Communicating as a Professional

Aside from the education that qualifies you for entry into your chosen profession, what does it take to get a job in your profession and advance in the field? I'll answer that question for you: good communication skills. For the next paper you will "research" one of the keys to success in any profession--communication skills--and you will write an essay of 700 to 1000 words describing what you have learned. Even though the information will primarily come from a person rather than a published source, the paper will be fully attributed and correctly documented following MLA conventions as described in the Guide to Grammar and Writing and sections 9, 10 and 11 of the Writing Essentials handbook.

Communication skills are essential to success in any profession. To gather information for the next project, you will interview someone who has the job you ultimately aspire to as a professional (not necessarily an entry-level position you might shoot for), once you have become qualified for such a position. From this person, you will find out what communication and computer skills are necessary for success in the field. What sorts of writing, listening, speaking/oral presenting, reading/researching, and computer skills are required of someone in order to enter and be successful in your profession, and to advance in the field?

Before your interview, prepare some questions that you will want to ask your interviewee, and get as much specific information or as many examples as you can. Consider such questions as the following:

Is listening an important aspect of the job? Could you describe specific situations in which you have had to listen carefully?

What sorts of oral communication skills are required in the job? Presentations to individuals, clients, or customers? Presentations to other professional committees or groups? Formal or informal speeches? Could you give some specific examples of oral communication or oral presentations you have made related to your work?

How much job-related reading and research do you do, and how important is it? What sorts of things do you read most often? How much of your work time is devoted to reading? What sources of information or research do you consult most often?

What sorts of writing do you do for your job and who are the primary audiences? In a typical week, how much of your work time do you spend writing? Do you write in-house memos, case studies, committee reports, technical reports, instructions, promotional brochures, client or customer letters, articles for publication, letters or reports to other agencies or companies, etc.? Do you have some specific examples? (See if you can get photocopies of some of the writing that typifies written communication in that job field).

In what ways do you use computers for communicating in your job? Do you use the Internet for research or for communicating with others? Do you have or do you use a web site? Email? Word processing? Document storage?

Read these interview papers written by previous English 111 students.

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