Careers Finding a Job Important Writing and Editing Skills That Employers Value Share PINTEREST Email Print Ivan Solis / Getty Images Finding a Job Job Searching Skills & Keywords Resumes Salary & Benefits Letters & Emails Job Listings Job Interviews Cover Letters Career Advice Best Jobs Work-From-Home Jobs Internships Career Planning Table of Contents Expand What Are Writing and Editing Skills? Types of Writing and Editing Skills Strong Grammar Skills Research Skills Word Processing Software Collaboration and Communication Technical Writer Skills More Writing and Editing Skills By Alison Doyle Alison Doyle Alison Doyle is a job search expert and one of the industry's most highly-regarded job search and career experts. Alison brings extensive experience in corporate human resources, management, and career development, which she has adapted for her freelance work. She is also the founder of CareerToolBelt.com, which provides simple and straightforward advice for every step of your career. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 09/26/20 Written language skills are an integral part of many positions in almost every industry. Even staff positions and freelance opportunities that center around writing or editing skills can occur in multiple fields that don’t overlap. From textbook proofreading to creative writing for websites, a writer’s profession exists comfortably within every industry imaginable. Most people in the United States can write, but few can write well. Not all professionals understand the nuance of words, syntax, and style to properly hand out complex ideas in digestible ways for readers from various walks of life. What Are Writing and Editing Skills? The article you are reading right now was composed, edited, and redrafted before publication online. Sometimes writing and editing is done by a team (some writing and some editing) or by one person. Because written communication can be challenging, taking great care ensures that the content is accurate and read-worthy. Yet, there are certain core skills that all writers and editors share. It is one thing to write for fun or privately in a diary. It is another thing entirely to write professionally. Even those that are natural writers may not do well professionally unless they practice and improve their abilities. On the other hand, many professional writers were at one time terrible writers. That being said, writing is an acquired skill that can be developed with practice. Most writers have at least a bachelor’s degree. However, most employers want to see samples of your writing before they take a look at your education and work history. Types of Writing and Editing Skills Strong Grammar Skills Even if you are writing with the assistance of an editor, you must make your points clear. As such, you cannot write well if you do not have a good grasp of spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and all that good grammar entails. Automatic spell-checkers and similar software aids are useful, but they aren’t fully reliable. Excellent writing and editing still requires an analytical, detail-oriented human eye. If you are familiar with a specific usage style, such as The Chicago Manual of Style or Associated Press, put that down. And if you're trained in other style guides such as medical or legal, mention those as well. ProofreadingRevisingDraftingSpellingStructureStylePunctuationStrong VocabularyUsing the Rhetorical TriangleDevise StructureEstablish ToneForming a ThesisPlanningBuilding Outlines Research Skills As a professional writer, you could be called upon to write on topics you don't know much about. This requires research, sometimes online. If you are good at finding and assimilating large amounts of information quickly, say so—and provide examples from your history to prove it. AnalysisReportingProper Use of Search EnginesData AnalysisInterpreting StatisticsReport WritingOnline SearchesIdentifying AudienceContent ReviewContent Management Word Processing Software Some clients require the use of certain word processing programs, file sharing services, collaboration apps, blogging platforms, or website templates. Projects may also require other types of software, such as spreadsheets or video editing. The more of these you already know how to use, the better. Be sure to list software programs relevant to the job description on your resume, especially if the description specifically states that they are a requirement. If you can advise your client on which programs, apps, and platforms to use, that is even better. Content Management Systems (CMS) Microsoft Office MS Word Document Sharing Google Docs WordPress Word Processing DropBox Pro Printing Layout Document Layout Final Manuscript Production Mark-ups Marking Color Breaks Marking Head Levels Typesetting Working Sketches Collaboration and Communication Writing is often collaborative, while editing is always collaborative. The reality is that many people hire writers and editors because their own communication skills are poor. To succeed, you must be able to work effectively with others, even when they are difficult to get along with or understand. Active listening and assessment skills will go a long way toward building a positive rapport with your clients, no matter what their personality or background. Conducting InterviewsNote TakingCoordinatingProject ManagementEmotional IntelligenceTeamworkAuthor MeetingsConsultingContractsProject CoordinationVerbal CommunicationWritten CommunicationWorking with Reviewers Technical Writer Skills A technical writer prepares instructional and supporting documents to communicate complex technical information in a user-friendly manner. They develop and gather feedback from customers, designers, and manufacturers to help identify areas of confusion, and present solutions to the design and development teams. A technical writer is responsible for creating FAQs, charts, images, and training documents that can be easily understood by people in a wide range of backgrounds. A technical writer must have strong communication skills, along with exceptional writing and grammar skills. A bachelor’s degree in Journalism, English, or Communications is often required. However, some companies require a degree and/or knowledge in a specialized field, like computer science, engineering, or finance. Ability to Work AutonomouslyAnalyze Information and Draw ConclusionsCreate Diagrams, Drawings, and Charts to Explain Product UsageDevelop and Maintain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)Develop Style GuideEnsure Consistency Excellent Grammar and PunctuationExcellent Planning and Organizational SkillsGather User Feedback Generate Help Files and FAQsHelp Users Understand Intricate and Technical InformationKnowledgeable of Industry RegulationsLimit Product ComplexityMaintain and Update Document LibraryManage Documentation ProcessMultitask AssignmentsPrepare Internal and External Technical DocumentsProvide Solutions to Product IssuesReview Documents for Completeness and AccuracyStandardize Product ContentStrong Attention to DetailStrong Understanding of Product Features and User NeedsProduct Knowledge Understand Information Design and ArchitectureWork Closely with Technical and Non-Technical Team MembersWork Well Under Pressure to Meet DeadlinesWrite and Edit Product PublicationsWrite and Organize Instructional Documents More Writing and Editing Skills Identifying Theme Ethics Omni Media Multi-lingual Newsletters Business Storytelling Blog Writing Journalism News Writing Organizing Print Writing Proposal Writing Social Media Web Writing Presentation Writing Creative Writing Feature Writing Magazine Writing Infographics Inductive Reasoning Deductive Reasoning Logic Deadlines Stress Tolerance Lie Detection Establishing Rapport Gauging What Will Interest Readers Handling Criticism from Editors and Readers Incorporating the Right Data to Support Storylines Interviewing Experts Networking Protecting the Confidentiality of Sources Reading Comprehension How to Make Your Skills Stand Out Prepare a Portfolio: Besides a traditional resume, you will likely have to provide a portfolio of successfully completed projects and a collection of writing samples when you apply for work as a writer or editor. Be Ready to Provide Samples: For some positions, you may be asked to submit writing samples in place of or in addition to a cover letter. Choose those projects and writing samples that are most relevant to the client’s project. Use Skill Words During Job Interviews: In many cases, educational or work history or subject matter are not directly related to writing or editing might be relevant to a particular job or project. Always be on the lookout for the possibility that your special expertise may be relevant.