Kirsop Labs

Skills development for science students everywhere

Blog writing through your degree course

Writing for KirsopLabs – why do it?

Why on earth would writing for a blog be so important?

Why would you even bother?

As an undergraduate looking to get ahead of your peers in the interview stakes, here’s why.

Read on.

When you write articles for the web, you’re writing in a different style and for a different audience than for your formal academic assignments.

As an undergraduate, you learn over the years how to write a decent lab report, an excellent literature review, or an engaging and thought-provoking assignment that’s going to get you top marks (hopefully).

But what about the other side of the coin? What about the skills you need for the workplace?

Why the emphasis on communication skills today?

I have yet to see a job advert for a graduate that doesn’t ask for good communication skills. I often wonder how graduate students interpret that statement when they apply for a job. When an employer states that you need excellent communication skills, what they mean is – show me the evidence!

And ‘evidence’ is not merely having a good degree from a reputable university. Everyone else who happens to be interviewing for the same post has the same qualification as you – that’s why they got an invite. Right?

It’s stupidly expensive to employ someone today, so employers are looking for skills that show how adaptable you are to new environments. Skills that show you can hit the ground running and won’t cost an arm and a leg to train.

They want to see that you have more to your game than just a high IQ, a good memory, and the ability to pass exams. Remember, everyone else at the interview has these qualities too. Show them someone who took the initiative to learn and develop a new skill at the same time as completing an incredibly difficult degree course, and you show them someone who stands apart from the rest.

So you need to ask yourself, “How can I prove I have more to offer. Where’s the evidence?”

Training with KirsopLabs

To date, it’s been students from the University of Edinburgh who have contributed to and benefitted from the KirsopLabs platform. But I need to emphasise that any chemistry student, from any university or college, can write for this site. There’s no barrier to anyone getting work published once they undergo the training (which doesn’t take long) to learn how to write this style of article – it’s not rocket science after all! But it is entirely different to how you would usually write. I’m a professional writer, and I’m continually learning how to write in different styles, according to how my clients want it done. So it’s about being adaptable and learning quickly – that’s what can give you an advantage over someone else at an interview.

We have provided the means – the KirsopLabs platform – the rest is up to you.

Don’t just write – develop web skills too

You’ll benefit from people with lots of experience in exchange for nothing other than your time, and our student writers understand the value in that. You can take that learning with you when you leave university. Use your experience with KirsopLabs to develop your personal and individual style of writing, so that you can create a professional website for yourself in your future working life.

Here are links to some of our articles, to give you an idea of the language style and layout used for a lot of web-based writing today. These articles demonstrate how advice-style or technical-style articles can be written and presented to an online audience who just want the facts – and nothing else.

How to deal with being homesick
It’s exam season – are you ready?
Why do impure solids melt at lower temperatures?
Student’s t-test – a significant difference?

We are open to suggestions for workshops etc. if you think you might like training in how to set up a blog site or a digital/online CV for instance. And I’m very open to new ideas. But to start with, get in touch about writing an article. We’ve proved it works with former students and we want it to work for you too.
Contact Dr. Allison Kirsop or Ryan Treadwell for details – see our Contacts page for email addresses.

Register your interest in our free, online, scientific writing skills course scheduled for release by the end of 2016. Sign up here.

Posted under: Communication Skills

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About Dr Allison Kirsop

Co-founder of the KirsopLabs project, and Editorial Manager of Neuroendocrinology, a peer-review Medical Sciences journal. Writing for a science blog is a great way for students to get published early in their career and great for a CV. Drop me a line if you'd like to discuss how to get involved with the KLabs project.

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