As we talked about in our last blog post, millennials are often under scrutiny for just about everything in the workplace, and writing is no different. We are a generation that is known for communicating as if we are on Facebook or Twitter, and not in a clear and concise professional manner. While these mediums may not promote the most technical writing, at least they promote communication. While we receive all of these negative stereotypes, there is no reason an inability to professionally communicate should be included. By writing ineffectively, we are doing nothing but supporting those mantras. There are very simple fixes that can increase ones ability to write effectively significantly. By writing effectively and using rhetorical awareness and user-centered design, we can continue to drop these stereotypes and prove our worth in the work-place. Both Rhetorical awareness and user-centered design are effective in not only resumes, but cover letters, reports, memos, and just about anything else you can think of.
As DigitalWriting puts it, rhetorical awareness is simply “any act of communication you engage in has an audience and a purpose, and that the success or failure of your communication is based almost entirely on how well it meets the needs of that audience and fulfills that purpose.” If any one point is taken from this post, I want this quote to be it. While that one sentence may seem like the be-all and end-all, there are many different elements. By doing things such as looking at our audience and selecting the correct medium to reach them or understanding our audiences needs and wants, we can all become much more effective writers. I believe knowing either way your audience knows, or doesn’t know is predominant when writing a memo or business report. By being too technical you can confuse your audience, while being too casual and explaining information they already know will bore them.
User-Centered design is exactly what it sounds like, knowing your user and basing the design on them. It is important to understand that you want to optimize the product for the users wants, rather than forcing them to accommodate their behaviors. According to Purdue Owl, there are five main take-aways to use user-centered design effectively. You need to consider your readers expectations, characteristics, goals, context, and how the document will be used rather than read. I believe user-centered design is most important when writing cover letters. Cover letters generally include many specifications about the job you are applying to, such as city, job title, job requirements and useful skills. By not understanding these specifications and using a user-centered design, it is very unlikely that an interview will even be given. Cover letter’s are your way in the door, and by not communicating your value effectively you may never make it in the door.
Professional communication is now absolutely vital to ones success in getting a job, and later in the workplace. Many employees send/receive hundreds of emails, business reports and memos a day, and actually understanding how to get your points across to your readers is often over-looked. In an age where time is money, fluffy and unnecessary information can often push the reader away immediately. This Article states that we should “put lengthy words on a diet” and “avoid unnecessary inflated words.” You should tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. Readers often want a “why am I reading this”, and “what can I do with it.” If these questions are easily answered, you are on the fast track to success.