Posted in Writing advice

3 Main Differences between Academic and Business Writing

If you’ve just left school, college or university, you’ll be in for a shock. You may have spent the last few years writing essays, assignments, reports and presentations but once you enter the business world, this all changes. Unknown to many individuals, there’s a range of differences when it comes to academic writing and then writing on behalf of a business. Today, we’ll explore three of the most common.

What is Educational Writing?

When you’re writing for an academic purpose, you’re writing to learn. For example, if you’ve just finished a science experiment and you need to write a report about it, you’ll be writing with the sole purpose of demonstrating what you have learnt during the experiment. In other lessons, you may be writing about a new concept or idea, or you may be voicing your opinion on a certain subject. In other words, you’ll mainly be writing for yourself in a way that your teacher knows you understand what has happened in the lesson.

What is Business Writing?

On the other hand, when you’re writing for a business, you may be creating an image of your business to your customers. You may be trying to sell a product or a service, or you may be handling customer questions, complaints or issues. This is an extremely different purpose to writing to learn, and there are several major differences you’ll need to implement into your writing style. With the exception of learning, business writing is writing for a specific purpose.

What are the differences?

  1. Formatting

The format of your written work will also be incredibly important, depending on what you’re writing. For example, when you’re writing for an academic purpose, you may be writing essays, assignments, book reports or a research article. In business writing, you’ll be creating product descriptions, letters, CVs, resumes, emails, invoices and website content, to name a few. As you imagine, these all require very different writing styles and formats.

  1. Language, Tone & Format

The language you use in your work will also change dramatically. If you’re writing a letter to a customer who wasn’t very happy with your company’s product, you’ll be using very sincere and professional language that that individual customer understands, letting them know how sorry your company is and how the company is going to rectify the problem.

You may finish with this customer, and you’ll have to write a report on the incident to your boss. This could be very formal or informal, depending on your individual circumstance. You may then need to write an email to your company’s product manufacturer to make them aware of the problem. This will need a complete change in language, tone and format once again. As you can see, writing for a business requires you to be as adaptable as possible.

  1. Ownership

Finally, we have the ownership of your content. As a student, if you write an essay or an assignment, that piece of written work belongs to you, throughout your entire academic life. However, when you’re writing for a business, any written work you create on behalf of that business belongs to the business, unless specifically stated and contracted. This means if you create a marketing leaflet that you love, you can’t simply take it away for your possession, for example, to sell to another company. It will also belong to the company you work for as they have already paid for it through your wages.