Write for the Job? Strengthen Workplace Writing Skills with the SJSU Writing Center

Career Blog

Published: October 7, 2020 by Jillian Collins

A well-written 14-page paper is great for a grade. But would you want to read a 14-page email? Probably not! This is why you need the expertise of the SJSU Writing Center, an incredibly valuable professional development resource often overlooked by students. As you launch your career, you’re likely to find that the employer who wants you also wants you to be an effective business communicator. That’s where the Writing Center can provide you with a career competitive edge.

A Formula to Consider

Workplace communications expectations are wildly different than academia. For example, ask yourself if you can do the following:

  • compose a position of inquiry email?
  • effectively compose your SJSU Handshake and LinkedIn profiles so that they draw attention to your valuable skills, i.e., the ones that appeal to employers?
  • write a clear, concise internal business memo that showcases your professional analysis, conclusions, and recommendations?

At a time when we’re not sure what LIS skills are going to be most in demand in our “new normal” (when it arrives), one thing is constant in any field: being able to communicate effectively will help you advance in your career. This is why, even during the COVID pandemic, it’s smart to take advantage of the SJSU Writing Center, which is here for you regardless of social-distancing constraints (although there have been some changes to follow health guidelines.)

Below are some of the Writing Center’s services/resources you’re likely to find most helpful.

Stand Out Services

  • The Writing Center staff has your back with Homegrown Handouts. Homegrown Handouts is where you can find more than past participle principles! Professional correspondence, composition, and document types are right there. One thing I found helpful is this PDF explaining what a memo is, and how to write one-diagrams of headings, placement, and everything! 
  • The Write Attitude is their official blog, with content that ranges from advice from professionals to stress relief posts. I really appreciate the use of puns, word play, and how the creative meets the content you crave.
  • Even if you are overwhelmed by your inbox, subscribe to the Writing Center’s listserv, because it’s a great way to learn more about additional services the team offers. Also, check out the Workshop Calendar, which allows you to see all the free workshops being offered and register for them. 

Critical thinking skills and full understanding of subject matter is important, but being able to demonstrate those strengths in various professional writing situations is equally valuable. Being able to deliver compelling, concise correspondence in a career will help document and demonstrate your professional strengths and help take you from a name on a résumé to someone with a killer reputation for great LIS skills and an ability to communicate them effectively.

Quick Jot from Jillian

I personally struggle with writing. My main problem is verbosity. When I worked in offices, my bosses would look at me and ask, “Why did you send me a 6-paragraph email? I didn’t need all that!”

But what constituted the “all that” was never defined. I am so used to writing in an academic sense. Or maybe that’s just the “voice” I write with. At last, someone pulled me aside and said “Hey, you need to write less. You get the point across, but it’s always muddled in some type of unrelated stuff.” 

It is harsh to hear, but I needed to hear it. It is hard to retrain your brain. Many times before, I would dig in my (high) heels and think, “No! I am sending you all of this because it is exact and important and you do not even know how to…” well, you get the drift. That isn’t productive. No one is perfect.

But everyone can learn. 

Find Out More

Selected Career Opportunities

  • Project Metadata Archivist – LAC Group
    For more, see this position on LibGig.
  • Woodland School Library and Digital Media Specialist – Portola Valley, California 
    For more, see this position on ALA JobList

Mark Your Calendars! 


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