How to Improve Your Writing Skills for Career Success
Not feeling very confident with your writing skills? If you’re looking to kickstart your career as a writer, you need to make sure that you have the right skills to impress and win over your clients. Most long-term relationships start with a single bid or
Career Expert & Blogger
In this post, we’re going to be looking at some tips and tricks that you can follow to improve your writing skills for boosting your chances of career success.
1. Learn the Not-So-Commonly-Known (but Important) Grammar Rules
It’s not going to be pleasant to have your work or bid rejected due to such errors that you don’t even know about.
Squinting modifiers, dangling modifiers, comma splices…all these fancy-sounding errors can be committed even by experienced writers. They can have a negative effect on the quality of your content, which can consequently risk your success in the writing biz.
So, when it comes to brushing up on your grammar skills, you have to get familiar with more than just the good old apostrophe uses comma placements, "an" and "a" differentiation, etc.
One of the easiest and simplest ways to learn about these types of “advanced” grammar rules is to take an online course or read a couple of reliable articles/blog posts on the topic.
But we’re not going to send you off just like that. We’ll list some of those grammar errors here before moving on:
- Comma splices
- Run-on sentences
- Dangling modifiers
- Squinting modifiers
- Unclear antecedents
- Misused homophones
2. Make a Habit to Read Daily
Arguably, reading is a better way to improve writing skills than the actual writing itself.
When you read content written by an expert or a professional, there’s a lot that you passively learn. You learn new words, new ways to form sentences, correct application of grammatical rules as well as the proper employment of colloquialisms. You can also soak up the writing style and tone of the author (which is fine…for beginners).
So, apart from learning about new grammar rules and whatnot, here are some things that you can read to build your skills:
- Blog posts
You have to do it regularly because a broken and interrupted habit won't be able to benefit you much.
3. Learn How to Use Complex Vocabulary
Unless you’re writing a research paper, it’s not going to be a good idea to flaunt your vocabulary to your readers. This is something that rookies can do a lot, and it can make their work look childish and amateurish.
But, despite that, it’s always a good idea to have a good stock of alternative words and synonyms on standby.
Basically, here’s the thing.
Nowadays, a lot of writing careers center around blogging and copywriting: both of which are done for the perusal of the general public. Due to this, using complex vocabulary can, far from showing your proficiency, make you look pretentious.
But even in these types of content, you can use some advanced words if you do it properly. Keep in mind using advanced words is not useless. If you use them correctly, they can make you look like an expert and a professional.
If you want to use a complex word in your content, it's always a good idea to somehow explain it on the spot. By 'explain,' we don't mean that you should start a two-paragraph exposition on the particular word. Rather, you can just use it in conjunction with an easier word so that the readers can know that they both mean the same thing.
For example, if you ever need to use an old-fashioned or archaic word in your write-up, put a synonym alongside it. Yes, exactly like this sentence. Even if someone does not know the meaning of 'archaic,' they'll automatically understand it due to the word 'old-fashioned.'
4. Learn Complex Vocabulary
In the section above, we did huff and puff a lot about using complex words correctly. But, if you want to improve your writing skills, you have to learn some of those, to begin with.
There are a couple of different ways in which you can improve your vocabulary. For one, you can just grab a thesaurus and start swotting it up. But unless you have a photographic memory and an IQ of around 150, this technique is not going to be very effective.
An easier approach that you can try out is to take some vocabulary-learning exercises from the internet. These exercises usually come in the form of MCQs, and they can be helpful since you can learn new words by associating them with their simpler meanings.
And of course, the step that we mentioned at number 2, i.e., making a reading habit, can also be a good way to improve vocabulary.
5. Always Remember to Check and Eliminate Plagiarism
You can spend a couple of years improving your writing skills, but it's all going to be for nothing if you don't take the right precautions against content plagiarism.
For people in the writing biz, plagiarism is something akin to a disease – something that can destroy and dismantle the integrity and reputation of an author and leave it in tatters.
Before you submit your work to your client (or company), you always have to check it for accidental plagiarism. If the report comes back showing that a significant portion (say, 15% or 20%) is plagiarized, you have to eliminate those parts.
To get rid of the plagiarized parts, a simple step that you can take is to simply delete them from the content. However, this can be difficult if the coincidentally plagiarized bits play a role in explaining a vital concept or definition, etc.
In these sorts of situations, you can try paraphrasing the plagiarized portions of the text. By paraphrasing the text, you’ll be able to change the words and phrases in it…which will, in turn, remove the exact replication.
There are different ways in which you can paraphrase text. You can do it manually by just going through the sentences and making some alterations here and there. But this method can be time-taking. To save your precious time, you can delegate this task to a paraphrasing tool instead.
There are a lot of paraphrasing tools that you can use, but we recommend using the following since they work smartly:
- Editpad.org (best for students)
- Paraphraser.io (best for researchers)
- Paraphraseonline.io (best for academic professionals)
A good paraphrasing tool can make different types of changes to the words and sentences of the content without disturbing the overall context. If you want to find such a tool, simply head over to the internet. There are loads of them available for free that you can easily use.
Improving writing skills is not a two-day task. It’s a constant and perennial process that requires constant effort and attention.
In the post above, we’ve highlighted some steps and tips that you can follow to enhance your writing skills. If you give them proper attention and dedication, these steps will help you take your skills to a professional level.