How Pursuing Writing and Design Has Given Me the Competitive Edge

photoshop image of ink bottle and bottled message

A resume showcasing our technical strengths can give us one notch above fellow candidates who are hunting for the same job or vying for the same college. Gaining experience is an integral part of our personal development, and the pursuit of relevant skills goes a long way in accelerating our career trajectory. Yet more often than not, we would find ourselves facing a great deal of dilemma when deciding which skill sets to acquire. How do we know what is relevant, when we either find interest in so many fields, or don’t even know where our passion lie in at all?

I had the same conundrum while trying to align my interests and professional development. Luckier than many, I was able to identify my knack for arts and also a special affinity for reading. I grew up drawing animals on channel Discoveries and sceneries I’d seen in my trips, or immersing myself in sci-fi and fantasy novels, wondering what it’s like to craft my own. I started experimenting with digital arts by learning Photoshop and making ‘manipulation artworks’. Subsequently, I mastered Illustrator tools to design branding materials for several businesses and independent clients. Meanwhile, I created my first piece of fiction novella, ‘Finnick Priority’, which has ignited my life-long passion for writing. I also took up several internships or freelance works as a content writer.

I had ended up pursuing both writing and design as part of my career preparation, but not because I was born an artist or a writer. Rather, I believe these are highly-regarded skills that could give me a competitive advantage in the fierce job market. Take a look at the content below to see why writing and design are not just leisure activities but are strongly preferred skills that can get you a lift above your competitors.

Related: 4 Bulletproof Ways to Stand Out from the Crowd in 2018

1. Writing and Design are complementary skills

Persuasive writing techniques and visually concise infographics are key to presenting your proposition in an academic or business report. As such, the mastery of both of these skills can give you the freedom to express your ideas clearly and craft a compelling presentation to your superiors.

One good example is a marketing executive who is responsible for copywriting marketing collaterals such as brochures, flyers, invitations or EDMs. At the same time, he or she may also need to work with advertising agencies, creative directors and product packaging houses to enhance the visual appeal of the brand. Careers like this not only demand for one’s capacity to write well but also a creative design capability.

Even if you’re a still a high-schooler or a college-bound individual, having both writing and design skills can secure you a role at almost every school project and student club. The ability to persuade people through the use of contents, both written and visual, will essentially come in handy should you wish to join the marketing and public relations departments of any school organisation.


2. Practicing these skills help you sharpen your creativity and originality

Writing and design both demand your creative juices. Regardless of how technically strong you can be, you still need to invest extra effort to give your work a sense of originality – to make them stand out from those of others.

For instance, when writing, you are propelled to come up with a way to craft an engaging piece of work that will keep your audience enthralled until the end. This is a goal for writers of any kind, and the achievement of which requires much dedication in terms of time and energy to maximise your creativity and deliver a pleasant writing.

Similarly, the goal of designers is to catch their audience’s attention within a matter of seconds at their first glance. Their job is to produce design work which can keep the viewers captivated by augmenting visual quality, aesthetic appeal and contextual relevance.

Hence, the core learning points of practicing professional writing and design includes innovation, critical analysis, customer-oriented thinking and attention to detail.


3. They give you an edge regardless of your industry

Even in a creative industry like marketing itself, not all marketers possess a combination of these skills. Many candidates share the capability to craft compelling written contents, but candidates who also have the adeptness for design software are those that would stand out in the eyes of employers.

For an entrepreneur managing his own startup, it is a cost-saving option to grow the business through his own written and visual contents, rather than hiring separate content marketer and designer. Having an eye for design also aids the process of website and mobile app development – which is an essential element for almost all of modern day businesses.

(I got my inspiration from this entrepreneur also a writer and designer who has ascended to prominence by intersecting creativity and commerce.)



4. Both writing and design enable you to freelance

Relevant competency in writing and design can help you land a freelance role within these fields, full-time or part-time. Moreover, with the rise of the gig economy where many organizations prefer to hire freelancers or independent workers on a temporary basis, being equipped with writing and design skills will open up several opportunities for short-term positions in both of these worlds.

They are also a pair of skills that allows millennials who stray away from a rigid, conventional 8-hour-work-day to turn to more flexible project-based arrangements. Compared to many typical office-bound roles, designers and writers usually have a greater work autonomy, as majority of their tasks can be done independently. This is thus an optimal circumstance for those who prefer to remain at home and earn money.


Final Verdicts

Design and writing are a unique skill combination and an asset that opens door to several opportunities, whether you’re a professional worker, a dynamic student or an aspiring entrepreneur. In addition, they are not expensive pursuits as an abundance of online courses are readily available to give you a fundamental-to-expert training of both realms. Therefore, whether you’re someone who wants to engage in freelance jobs to make a living, or simply wants to add a few plus factors to your corporate profile, perhaps writing and design are two ideal skills that you could consider pursuing.

Related: Debunked: 5 Common Scholarship Application Myths for Asian Universities


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