: “Communication skills are as important or – in the minds of many top executives – more important for their [entry level employees’ advancement than their engineering skills” (Cronin 82).
Types of Documents/Types Of Skills
Whatever the field; college graduates report that they write the same types , of docuinents and need the same writing skills. The most common types of documents are:
Graduates also write progress reports, proposals to customers, technical descriptions; instructions, in-house proposals, long reports, and scripts for
speeches or presentations (Barnum and Fischer 11, Storms 16). The most important writing skills are :
Knowing how to organize
The other skills graduates frequently mention are structuring sentences, formatting reports, stating purpose to reader, and writing concisely. (Barnum and Fischer 11).
The rest of this book explains the writing types and skills that you need to know and provides many opportunities to practice them. As you (practice your writing, you will grow more confident in your ability to generate clear, effective technical writing, and you will be investing in your own career.