Why Write for The BS: From the Desk of a Career Professional
By Kimberly White, M.A.
As a higher education professional who has worked in both career services and academic advising, I’ve seen (and graded) a lot of student work. While every professional could benefit from practicing their written communication skills, it’s incredibly important for students to spend a lot of time writing and reflecting on the industry of their choice. Writing for publications like The Bitter Student is a great way to share your knowledge, demonstrate your passion for a specific industry, and serve as a starting point for your own professional portfolio.
Contributing to any online space, whether it’s a blog, forum discussion, or even a group text, can be a little daunting. We become so focused on saying the right thing and sounding like we’re more articulate and composed than we actually are at times. I’ve found that the longer the word count, the more troublesome it can be to find the motivation to get started. So, why should you take the time to write for publications like The Bitter Student?
It sets you apart
Since I began my career as a higher education professional, I have told all of my students to truly reflect on what makes them unique. After serving on both sides of the hiring table, I’ve noticed that the smallest details can be the most crucial in moving you forward in the search process. The job search can be competitive no matter your industry, and it only becomes more difficult with limited professional experience. And, when hiring managers are tasked with reviewing 30-40 resumes each day, they can all start to look incredibly similar. What makes you stand out, when there are many qualified candidates applying for the same roles?
Your writing can serve as the spark that piques the interest of your future employer. Sharing a link to your professional portfolio on your resume is a great first step. In my previous job searches, I have had multiple interviewers mention my writing to me and ask me more about it. It’s served as a great opportunity to demonstrate my skill set and abilities with limited professional experience, especially for those first few interview cycles. Since my writing focuses on my professional interests, I’ve also been able to directly articulate my passion for topics such as academic advising and leadership by talking about my writing in an interview setting. In an interview setting, results and demonstration of your skills matter.
Soft skills are key
Written and oral communication skills are listed as an asset in nearly every job description in most industries because they are soft skills that matter. By taking the time to practice writing about your professional interests and the industry of your choice, you are sharpening those soft skills without ever setting foot in the office.
This matters more than you might think it does, because you’ll be expected to draft cover letter after cover letter in the job search (and yes, hiring managers do read them). A cover letter can be tricky because the expectations are so high; ideally, you’ll want to take just one page to demonstrate your skill set and match it to the job description, while clearly articulating your passion and interest in the role, all off of one short paragraph and a list of duties! If you’re taking the time to practice your written communication skills, drafting cover letters and writing samples for job applications becomes much less frustrating because you’ll find it easier to articulate yourself as a professional who deserves to be taken seriously.
You’ll always be writing
There’s a reason why the aforementioned “soft skills” are so crucial to professional success. Most industries expect their professionals to engage in regular written communication, whether it involves working with colleagues or clients. You may be asked to produce reports, draft emails for your managers, coordinate outreach efforts, suggest edits to your company’s website, or manage social media accounts. All of these tasks require some sort of written communication, and it becomes much easier (and more impressive!) to produce quality content when you are always practicing your writing. While not all of your contributions must be specific to your industry, it doesn’t hurt to regularly brush up on your written communication skills. You’ll be more efficient, productive, and confident in your written voice – all key factors to your success as an emerging professional.
Have you thought about writing for The Bitter Student, but haven’t yet taken the leap? I would strongly encourage you to consider it. Guest posting is a great way to start finding and developing your professional voice.
Still nervous? The BS also offers free and thorough editing services and story coaching.
Find out more here.
Kimberly White is an academic advisor to pre-nursing students at the University Academic Success Center & Exploratory Advising at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also serves as a Professional Development Advisor to the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women, Alabama Alpha chapter. She is a recent graduate of the HESA program at Boston College and resides in Birmingham, Alabama. You can find Kimberly on Twitter at @whiteoi, on LinkedIn, or on her blog (Leadership Development and Life in the Yellowhammer State).