Higher Education

Successful Writing at Work: Concise Edition, 3rd Edition

  • Philip C. Kolin University of Southern Mississippi
  • ISBN-10: 0495901946  |  ISBN-13: 9780495901945
  • 416 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2009, 2006
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $102.00
  • Newer Edition Available
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This user-friendly, compact text presents the most necessary, useful skills and strategies for successful workplace writing. Based on the successful parent text, SUCCESSFUL WRITING AT WORK, Ninth Edition, SUCCESSFUL WRITING AT WORK, Concise Third Edition, maintains a practical approach, an abundance of realistic situations and problems, real-world examples, and detailed guidelines for drafting, editing, and producing professional documents and graphics. The Concise Third Edition features a contemporary, open, and user-friendly design, including a wide trim size to allow for marginal note-taking.

Features and Benefits

  • Much more attention to helping instructors teach and students learn--every sample document is annotated to highlight important issues writers face, such as organization, format/document design, tone/style, and the use of visuals.
  • Coverage of ethical considerations in the workplace is introduced early in the text and carried through the entire book.
  • This edition follows the ever-changing technological landscape of today’s workplace and current technologies, including an extensive discussion of online resumes and a section on presentation software with sample presentation.
  • Part I, Backgrounds, introduces students to writing basics, with special emphasis on the characteristics of effective writing, the writing process, ethics in business correspondence, and the importance of audience, with emphasis on writing for international and multicultural audiences.
  • Part II, Correspondence, begins with basic business correspondence (memos, faxes, e-mails, IMs, blogs), then walks students through formatting letters for a variety of business situations. It also features a helpful step-by-step chapter on getting a job, from self-assessment and locating jobs to writing resumes and follow-ups.
  • Part III, Preparing Documents and Visuals, consists of five more advanced chapters focused on document design and visuals, writing instructions and procedures, writing reports, proposals, and making business presentations.

Table of Contents

Note: Each chapter concludes with a Revision Checklist and Exercises.
1. Getting Started: Writing and Your Career.
Writing--An Essential Job Skill.
Writing for the Global Marketplace.
Using International English.
Four Keys to Effective Writing.
Characteristics of Job-Related Writing.
Ethical Writing in the Workplace. Successful Employees are Successful Writers.
2. The Writing Process and Collaboration at Work.
What Writing Is and Is Not.
Collaboration Is Crucial to the Writing Process.
Advantages of Collaborative Writing.
Seven Guidelines for Successful Group Writing.
Sources of Conflict in Group Dynamics and How to Solve Them.
Computer-Supported Collaboration.
3. Writing Routine Business Correspondence: Memos, Faxes, E-Mails, and Blogs.
What Memos, Faxes, E-Mails, IMs, and Blog Posts Have in Common.
Guidelines for Sending Faxes.
Instant Messages (IMs) for Business Use.
4. Writing Letters: Some Basics for Communicating with Audiences Worldwide.
Letters in the Age of the Internet.
Letter Formats.
Parts of a Letter.
The Appearance of Your Letters.
Organizing a Standard Business Letter.
Making a Good Impression on Your Reader.
The Five Most Common Types of Business Letters.
Inquiry Letters.
Cover Letters.
Special Request Letters.
Sales Letters.
Customer Relations Letters.
International Business Correspondence.
5. How to Get a Job: Searchers, Dossiers, Portfolios, Résumés, Letters, and Interviews.
Steps the Employer Takes to Hire.
Steps to Follow to Get Hired.
Analyzing Your Strengths and Restricting Your Job Search.
Enhancing Your Professional Image.
Looking in the Right Places for a Job.
Dossiers and Letters of Recommendation.
Preparing a Résumé.
Letters of Application Going to an Interview.
Searching for the Right Job Pays.
6. Designing Successful Documents, Visuals, and Websites.
Organizing Information Visually.
The ABCs of Print Document Design.
Successful Document Design: A Wrap-Up.
The Purpose of Visuals. Choosing Effective Visuals.
Inserting and Writing About Visuals: Some Guidelines.
Two Categories of Visuals: Tables and Figures.
Tables. Figures.
Using Visual Ethically.
Using Appropriate Visuals for International Audiences.
Writing for and Designing Websites.
7. Writing Instructions and Procedures.
Instructions and Your Job.
Why Instructions Are Important.
The Variety of Instructions: A Brief Overview.
Assessing and Meeting Your Audience’s Needs.
The Process of Writing Instructions.
Using the Right Style.
Using Visuals Effectively.
The Five Parts of Instructions.
Model of Full Set of Instructions.
Writing Procedures for Policies and Regulations.
Some Final Advice.
8. Writing Effective Short Reports and Proposals.
Why Short Reports Are Important.
Types of Short Reports.
Seven Guidelines for Writing Short Reports.
Periodic Reports.
Sales Reports.
Progress Reports.
Trip/Travel Reports.
Incident Reports.
Protecting Yourself Legally.
Writing Successful Proposals.
Internal Proposals. Sales Proposals.
9. Writing Careful Long Reports.
Characteristics of a Long Report.
The Process of Writing a Long Report.
Parts of a Long Report.
Documenting Sources.
A Model Long Report.
10. Making Successful Presentations at Work.
Types of Presentations.
Informal Briefings.
Formal Presentations.
A Writer’s Brief Guide to Paragraphs, Sentences, and Words.

