Knowing Your Audience and Making Adjustments

When most people start writing an essay, they think of what they are writing about–the subject of the essay, the way it will transition, how they will introduce it, etc. What these people normally forget though is who they are writing for, which in most cases is actually more important than what they are writing about. You may be thinking, “How is that so? An essay is nothing without a subject.” This may be true, but an essay is just as unsuccessful if your professor doesn’t want to read it. Thinking about your audience is a crucial part for the writing process, and you can’t truly be a good essay writer without that consideration.


The term “audience” seems pretty self-explanatory since it’s just the group of people who will read an essay. But an audience is also a flexible group that you can mold to your liking. Your professor may not be flexible in this regard, but everyone else will be if you plan on publishing your essay at some point in time. Believe it or not, you have the power to choose who you want to read your essay. You can actually write in a way that will encourage certain people to read and discourage others. Granted, there is no guarantee that someone from another demographic won’t read your essay, but if you adjust your style enough you can at least guarantee that someone from the audience you are seeking will read your essay.


So how do you go about choosing the right audience? And better yet, what kind of adjustments do you have to make to fit each audience? Well the easiest thing to do is think about what your essay is about and who you want to reach with it. For instance, if you are writing an essay about problems in public schools, then your target audience is probably members of the school board and parents of school age children. This means that the language within the essay would need to sound more formal than if you were writing an essay geared towards teenage girls. By simply changing the tone of your words, you can reach a completely different group of people.


What’s great about making those subtle changes in the language of your writing is that you can rewrite the exact same essay to reach a different demographic. You could write an essay about investments that encourages teens to take a stake in the economy and change the language to make it persuade seniors to invest their retirement wisely. Both essays could be about investing in the economy, but the language of each could reach out to a different audience. If you are having trouble figuring out who you are writing for, just try changing the formality of the writing and see what kind of reaction it brings. The audience that reacts the strongest is probably the one that you should focus on.


Writing for a specific audience isn’t hard. It’s all a matter of molding your writing style to fit the personalities of your readers. Best rule to think about is that the older or smarter your audience is, the more formal your language needs to be. If you are trying to reach a wide range of people, then keep your style as generic and universal as possible. As long as you think about your readers through every step of the writing process, you will have very successful essays.

Skill Statement Part 2

“Hello, my name is Calvin Stewart. For the past year I’ve worked in a production machine shop using high-powered drills, sanders, and a CNC machine. One idea of mine saved my employer thousands of dollars in production costs.”

Important Skills to Include

These skills are used on many jobs. (For instance, almost half of all jobs require keeping records and maintaining files.) Employers will be looking for these skills when they hire. If you have these skills, include them in your skills statement:

  •         Use a computer
  •         Keep records and maintain files
  •         Apply interpersonal communication techniques
  •         Use computer keyboard
  •         Follow/give instructions
  •         Use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling
  •         Provide customer service
  •         Use word processing software
  •         Use spreadsheet software
  •         Prepare reports

Now Create Your Own

Now it’s time to create your own skills statement. If you have some of the skills listed above, include them. Here’s the three parts of your skills statement:

Part 1: Identify yourself.

Part 2: State briefly the skills you have or results you produced on past jobs that are important to the employers you are calling.

Part 3: Show how you have fit into other companies in the past or the personal qualities you have that are important to the job you want.

Skills Statement Practice

Once you have created your skills statement, it’s time to practice using it. Here are some ways to do that:

Sit with a positive and caring friend. Explain what a skills statement is and why you need one. Have your friend pretend to be an employer. Start by reading your skills statement. Repeat this process until you feel comfortable just saying it.

Use a tape recorder. Find a quiet place and pretend you are speaking to an employer. Imagine the details: the company name, the employer’s name, the job you want. Doing this makes this practice more effective. Now say your skills statement into the tape recorder. Repeat this several times before you play the tape back.

Stand in front of a mirror. Pretend you are speaking to an employer. Practice your skills statement until you feel comfortable.

Ways to use your skills statement

  1. At the beginning of an interview. A skills statement is a great ice-breaker.
  2. When an employer asks: “Tell me a little about yourself.” A skills statement describes you and your skills in a way that relates directly to an employer’s needs.
  3. When you do follow-up calls to employers. By repeating the skills statement, you refresh the employer’s memory.
  4. When you sit down to prepare a resume. Since your skills statement contains information that will be useful in a resume, it can help you get started.
  5. When you are on your way to an interview. Repeating your skills statement to yourself is a good way to get “pumped up” for an interview.