What I learned in Professional Writing

It’s been over a year since I graduated from college (WHAT?!), so I figured it was about time for an ode to my favorite major of all time: Professional Writing (PW). For those of you who don’t know what Professional Writing is, shame on you. But I will explain. It is not only the best major ever, it prepares you for so many diverse and interesting job possibilities—communications, technical writing, nonprofit work, editing, freelance, marketing, and more. We work with websites, content, making things sound good, and other cool stuff.

That description doesn’t do it justice.

Anyway, I am here to discuss some things that MSU’s Professional Writing program taught me that weren’t necessarily in the curriculum. Let’s get started!

1) Audience.
Who is your audience? That is probably the most important thing I learned in Professional Writing. It changed the way that I write, design, and even think. Who is going to be reading this and who do I want to be reading? How can I get the audience I want? It’s an important question that many people forget to ask themselves.

2) Communication, dear friends.
People aren’t so good at communicating. In fact, it is rare to find someone who is actually able to communicate what they mean, want, need, whatever. But PW taught me so much about how to communicate effectively, and when I took that into the professional world it wound up being one of the most valuable things I learned. Learn where you are failing in your communication and do your best to bridge the gap.

3) Internet presence is important in today’s world.
I see so many companies and businesses taking social media for granted, or thinking that it couldn’t possibly help them. PW helped teach me just HOW important social media is, and how it can help your business/company/whatever you do. Having a digital presence is more valuable than any billboard could ever be, and not a lot of people understand that or know how to utilize it. That’s why they need us…

4) It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
And do I make a lot of freaking mistakes or what.

5) Sometimes you can call in sick.
Seriously, though. If you feel like you might stab someone in the eye if you have to go into work, don’t. It will be better for your work ethic, your health, and everyone else’s well being if you just play hooky.

6) Alcohol helps.
Yeah, I think this is self-explanatory.

7) You should always be studying and learning more about your field. 
You should never grow complacent. When I was at school, there was this one class I took about editing, and part of our “homework” was to read editing blogs. I cannot even begin to explain how much this helped me in the class, and the knowledge I gained has been infinitely valuable. And the same goes with your career. I took that skill with me into the professional world, and always trying to learn and gain more knowledge about what I’m doing has really kept me ahead of the game.

8) Networking is WHAT YOU SHOULD DO. 
Find networking events in your city. Make contacts. Go out to dinner with people. Keep up with old pals. It’s how you get where you want to go.

9) Now is the time to do what you want.
I’m 23 years old. I have so much of my life ahead of me, and so much freedom right now to do what I want. Now is the time to figure out what exactly I want to do for the rest of my life, and to take the steps to get there. Stop being a scaredy cat and just do it. This goes for you, yes you reading this blog. Get out there.

Vanessa is a digital media coordinator by day and a writer, novelist, and pretty badass cook by night. She loves used bookstores, is way too serious about tea, and doesn’t give a damn if she wears the same outfit 2 days in a row. She totally wants to be your friend, so you should follow her on twitter & maybe check out her writing blog.
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2 thoughts on “What I learned in Professional Writing

  1. I loved this post 🙂 I am also a PW grad (class of 2010!), and reading this helped reiterate some of the great things that the program and the field have brought into my life. Some of which I do now, and some I need to do more of… Great work. Love the blog.

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