Tips on Becoming a Grant Writer

There is no standardized path to becoming a grant writer. Individuals come to the position from all kinds of backgrounds. But, some methods of breaking into the field are more effective than others.  If you’re interested in becoming a grant writer, check out the following tips and advice.

Grant WriterGrant writers work in different settings and industries with important responsibilities in addition to writing.

Education

To be a grant writer, you will need a college degree. In most cases, a four-year bachelor’s degree will suffice. Many candidates find that degrees in communication, journalism, English, marketing or pre-law are best suited to the profession. Essentially, you will want to find a degree program that emphasizes technical writing and analyzing dense texts. Grant writers are not typically creative writers; they are writing proposals to government agencies to request funding. It is an entirely different skill set than that used by authors of poetry and fiction. Grant writers should be able to pen concise and informative prose. They should be able to distill important information in a manner that is easily understandable, yet still professional in tone and voice.

While degrees that specialize in grant writing are practically non-existent, workshops are offered. Consider enrolling in a course offered by a reputable firm to learn the ins and outs of grant writing. During these workshops, you will get the opportunity to write sample grants, thus building a body of work to present to potential employers.

Credentials

In addition to workshops, the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) offers a certification in grant writing. They offer a one-day review course and exam, which must be passed to earn the certification. Attendance at the review course is not necessary, but is highly recommended. This program is open only to members of the AGWA who are 21 years of age or older.  You can learn more about the courses and credentials offered through the AGWA by visiting their website.

Experience

While courses in grant writing can definitely help you build a theoretical portfolio, employers will want to see what kind of results your grant writing endeavors have produced. One way to accumulate experience is to volunteer your time and skill for a cause that you are passionate about. You can also attempt to peddle yourself as a freelancer prior to seeking permanent employment as a grant writer. Check sites like elance.com for opportunities, and be sure to keep other online networks, like LinkedIn, up-to-date with your current availability and contact information. Connect with anyone you know who may work in the field and could help you find a way to get your foot in the door.

Research

Employers want someone who knows the ins and outs of the industry in which their organization is situated. Research the industry, so you really know your stuff. Grant writing may seem simple, but it’s very important to stay on-topic and have valid, hard data to back up your claims and requests.

You’ll also need to research specific donors. The message should be tailored directly to them. Corporate grants, for example, are more PR oriented, while government grants are much more technical.

Essentially, you are selling the organization that has hired you. It is very time consuming and difficult to compile all the necessary information if you haven’t immersed yourself in the organization and its mission.

Qualities

Writers earn their bread by their reputation. Referrals and references are the number one way freelance writers get new work and clients. While talent cannot be taught, there are some attributes you can hone to improve your chances of making it in the writing world.

Determination

The projects grant writers work on may require lots of work and take a considerable about of time to complete. These writers must possess the determination necessary to see projects through to completion.

Persuasion

Grant writers are trying to convince others to fund their endeavors. They must be able to persuade others to feel that their cause is important and warrants funding. And, they must be able to accomplish this without relying on an appeal to emotion. Grant writing is an academic exercise.

Social perceptiveness

This quality goes hand-in-hand with persuasion. Grant writers must be able to understand how others will perceive and react to their writing in order to connect with the audience.

Organizational skills

The work grant writers do requires lots of research and data compilation. For this reason, organizational skills are a must for grant writers.

Writing skills

Because grant writers focus on more technical writing, they must have an excellent grasp of the fundamentals of writing. They should be well-versed in syntax, grammar, spelling and the rules of punctuation and formatting.

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6 Important Qualities Needed to Become a Probation Officer

The proper education and training can help you land any career you want. However, certain personality types may be better suited for certain employment. If you’re interested in a career as a probation officer, it might help to know what personality traits and abilities match up nicely with the demands of the job. The great thing about many of these skills is that they can be learned. Some personality traits are innate, but there are other tools and skill sets that can be developed with a little bit of work.

Read on for a list and explanation of the six most important skills to cultivate if you want to become a probation officer.

Probation Officers

Source: public.venturaprobation.org

Probation officers work together by sharing advice and helping one another cope with difficult situations

1. Communication skills

Communication skills include written communication, verbal communication and even body language. Developing these skills will enable you to interact effectively and efficiently with others, by showing them respect and courtesy. Remember, communication is a two-way street. Half of communicating is listening actively and understanding what others are trying to say.

Why are these important?

Communication skills are vital in practically every field. If you have co-workers, clients or customers, you’re going to need communication skills. However, this skill set is especially important for probation officers. These professionals have to communicate with a wide range of individuals. They need to be able to communicate well with people who operate on different ability levels.

2. Critical-thinking skills

Higher order thinking, pattern recognition and logical reasoning are all considered critical-thinking skills. Critical-thinking skills aid in evaluating the validity of an argument, recognizing similarities between different things and analyzing various situations. 

Why are these important?

A key part of a probation officer’s job is assessing the needs of their clients and directing them to resources that can help. They also help clients understand the outcomes and repercussions of their actions, as well as to examine their own behavior and choices.

3. Decision-making skills

Making a decision requires confidence and the ability to commit to a course of action. You must be able to deduce the possible outcomes of an action and weigh the pros against the cons. You must also be able to admit that you were incorrect and adjust the plan if it isn’t working.

Why are these important?

As a probation officer, your clients will be coming to you to help them make decisions about treatment, housing and job options. You will need to be able to advise them to the absolute best of your ability to improve their odds of success. Probation officers also help teach these skills to their clients by leading through example.

4. Emotional stability

Emotional stability does not mean that you are a robot. It simply means that you can deal with your emotions and that they do not get the better of you, especially while in a professional capacity. Emotions are normal, but it’s important to keep a level head. Emotional stability also means that you are able to draw clear and healthy emotional boundaries.

Why are these important?

Probation officers encounter lots of difficult situations. Hostile situations may arise, given that clients are often in attendance against their will. They may experience frustration if clients relapse or continue to make poor choices. Probation officers may also be exposed to disheartened situations, especially when children are involved in the lives of their clients. It is vital that probation officers can keep their work and personal lives separate.

This is, of course, in addition to the other stressors that come with having a job, including but not limited to, difficulties dealing with management or disagreements with co-workers.

5. Organizational skills

Organizational skills include an attention for detail, multitasking abilities, proficient use of an organizational system and strong memory recall. Everyone has their own system to keep organized. The point is that you have some system to use.

Why are these important?

Probation officers see many clients. They must be able to manage many case files at once. They are also responsible for reporting back to a supervisor and keeping detailed records of their clients. Probation officer should also be able to stay on top of relevant and current resources available in the community that may serve the differing needs of clients.

6. Writing skills

Written communication can be difficult to master for some. The ability to write effectively with proper spelling and grammar can go a long way in helping someone present themselves in a more professional manner.

Why are these important?

As mentioned above, probation officers must report to their supervisors and maintain records on clients. These communications must be legible and clear so that others who assist these clients can do their jobs and provide the best help possible.