Applying for Writing Jobs – My Experience

I should probably have covered this before interview prep, but what’s done is done. So, here are a few things I do while applying for writing jobs.

For the last few months, I have been applying for 4-5 jobs every day, on an average. I take a break over weekends, as someone once told me that emails received over the weekends have a greater chance of getting lost in the recruiters’ mailbox.

I had mentioned in a previous post that I mostly use LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter for submitting job applications, as they have the option of easy/1-click apply, which I find quite useful. However, you have to make sure that your profile is up-to-date and thorough so that you can make the most of this option. It is a good idea to even ask your potential references to leave recommendations or reviews of your work (both platforms have this option), as that makes your application way more effective.

Tips for Filling Out Job Applications

  1. Resume – Pay attention to your resume. It is like your advertisement. Whether you get the chance to show them your potential in an interview or not, depends on this, to a certain extent. My resume includes these sections, in particular- A brief summary, highlights/achievements, strengths, relevant experience, education. The achievements should be relevant and, if possible, measurable. The strengths should include soft skills, as most recruiters in the interviews I sat for recently emphasized on this aspect. The resume should not be too long – mine is 2 pages long. The experience included should be relevant to the job – I usually take off some if they are not relevant to the job posting. I also have a bullet list of specific tasks performed in a particular role. Make sure the list is consistent – so, if one point starts with “Wrote copy…”, the next should say “Performed proofreading…” not “Performing proofreading…”
  2. Customization – I went to a career counselling service when I first started applying for jobs in Toronto. They told me that a lot of times, resumes go through software to help recruiters save time and choose applicants with experience matching the requirements of the job. So, every time I apply for a job, I change the wording on my resume to match the job descriptions. Please note that I do not cheat or add things I haven’t done before. I just use synonyms or different explanations for the same thing to make it closer to the posting.

    These days, I do not have a lot of time to do that (#mommyoftwo), so I make sure I apply to similar jobs (mostly copywriting jobs in Toronto), so I don’t have to spend a lot of time working on the resume.
  3. Creativity – Have an interesting “About me” prepared. For writing jobs, creativity is more important than anything else. So, I usually attach the poem I have written about my writing journey in that section. Some recruiters have told me that that’s what made my application stand out for them, and the reason why I got called for the interview.
  4. Online Writing Portfolio – A link to an online portfolio is something that a lot of recruiters have asked me for, at the first stage of the application process. You can create one for free using WordPress.
  5. Document for Common Questions – Sometimes, job postings require you to fill out a detailed application form. They usually need summary of experience, education, and other things included in your resume. They also usually have “a message for the recruiter.” I have all these listed on a Word document, so that I can just copy and paste it all. I started doing this recently, after I did something really silly.
    I was applying for a job after a rather long, exhausting day (Bad Idea!). So, I filled out all the sections, attached resume and cover letter. When I reached “message for the recruiter”, my mind was blank. I couldn’t think of anything to write. So, I just said, “Hello! Please hire me. Thanks.”

    It is embarrassing to even think about this, so I’ll end the subject here. So, since then, I have written a short message listing why I would make a good match for any copywriting job along with a generic closing line. I just copy and paste it if I face this question while filling out an application now.
  6. Proofreading – This step is so important for writing jobs. Grammatical errors, inconsistencies in your resume can instantly create the wrong impression, right, if proofreading is going to be an important part of your job. So proofread the resume and cover letter, or have someone else do it for you.
  7. Cover Letter – I also have a cover letter – complete, concise, clear and clean – that I send with every application.

Recently, I have also started making a list of all jobs I apply to, as I don’t want to keep applying for the same jobs over and over again. When I receive notice they have moved on to other candidates, I just cross it out, to keep a record of it.

With all the competition out there, I think it is imperative for us to be meticulous, especially at the first stage of the application process.

Let me know if you find these tips helpful, or if you feel like they are missing something. If you need resume writing or proofreading services, send me a message to discuss the assignment. If you’re looking for a job, good luck! Hope you find the perfect match soon.

©️Pebble in the Ocean 2021


My Job Boards of Choice for Writing Jobs in Toronto

Hello, after another full day of applying for writing jobs in Toronto, I cannot think of anything else to write about. My brain is a little fried, my heart is a little disappointed and my confidence is a little bruised after another day of receiving a few “Thank you for your interest, but…” letters.

Please don’t think the situation for writers in Toronto is hopeless. It’s far from that. It’s just that with hundreds of applicants for a single job, it is a bit of a challenge for a resume, with a five-year break from copywriting in an agency, to stand out.

Since my five year old was born, I have been working as a freelance writer/editor. I have done a lot of creative work during this time that I am really proud of, but I guess it does not seem as competitive to an employer as they’d like.

So, I’ve been looking for a steady job for a few months now. And I have to tell you that the first and biggest challenge I faced was finding a job board that suggested good matches for my education and experience. For a long time, I mostly came across job boards that suggested steady jobs, but ones that were far from my education, experience and skill set. Then, there were boards that kept redirecting me to other websites that needed me register and fill out my details all over, which, trust me, is as tedious as it sounds.

Benefits of Using ZipRecruiter

Then, one day I found ZipRecruiter, and things finally got better. I worked on my resume and profile after creating my account here, entered my preferences, asked a few of my former colleagues to write me a recommendation, and I was good to go. Here are a few reasons why I like to use ZipRecruiter to search for writing and editing jobs:

  1. It suggests relevant jobs, well suited to my experience.
  2. It has the option of 1-click apply for most of the jobs. So, if your profile is complete, you don’t have to spend hours on each application.
  3. It lets me know when and how many times my application has been viewed.
  4. It sends regular updates and job suggestions to my inbox.

Please note that I’m not saying this is the only job board that offers good writing jobs, or that it is the best. I’m saying that this is the one that works for me. I have had a few responses and interview calls for jobs I found here, so I am a bit partial towards it anyway.

Benefits of Using LinkedIn

I also like using LinkedIn job search for finding and applying to jobs because of the following reasons:

  1. “Easy apply” option
  2. Relevant job suggestions
  3. Quick access to recent job postings
  4. Useful updates
  5. Reliable platform (at least in my experience)
  6. Great for building a network

If you have a job board of choice for writing jobs, please let me know through the comments section or through my contact form. I’d love to hear your experience, too.

Let me end on a lighter note with this true story interacting with a funny job board –

©️ Pebble in the Ocean 2021