The art of written persuasion is sadly lacking in the modern business world.
Written communication is as succinct as possible. One-word emails are not unusual, and the abbreviations of text messaging and Twitter are acceptable for many millennial-oriented companies. You’ve got to be down with the kids, right?!?
It is true that the Millennial generation and the more recent Generation Z have innate skillsets and technological knowhow that would blow the mind of many older employees, but it definitely isn’t true that fresh grads are anything like illiterate. Having recently written theses and dissertations, the writing skills of a recent grad may even surpass those of tired industry veterans.
Allowing fresh graduates to contribute to the business with their writing skills is a great way to ease them into the business and make their first mark on the company. They could freshen up some tired sales material, or be let loose on the company blog. They should be tasked with meeting minutes and follow-up email correspondence – attention to detail is something that grads tend to do well, and this will help them understand the importance of this in the work environment.
Writing is often a permanent record for any reader. What you say matters. How you say it matters nearly equally as much. Most important correspondence will be read, re-read and analysed for meaning – getting graduates’ input when putting the final polish a piece of communication can be an investment well worth making.
It is also a great way of getting them involved and responsible for something that they know and understand. No matter what their degree subject, most grads will have focussed on their writing skills, and all of them will at least feel comfortable with these sorts of tasks. When a first job can sometimes seem like fumbling around in the dark, these communication-oriented activities are something familiar, something where a graduate can gain a vital sense of achievement in those early weeks.
Having said all this, it often surprises me when grads don’t spend enough time on their CVs and cover letters. Either that, or it can show they are yet to translate their skills for commercial use. Companies expect their writing skills to be perfect, and when a CV is hastily written, it is an obvious sign of a graduate’s wider attitude towards other things. You might not have had a whole lot of work experience, but you can still write persuasively about what sort of things you would like to do with your life and how you might add value to your potential employer. These are the basics, but they get ignored far too often.
Companies value the writing skills of their graduates – when a grad is looking for a job, they need to be showcased wherever possible.