“What’s the point of writing essays?”
Executive communication expert Dianna Booher (2005) insists that being able to express yourself – through your speech and through your writing – is the most important skill for career advancement.
That’s a fair question. Aside from seeing how well you understand a course’s learning material, your instructors get you to write essays because effective communication skills are critical in any profession. According to a foundational study, 96% of executives identify communication and interpersonal skills as the most valuable traits that an employee can have, even more so than work experience or education (Cline, 2005).
So how do you get those highly prized traits?
Writing is ground zero for developing effective communication skills. Through writing essays and reports, students learn how to clearly articulate their ideas in ways that are compelling to their audience. That is an invaluable skill to have.
One key area where communication is beneficial is the workplace, and communication is one of the most important skill areas that employers look for (Coyle, 2011, p. 195; Moore & Morton, 2017, p. 593). Highly developed communication skills can be a huge advantage in today’s competitive job market (Holmes et al., 2019, p. 26).
Executive communication expert Dianna Booher (2005) insists that being able to express yourself – through your speech and through your writing – is the most important skill for career advancement. Those in charge can’t see how you do your job; they can only see the results, which are usually expressed in words. Employees must be able to effectively discuss the value of their work and how they contribute to an organization. Often getting the job depends on how well you can communicate what you have to offer.
To return to our original question, the point of writing essays is the investment that you are making in your own future. Every paper, every paragraph, every sentence that you write contributes to your career success.
Michael Gallant, MA, PhD Candidate
Booher, D. (2005). Communicating your ideas to make an impact. American Salesman, 50(7), 13-16.
Cline, S. (2005). Soft skills make the difference in the workplace. Colorado Springs Business Journal. https://go-gale-com.libaccess.lib.mcmaster.ca/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=ocul_mcmaster&id=GALE|A131102235&v=2.1&it=r
Coyle, J. P. (2011). Teaching writing skills that enhance student success in future employment. Collected essays on learning and teaching, 3: 195-200.
Holmes, A. F., Zhang, S., & Harris, B. (2019). An analysis of teaching strategies designed to improve written communication skills. Accounting Education, 28(1), 25-48. https://doi.org/10.1080/09639284.2018.1477055
Moore, T., & Morton, J. (2017). The myth of job readiness? Written communication, employability, and the ‘skills gap’ in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 42(3), 591-609. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03075079.2015.1067602
Morreale, S. P., & Pearson, J. C. (2008). Why communication education is important: The centrality of the discipline in the 21st century. Communication Education, 57(2), 224-240.
Reinsch, N. L., & Gardner, J. A. (2014). Do communication abilities affect promotion decisions? Some data from the c-suite. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 28(1), 31-57. DOI: 10.1177/1050651913502357Career, Community Corner News, Latest News, Tips Corner