Tag Archives: writing

Four skills every college graduate needs

I was shooting the breeze with a college professor friend of mine the other day because his son is getting married this coming June. We were musing over where the time goes and the topic turned to “kids today” as he was also trying to entice his nephew to an unpaid internship in his department. He is set to graduate after six years of pursuing a degree in journalism… no change that to communications… no, wait English.. oh, what I meant was education.

His mother — my friend’s sister — called him in a moment of panic, pleading with him to give her son an internship so he could build a reel or book of work. She does not want him sitting around the house, unemployed and unemployable for the summer and the following year. Worse, she does not want to foot the bill for grad school.

All of this led to a discussion about the core skills that every college graduate needs — regardless of the degree — but especially those with a Liberal Arts degree. They are; photography, videography, writing and social media.

The technical challenge of building web sites and containers to hold things has already been solved. Anyone can waltz into WordPress or Tumblr and set up an online presence in minutes without any coding skills whatsoever. You can set up a brand page on Facebook and Google+ without any design skills as the format is already handled. If there is anything more complicated, chances are you can buy a plugin to handle the task.

If you really wanted to branch out and customize your basic site, there are thousands of templates and skins to slap onto your site. While it may not make your site entirely unique, it comes close enough.

But what these sites need most is good content.

Photos. Videos. Blog posts. Social media engagement.

Learn these skills and you will never be unemployable.


Why AP style matters everywhere

A few days ago, one of my twitter followers, who is an engineer, asked if writing in AP style or having an APStylebook matters in engineering. I responded with a whole-hearted and emphatic “YES! AP style matters regardless of your industry.”

Here’s why.

Everything is media-ready
We live in a 24/7/365 media world. When you write in AP style, all your reports, product descriptions, blog posts, field notes, etc., can be quickly repurposed into a media-ready, editorial-friendly press release or quote. When your press releases are the first to market and the easiest for reporters to use, you will become the go-to expert source for your industry whenever any news breaks. Reporters will trust your releases more because they are organized like a news story, not sales-y and gets to the point quickly. And they really appreciate not having any typos.

Think like a reporter
It is the job of a reporter to tell a story quickly and clearly. When you practice writing in AP style, you sharpen your ability to tell your industry story in terms others can quickly understand. Your product descriptions, process explanations and field notes become clearer and more organized, making them more valuable for your company. You will also begin to see almost everything as an interesting story to be told instead of just “normal stuff we do every day.”

Your writing becomes more consistent
Few things are as frustrating or confusing as inconsistent writing that describes the same process or story. Same location as that? Is that the same person doing that thing you were describing before? When you write in AP style, you hone your writing discipline by adhering to the rules when they exist.

There you have it. Three good reasons why you should write in AP style, regardless of the industry you are in.