Improve your writing for Functional Skills

Young professionals in the workplace

Here are five things you can do every day to improve your writing skills.

Plan your writing

Planning your writing is important at work. Before you start a writing task there are a few things that you need to think about.

  • Who is the audience? Who is going to read what you have written?
  • What is the purpose? What are you trying to achieve through writing?
  • Do you need to use formal or informal language?
  • Is there an example or a template that you can use? (For example, you could use the format of an email that you have received)
  • Bullet point what you need to include and in what order, creating a checklist

Make notes at work

Always have a pen and paper or technology that you can record notes on. Making notes at work is a great way to practise your skills.

  • If you are in a meeting, write down what you hear, recording all of the important information.
  • Try to focus on the information that is important to you. Sometimes we get into the habit of writing as much as we can and that isn’t always useful.
  • Writing a to-do list is useful to organise yourself at work and is also a quick and easy way to develop your writing.

Sign up to a “word of the day”

There are many websites and apps that you can download to help you to build your vocabulary. Record your word of the day. If appropriate, you can use it in your writing.


  • Word of the Day: Learn English
  • WOTD
  • Oxford Dictionary of English


Write down new vocabulary that you learn at work

Use a word bank to record any new terms that you discover. It will become easy to remember them and use them in day-to-day conversation and your writing.

We have put together a few suggested words for you and a space to write your own.

Formal introductions:

Welcome to… Thank you for inviting me to… Let me introduce you to… My name is…

Would it be possible to… I am writing to apply for/enquire about… I have attached…

Formal closing statements:

Thank you for… It has been a pleasure to… Do you have any further questions?

Dear Sir/Madam… Yours faithfully/Dear [known name]… Yours sincerely

Frequently used workplace words:

Administration Assessment Client Collaboration Colleague Communication Conditions Corporate Correspondence CV Dismissal Documentation Email Employee Employer Experience Industry Interview Invitation Marketing Manager Meeting Office Paperwork Presentation Probation Period Professional Projection Qualification Report Reference Responsibility Specification Strength Weakness

Skill words:

Ambitious Articulate Committed Confident Conscientious Diligent Flexible Focused Hard-working Innovative Integrity Methodical Motivated Multi-tasker Organised Personable Proactive Reflective Reliable Resilient Team Player Trustworthy

Workplace action verbs:

Accomplished Administered Advancing Advised Arranged Collaborated Completed Conducted Consulted Contacted Coordinated Created Decided Delegated Developed Discussed Documented Edited Evaluated Explored Facilitated Identified Implemented Improved Initiated Introduced Investigated Liaised Managed Negotiated Organised Planned Prepared Presented Persuaded Questioned Redesigned Reviewed Selected Trained

Read your own writing

Reading your own writing can help you find mistakes and edit what you have written. Although it can be time consuming and a challenge to fit into a busy work day, reading your own writing is very important.

It will help you to pick up any mistakes that you have made. You can check your spelling and grammar.

You can use the checklist that you created in step one to make sure that you are using the correct language and the audience is getting what they need from your writing.