According to a CNN.com article, more than half of all employers consider a candidate’s writing skills an important factor in hiring and promotion decisions. But according to a Wall Street Journal article, businesses are finding that “it’s a daunting challenge these days to hire literate M.B.A. students who can write a coherent letter or memo.”

The first article provides some basic tips for improving one’s writing – things such as:

  • Know what you want to say in advance
  • Keep it simple with short, succinct sentences and bullets
  • Identify your reader
  • Trust your ear and write as you would talk

These are all well and good, but if you really want to enhance your writing, you need to spend more time writing. And you need to dedicate time to reading good writing. You may even want to look into getting some coaching.

In this time of the 24/7 media cycle, young PR practitioners have placed an emphasis on speedy, mass communications at the expense of quality, personal communications. I recently met two new graduates at an industry networking luncheon and helped introduce them around. One e-mailed me right after the event in a typical choppy digital style. The other took the time to pen a personal and thoughtful note. Guess which one made the greater impact? Yes, part of it was that she took the time to write it – but it was also much better written than the e-mail.

I consider myself a decent writer, but I also struggle over every word and I always know that the resulting product could be better. And there are few things as inspiring and frustrating as reading someone else’s great writing.

Good writers are never satisfied with what they’ve written. But the difference between good writers and everybody else, is that good writers are always working to improve. Always.