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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

Blog

My Online Writing Portfolio – Ta Da

So, I created my online writing portfolio on my free WordPress website. Now, what do I add to it.

The Home Page

On the Home page, I added a brief writing bio with keywords related to the kinds of writing I have done. This is what it looks like.

The Home Page

I kept it simple. I just included the highlights of my writing experience and my specialties. I spent a lot of time thinking about whether I should include a photo or not. In the end, I decided to create a free, simple logo on Canva instead, with a tagline. I don’t know if it is standard practice or not. I don’t even know if this is desirable for attracting the employer’s attention. I just felt more comfortable with it, and I felt it was another way to show my creativity, so I did it this way. That being said, I have seen a lot of writers who have included their photo as part of their brand building.

I also kept my Contact page hidden. Although I did it by accident – I didn’t realize I needed to customize my menu after adding a page – I chose to keep it this way as it seemed to keep the focus on my portfolio. That is also the reason why I did not add any stock images to this website. I wanted my words to be the centre of attention. Now, let’s move on to the portfolio.

Writing Examples
I have been writing since the age of five, and I’m a published author of works across forms and styles. While I found it easy to include examples of poetry, articles, research papers, and other forms of creative and academic writing – with publication details – I didn’t feel so confident about linking website copy that I wrote for customers, especially since I wrote it as part of an agency, and most websites have undergone revisions since I wrote them. Moreover, most of these websites had “All rights reserved” at the bottom of the page, so I was apprehensive about including those, as well. 

Writing Samples
Now, since the job was for a copywriting role, I did not want to leave out my website content in my portfolio. So, this is what I did. I just wrote the practices I follow while writing different pages of a multi-page website, and created sample content for imaginary businesses instead. I specifically chose the industry that the company I’m interested in belongs to, and drafted a page for them. I haven’t heard back from them, so I don’t know if it will work, but it seemed better than nothing, right? I’ll let you know if and when I hear from them, so stay tuned.

As you can see, for the website pages, I chose to create samples rather than choose existing examples. I included best practices as I could think of them and created a paragraph based on those, using industry-specific highlights. Luckily, I had just created this website, too, so I picked some of the content from my own website.

Website/Portfolio
However, I did not use my own website as my portfolio as I wanted to keep the two separate. If you think it is appropriate and works for you, you can just create one website for your blogs and your portfolio, too.

As I said in an earlier post, this is the first time I have created a writing portfolio online, so if you feel like I have left something out or if you feel like I could have done something differently, please feel free to reach out. Also, if you would need a writer for your upcoming project, contact me and we can discuss the details. Browse through the rest of my website for digital prints or for free downloads.

See you later!

©️ Pebble in the Ocean 2021