Do This to Discover Your Unique Writing Style
A few weeks ago, a friend who’s applying for a new job asked me to check his cover letter. He knows I have a background in hiring and career advice; so wanted to get my thoughts.
The content of the letter was great. He did a great job explaining why he’s a good fit. My only feedback was that his cover letter didn’t sound like him at all! It sounded like something anyone could write.
“This letter doesn’t do your personal style any justice,” I said. He’s a person with a cheerful personality who’s really thoughtful. But I couldn’t sense that in his letter.
A writing style is unique because of the writer’s personality. I think we all know that intuitively
But when many of us start writing, we hide our personality. As a result, our writing becomes weak. Sometimes, we even do it without noticing. Here’s why:
- We care too much about what other people might think. We’re trying to impress. Especially when we’re writing for specific readers, like potential employers or publishers.
- We compare ourselves with writers we admire. This happens a lot to fiction and nonfiction writers/bloggers. We try to emulate others too much.
- We lack confidence in our writing. So we try to hide behind fancy words and jargon.
- We’re used to writing under industry formats, like academic or legal writing, that after some time we forget our personal voice.
We consider many things when we write something valuable; cover letters, articles, books, etc. Writing is a form of thinking after all.
So how do we ensure our writing reflects who we really are? The solution is simpler than most people think. Here it is:
Read your writing out loud
This is such an obvious thing that most writers can’t be bothered doing it. They might go over a piece of writing 20 times to check for typos or other grammar errors. But that’s not what makes your writing more effective.