Working in any facet of the Intelligence Community (IC) requires you to be a decent writer. But the most effective communicators have some things in common: they are able to influence through their writing.

Carla Bass, a retired Colonel out of the U.S. Air Force, offers many insights and ways to help you influence through writing: whether you’re crafting a resume, hoping to land your dream job or career, convincing your boss you’re deserving of a raise, or winning your next contract through a successful proposal submission.

Bass says, “powerful writing often tips the balance between success and failure.” The secret sauce is ensuring that the reader is captivated within the first 20 seconds they are spending time with your piece. That’s Bass’ forte.


ClearanceJobs runs its monthly virtual book club for spy enthusiasts, govvies, contractors, DoD careerists, and the military community. We talk about how reading can improve your IQ – and now we’re touching on how writing can help you in that respect as well.

It started for Bass as she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and discovered her “ah-ha” moment as she was stationed in Hawaii. After some lessons learned and honing her writing skills that she practiced and perfected for 30 years while on active duty, continuing to apply them through a decade at ODNI, her battle cries are “Powerful writing changes lives” and “Powerful writing is the lifeblood of effective organizations.” In each case, a powerful message often tips the balance between success and failure.

After retiring, any military personnel will find that writing is the number one way business gets done in the civilian world. It’s also the easiest way to collaborate, which is also gaining more importance as people are working from home. When writing and collaboration are done well, a business thrives. Well-written proposals generally lead to more contract awards, increased revenue, and your individual success working within this industry. Clearly written intelligence reports lead to deeper insights for our warfighters on the ground; a well-crafted resume can help you nail the job interview.

Learning to write is critical, writing to influence is key.

Purchase Write to Influence! from Amazon here.


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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