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How can you prepare for Professional Writing while earning your Degree?

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There are ways to craft your writing skills even before applying for college. However, to make this a career, you may want to consider enrolling in a professional, creative, or technical writing program. After four years of study, you should graduate with the skills to seek employment as a writer. However, this is not always the best approach. We provided an example in our post titled- Where can I work with a Degree in Professional or Technical Writing? There are instances where a degree in the subject matter you are to write about is more important than a degree in professional writing.

Setting aside the aforestated premise, we will proceed with ways in which you can improve your chances of seeking a job in writing. Particularly, involving a technical or similar format.

Pre-college

You begin honing your writing skills in high school. Add English, literature, creative writing, or related classes to your studies. If there is a school newspaper, volunteer to write about events, sports, and opinion columns. In conjunction with these, you need to become a voracious reader. Join the local library or use online library sources, such as Overdrive to read library books on a computer or tablet.

How important is reading for overall comprehension and verbal skills? A 2001 study published in the Journal of Direct Instruction by Professors Anne Cunningham and Keith Stanovich addressed this question. This study concluded that a student’s vocabulary in Grade 4 -6 improved with the volume of reading.

Despite the evidence that avid reading should begin during elementary school years, you can still make up for this time. The researchers also concluded that the intellectual activity of reading has a positive effect on cognition regardless of age.

During College

Most universities have a newspaper or magazine usually run by English or journalism students. Even if you are not taking one of these classes, you may be able to write about your major. There might be a guest feature that you could submit an article.

If you are taking classes online, you could start a blog. It is one of the quickest ways to build a writing portfolio. You can take a unique perspective on a common subject and inject your personality into it. A Google search populates hundreds of thousands of sites related to blogging. You can set up your blog free or subscribe to a service such as Bluehost for $2.75 per month. Some of the more successful blogs generate enough income to support the blogger. If you are as fortunate, your career in writing has become a success!

You may aspire to be a technical writer that entails technical manuals, brochures, online marketing, briefs, or technical reports and correspondence. If you wrote any scientific papers or technical essays in college, then you should set these aside for your portfolio. Especially one on which you earned a boastful grade. You want to supply proof of your ability to write about a technical or scientific subject with excellent results.

Another phase of your preparation is competency in MS Word, PowerPoint, Adobe Framemaker, and Office 365. Some jobs may also require knowledge of creating and editing graphics. These are essential in the event, during an interview, the person asks-What is the difference in XML and HTML? What is the difference between Word and Framemaker?

Online Sources

Writing is a craft that needs continuous improvement. This could be in creative writing, grammar, punctuation, the use of adjectives/adverbs, essay writing, and many more. Online learning sources offer free or nominally priced courses. An internet search reveals many choices, for example, Universal Class. Most of their writing classes range between $75 and $90 for 12 lessons, which take an average of 11 hours to complete.

Another source to consider is Udemy that offers student discounts. They claim to have the world’s largest course selection at 80,000. The category of “technical writing” displays 1,234 results. There is a $14.99-course titled-Technical Writing: Master Your Writing Career. A second example is a $199.99-16-hour course titled-Professional Technical Writing: Advance Your Writing Skills. You can also learn about XML, Business English, writing for aerospace, blogging, editing, and numerous others. Many at only $14.99.

Conclusion

Your accomplishments in the years prior to and during college can pay dividends in an interview. Online classes indicate initiative and the desire to improve all aspects of the art of writing. If the interviewer asks why have you chosen professional/technical writing as a career, you can elaborate on all the steps taken. You verbalize these accomplishments during job interviews. You should not discount their significance, particularly when you lack experience in the workplace.

Additional Resources:

What Will I Study in a Journalism Degree Program?

Where Can I Work with a Journalism Degree?

What Salary Can I Earn With a Degree in Journalism?

What is the Difference in a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing and Technical Writing?

What is the difference between a Degree in Technical Writing and Journalism?

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