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Don’t Let Writing Job Titles Discourage You From Applying!

job titlesThe website Zety lists 20 job titles for writers. They are:

  1. Journalist
  2. Copy Editor
  3. Editor/Proofreader
  4. Content Creator
  5. Speechwriter
  6. Communications Director
  7. Screenwriter
  8. Technical Writer
  9. Columnist
  10. Public Relations Specialist
  11. Proposal Writer
  12. Content Strategist
  13. Grant Writer
  14. Video Game Writer
  15. Translator
  16. Film Critic
  17. Copywriter
  18. Travel Writer
  19. Social Media Specialist
  20. Ghostwriter

Most are  self-explanatory. Some are not. For example, I’m still not sure what a content strategist really does, although I’ve generated enough content that I feel I should know. Copy Editor and Editor/Proofreader are not, in my opinion, writer job titles. I wouldn’t have included Social Media Specialist, or maybe I would have. Writing tweets, etc. can be important and significant work I suppose.

Some of these titles like Translator, Tech Writer, Grant Writer and Video Game Writer require special skills. Many, even most, however, have significant overlap. And in truth exact job titles rarely mean much.

The real question is can you solve their problem?

A client will hire you only if they believe you can solve their problem. In a very real sense, job titles are an attempt to categorize people’s work roles. They’ve also become ways to assign value to some, with titles like President or CEO, COO, CFO and the like carry much more prestige and usually much higher pay than titles that don’t carry the C suite aura.

‘Writer,’ of course, means you can put words on the screen/page in a way that accomplishes the goals of that particular piece of writing – a great story entertains and informs, copy writing sells a product or service, journalism reports the news while public relations aims to create a favorable impression about a company, a product or a service.

When your credits don’t match the job titles

Although there are exceptions, it seems to me most writers can pretty much handle a wide variety of topics. That often means you’ll find yourself in a position where your actual writing credits don’t exact the job titles of the job you’re considering applying for.

My advice? If you think you understand the potential client’s problem and believe you can solve it, go ahead and apply. Take time to carefully demonstrate why you can solve their problem even though your credits don’t match, exactly, the job titles. Here’s what I mean:

Although I’m certainly not a public relations guru, I’ve written enough press releases and interviewed enough article subjects that I can often qualify, if I take time to point out both.

Long before I started writing I sold and developed property with my father. Referring to that background which wasn’t on my list of credits, landed me enough real estate writing so I look like an expert.

While I’m not a scientist, if you can explain it to me, I can turn it into prose that is eminently readable by lay people.

On the other hand, my refusal to watch football or play golf means I’d be a poor choice to write about either – unless it was “why I don’t watch football or play golf” essays…which come to think about it might be fun.

You get the idea!

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, freelance writer

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Good strategy, Sue

  • Sue Chehrenegar

    In some ads, the potential employer asks for suggestions. Usually, a site-owner wants suggestions for things to write about. I like to focus on those. I once got a job writing a blog on a fashion-focused web-site, because I suggest 2 articles about jewelry: What colors go with gold jewelry? What colors go with silver jewelry.

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