Do you want a job?


Then you’d better learn to write because it turns out there’s more hanging on the line than just words. You’re very livelihood might be at stake.

In an article titled, “Why Johnny can’t write, and why employers are mad,” posted today on, writer Kelly Holland says,  “In survey after survey, employers are complaining about job candidates’ inability to speak and to write clearly.”

Turns out effective communication is a skill needed in school and the real business world.

So what can you do to increase your effective communication skills?

1: Consider adding a Minor in Writing and Rhetoric to your degree program. Here’s a description of the minor from the ChapmanUniversity 2012-2013 course catalog:

In the writing and rhetoric minor, students explore why and how people create texts. The required courses provide students with a foundational understanding of the field of rhetorical studies. Electives enable students to study a variety of methodological approaches to the study of language and writing and to gain expertise in rhetorical analysis and the production of complex texts. The minor requires a total of 21 credits, 15 of which must be upper-division.

2: Continually look for ways that the writing techniques we focus on in our class translate to writing assignments in other courses.

3: Practice effective writing techniques even in your casual communication.  For example, which text is more effective?
Just saw a partially eaten deer on the trail. It’s about 100 yards past the first gate.
Be careful of mountain lions today.

These are real life examples of the trail chatter my fellow hikers and I use to update each other.   Is it too dramatic to say that effective writing may be a matter of life or death?

About Catherine Keefe

Catherine Keefe is the founding and managing editor of *dirtcakes* a journal of poetry, creative nonfiction, art and photography. Her creative nonfiction essays, interviews and book reviews have appeared nationally. She teaches undergraduates how to Write About Literature, or Write Creative Nonfiction, or Compose Self at Chapman University in Orange, CA.
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