I recently graduated with my Master’s in English (Creative Writing) and I have been working in publishing for the last two years. During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some fantastic writers and I’ve picked up a few handy tips along the way. The following are some of my top tips for writing better job applications and getting employment in the future:
Find Your Niche
Depending on your previous experience, you may have found your niche in terms of writing jobs. Whether you’re a fast fluent writer or a talented word salad artist, stick with what you know. If you’re struggling to find your niche, take some time off and try something new. You may find that your expertise lies in areas that you’ve never considered. For example, if you’re a great graphic designer, you might find that you have a knack for marketing collaterals and content for brands. Your existing skills may be exactly what you need to get that job.
Dress To Impress
I can’t stress how important it is to dress well for your job interview. The last thing you want is to ruin your otherwise perfectly crafted outfit by spilling your drink over the table. Even if you’re a nervous wreck at the prospect of an interview, you can at least control the way you look. So instead of showing up in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, consider investing in a fresh pair of pants and a nice dress outfit. Better yet, get a suit for the interview!
Get A Professional Look
When you’re writing a job application, you’ll be presented with a blank sheet of paper or a word processor document. In terms of appearance, you don’t want to go for that ‘personal’ or ‘home’ writing vibe which some universities and companies may find charming but is actually a big turn off for a potential employer. If you want to give the impression of a serious, professional applicant, you’ll need to work on your language and diction. Get rid of the colloquialisms, the slang, and the misspellings. A good editor can help point out any glaring errors in terms of English usage and style. Take some time to reread what you’ve written and make sure each word is correctly positioned. You’ll also want to have a look at the work of other applicants to get a better feel for what a ‘good’ job application should look like. Of course, there isn’t one ‘perfect’ way to write a job application, but there are some consistent guidelines you can follow to get a more professional result.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Like any other skill, writing is something you can improve on through regular, dedicated practice. Even if you’ve been writing for years and feel like you’ve got it down, it’s never too late to start practicing. Find a journal or notebook and simply write down everything you can think of that might be useful to an employer. It could be something as simple as an article you’ve written or an outline for a novel you’re working on. It doesn’t matter, everything counts. As you write, make sure you’re practicing. If you’re not, then there’s no doubt you’re going to come up against problems when you try and apply for a job. The more you practice, the easier it will become. And believe it or not, the more you practice, the better you’ll become at writing.
Don’t Be Fooled By Beautiful Pics
Another thing employers look for in a job applicant is ‘potential’. You know, the person you’ll be working with and the kind of person the company wants to attract into their team. One thing that often gets in the way of showing off your potential is your photo. If you’re sending in a professional-looking headshot, you’re going to seem like a very serious applicant with all the bells and whistles. However, if you’re just using your smartphone to snap a quick pic, then it could end up being the kiss of death. Employers will often dismiss your application based on your photo alone. If you’ve ever seen an episode of _Black_ _Is_ _Beautiful_, then you know what I’m talking about. If you’re going to use a photo, make sure it’s a good one and that you dress the part. And no, staring at a laptop screen all day doesn’t count
In order to write better job applications and get hired, you need to take a step back and look at what you’re doing from a different perspective. When you look at it that way, there’s no doubt you can improve. Good luck out there.