Are you a young professional or recent graduate looking for ways to make yourself more valuable at work, or a more employable candidate at your dream company? Perhaps it’s time to brush up on your writing skills.
According to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, of all the skills desired by modern employers bringing on board millennials, a person’s ability to write well is the most important. The research reveals that more than 73% of employers and hiring managers view a candidate with strong written communication skills favorably, with the attribute ranked third on the list of most desired skills behind the ability to be a good team member and leadership skills.
Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp also highlighted the importance of hiring staff with strong writing skills in his book, “Rework:” “If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the best writer. [His/her] writing skills will pay off. That’s because being a good writer is about more than writing clear writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any candidate. Writing is making a comeback all over our society…Writing is today’s currency for good ideas,” he wrote.
So, if you want to be able to back up that line on your CV that says “excellent communication skills,” and become an irreplaceable asset at the office, you might want to consider one of these seven (free!) short writing courses.
7 (free!) short writing courses
Academic and Business Writing, edX
A good course for anyone already at an intermediate level, this course was originally taught at the University of California Berkeley and hones in on writing across different disciplines such as science, technology, literature, and in the social sciences. Commitment: 20-30 hours / five lessons
Different skills are needed to write for online than are needed for print, and the former begins with understanding how audiences consume content differently online. This course is perfect for all skill levels, and will show you how to tailor your writing style to the needs of online readers by optimizing web design, writing style, structure, and search engine optimization. Commitment: 16 hours / four lessons
Another ideal course for all levels, this quick introduction to business writing will help you to articulate your thoughts clearly and concisely in an office environment. Learn to pickup, correct, and ultimately avoid common business writing mistakes. Commitment: Four to eight hours / four lessons
With over 20,000 past students and well over 100 five-star reviews, this beginning course will teach you all the basics needed to master business writing. Learn how to ace a cover letter, craft a stella press release, or write a clear, concise, professional email. Commitment: Two hours / 10 lessons
Writing on Contemporary Issues: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace, MIT OpenCourseWare
A little more involved than some of the other short courses, this 34-hour introduction to online writing will teach you to craft your own personal voice, and to write essays that engage elements of modern American pop culture. Commitment: 32 hours / 21 lessons