Few things are as intimidating for those starting in corporate America as writing reports, especially when you are coming from the outside. Whether you are new to the country, industry or workforce, this is a difficult process. When I started a research and development job as a recent chemistry Ph.D., I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that I was required to write a biweekly report adhering to an awkward list of rules, such as being under one page but with no restrictions on font. My peers' reports often consisted of text blocks of 10-point type compressed within quarter-inch margins, with no white space between paragraphs. My first attempt at a ‘biweekly’ was sent back with red marks all over it. The work was fine, but it was written for the wrong audience.
In consulting, analytical expertise is expected, but strong writing skills set the bar. In this article we speak to Eileen Harrington, consulting industry veteran and marketing communications expert, about the unique challenges facing consultants when it comes to writing, and some practical tools and approaches toward improvement.