What's New

  • Chapter 2 (The Writing Process and Collaboration at Work) has been thoroughly updated with new guidelines and discusses the latest business communication technology, including a new example of online collaborative drafting/editing.
  • Chapter 5 (How to Get a Job: Searchers, Dossiers, Portfolios, Résumés, Letters, and Interviews) has been considerably enhanced to include more on today’s extremely competitive and shrinking job markets. Additional coverage has been added on assessing skills and interests and the preparation of job search materials. New sections on portfolios and webfolios were added, guidelines and examples of online resumes were updated, and new formats for resumes have been included. Finally, there is new advice and figures related to writing a letter requesting a recommendation, and additional information on finding salary ranges for a student’s career choice.
  • Chapter 3 (Writing Routine Business Correspondence: Memos, Faxes, E-Mails, and Blogs) has been revamped for the new edition, moving it from the hard copy world into the world of e-communications. New sections have been added on writing and formatting business blogs and writing IMs in the workplace. Students will find guidelines, figures, and important advice on preparing e-documents ethically, clearly, and keeping them in line with corporate culture.
  • Greater attention is paid to ethics and business writing throughout the book, starting with an expanded section on the ethical requirements employees are expected to follow and ways of fulfilling that obligation through their work as writers. Additional commentary on ethics can be found in sections on developing visuals (Chapter 6), preparing for a job (Chapter 5), and writing proposals (chapter 8).
  • New attention is given to greening the workplace through examples and guidelines.
  • New sections in Chapter 4 (Writing Letters: Some Basics for Communicating with Audiences Worldwide) discuss the semiblock format, cover letters, and meeting reader needs.
  • Greater attention to writing for the global community begins in Chapter 1, progresses through model letters in Chapter 4, and continues through designing visuals for international audiences in Chapter 6.
  • Chapter 9 features information and examples of the most current changes in MLA and APA documentation, along with a revised business report that incorporates and showcases the new APA documentation style.
  • More case studies have been added, especially in Chapters 1, 2, and 8.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

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Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Resource Manual, Concise  (ISBN-10: 1111302081 | ISBN-13: 9781111302085)

Go to the Companion Website to access instructor’s resources including a correlation guide, sample syllabi, teaching suggestions, and PowerPoint slides.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Philip C. Kolin

Philip C. Kolin is the University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, where for 40 years he has taught courses in composition, business and technical writing, literature, and research methods. He has extensive experience as an editor of several scholarly journals and is the co-founder of STUDIES IN AMERICAN DRAMA (1945–present). He received the Conference of Learned Journals award for the best new journal. In addition, he was also named Southern Mississippi's first Distinguished Professor in the Humanities. Dr. Kolin has published almost 40 books and 200 scholarly articles covering a variety of subjects, including writing, drama, linguistics, and popular culture. He also has written an award-winning book on professional writing for nurses and articles on writing for lawyers and other professionals. Over the years, he has conducted workshops on technical business writing, the publication process, and managing professional communications. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.