When you apply for a writing job or several and you feel like you’re never getting any interviews, keep in mind that roughly a gillion people are probably applying for the same gig. The trick is to stand out. These three tips will help.
You didn’t follow instructions to the letter
The quickest way to get your application rejected is not following the instructions in the job listing to the letter. While it may make no sense to you why any company these days would want an application by snail mail, for example, or with a .pdf instead of a Word file, or copies of samples rather than links is really none of your business. They have their reasons and since you think you may want to work for them it’s up to you to do exactly as they say. If you’re not willing to do it their way, don’t bother doing it at all.
Your cover letter doesn’t demonstrate you can solve the problem
The only reason anyone will every hire you (unless you’re their daughter, son, niece or nephew or some sort of in-law) is because they believe you can solve their problem. Your cover letter is your first chance to demonstrate that. Which means you have to ferret out what their problem is.
Of course, they wouldn’t be advertising if they didn’t need or think they need a writer. Read the ad to see exactly what they want. Sometimes the client will actually list their requirements. Make sure your cover letter addresses, briefly every issue. Perhaps like this: Comfortable with both long and short form blogs, knowledgeable about SEO and research often spark ideas. Here are 3 that might suit you: and list the ideas.
Think about your background. I once landed a long-term blog because I was able to demonstrate I understand the real estate industry. I opened my cover letter with something like: Although my writing credits don’t show it, I actually sold real estate for almost a decade before I went into the writing game. If you’ve got some specialized knowledge and most of us do, go ahead and feature it if you want to apply for a writing job in that arena.
Come to think about it, if the ad isn’t clear, unless you can figure out more details from their website it may be better to ignore it and move on. Maybe.
Your resume or credit list doesn’t show off skills needed for that gig
Read your writing resume or credit list – maybe every month or so. Ask yourself if you know more than you’re showing. I find I often forget, when I apply for a writing job, to add those things I’ve learned recently, as well as those that have become so automatic I don’t recognize the skill they take.
I’ve also been known to rearrange the resume so it reflects the need of the potential client first. In my case Ghostwriting books changes places with Online writing fairly frequently.
Make sure your resume demonstrates how you solved a problem for someone – phrases like ‘reputation for on time delivery and a willingness to be edited’ can help.
Remember, when you apply for a writing job it’s about the potential client. Keep that perspective and your success rate will surely improve.
What other tips do you have about how to apply for writing jobs? Share them in comments.
Write well and often,