Remember when you were struggling along with factoring in Algebra class? But you thought to yourself, it doesn’t matter, because you’ll never have to do factoring in real life. Well, many of us were hoping the same thing in English class: “It doesn’t matter, right? This will never come up in real life.”
It might be true that once you pass the age of 24, no one will ask you again about The Great Gatsby’s statement on the American Dream (probably). However, you’re going to need to know how to write effectively for your whole life, in numerous scenarios. Sadly, it’s something that you’ll never be free of, even if you consider yourself more of a numbers-guy. Spell check can be handy, but our increasingly-digitized world creates more and more scenarios where we communicate through text instead of voice, and the machines won’t always catch your mistakes or help you be effective. You will continue to rely on and be judged by how well you can use spelling, grammar, and overall writing skills in order to get your point across. Here are a few instances where any writing skills that you garnered from your English classes will come in handy:
The internet has made it so easy to communicate with people professionally. Many workplaces send out memos, set up appointments, and troubleshoot issues or share ideas through group chats, or emails. Much of the time, instead of waiting for a time when two parties are both free and can talk out details, we send text back and forth, because it’s something that we can do at our own convenience.
Here’s the thing: if you can’t communicate without spelling or grammar errors on these messages, it can immediately undermine your authority in the workplace. People will think it’s a reflection on your overall intelligence, attention to detail, and ability to work with others. However, even managing to stay error-free (perhaps through cutting and pasting out of a word processor that will flag your errors) won’t save your professional emails. You need to know how to communicate your point quickly and effectively, so that there aren’t misunderstandings that slow down productivity and increase friction between coworkers and clients.
That’s right, dating. Today, so much of our relationships are conducted through text. If you’re dating online, you’ll need to be able to set up a profile that presents you well at just a glance. How you communicate and whether there are errors in your type matters!
Even if you’re not an online dater, your writing skills will matter more than you think during early courtship. Most relationships begin with some back-and-forth texting, and texting, Snapchats or other forms of messaging will still be used throughout your relationship. Even once you’ve gotten past the point where your partner will be judging you for your spelling skills, it’s important to be able to convey your point effectively. In the absence of other cues, like voice tone or facial expression, we often read into text really closely to understand what the other person means. It’s also very easy to misconstrue text messages, which could lead to huge challenges for your relationship if you’re not careful with your wording.
You may not have gone into marketing as a profession, but you’re still doing it all the time. Today, marketing and brand identity are woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. It’s incorporated into how we browse, what we post on social media, and what we talk about with our friends. Many of us will, at some point in our lives, find ourselves marketing ourselves or our business. And for the past decade, a huge part of online marketing has been content-based. As this article states, one of the best things that you can do to develop your small business is to up your online content. It enables interaction between customers and the business, and makes you more visible in search engines.
Many of us think really hard about how we dress for a job interview. First impressions matter, right? But the truth is that you’re judged on your literacy skills long before you’re judged on your suit. While you may have friends and even professional advisors helping you out with your resume, checking it over and over again, there’s usually no one to help you with the little extras that go with job applications. A cover letter, an introductory email with the resume attached, and the freewriting parts of an application, will all test your literary skills and be one of the primary ways that a prospective employer judges you.
Many employers report that they look up job candidates on social media before an interview, and they’ll probably be emailing you back and forth to set up appointments. That’s right. Your future job prospects, no matter what field you go into, could depend largely on how well you listened in 11th grade English class.