Why writing matters
You are no doubt aware that knowing how to write well will
be an important skill as you move into the professional world. Employers tell us that being able to
write clearly, persuasively, and gracefully is crucial to professional success.
We asked Carrie Parrott Monahan, a 2000 grad (majors in
French and IECA), to tell us about how she uses writing in her job. Carrie works in the Millennium
Challenge Corporation (MCC) in Washington, D.C. The MCC is an international economic development agency,
assisting developing nations in projects that will boost their economies in
meaningful and sustainable ways.
Carrie is a liaison between the D.C. office and the program directors
"in the field"—in her case, program directors who work in Morocco and
Carrie uses both French and English every day in her job. Here's what she said about her writing skills:
What do I write?
Carrie writes: "My job with the government requires a great deal of concise,
conscious writing. Most
individuals reading the documents I write do not want to spend a great deal of
time reading them, so I need to get the point across quickly and
efficiently. I write a lot of
emails (at least 50 a day—some more formal than others), as well as many memos,
letters to foreign government officials, and reports on our projects. I often have to write talking points
and briefers for meetings for managers or our senior leadership, which
summarize a situation and provide background information and are written to
steer a meeting in a certain direction.
These require summarizing both factual information as well as diplomatic
When I write for my job, do I pay attention to my
audience—that is, the people who'll be reading what I've written?
Carrie writes: "While most of my writing is quite formal, with the exception
of emails, the audience I’m addressing certainly influences my writing style
and organization. Writing a letter
to a foreign official requires using a certain diplomatic style and a great
deal of strategy to ensure the right message is communicated, whereas internal
reports will communicate different information and might try to influence
people within my own organization or simply update them on the status of
something. I think it’s very
important to always be conscious of your audience and change your writing style
• French writing resources for Valpo students
Faculty-recommended dictionaries and reference texts and other great resources you should know about.