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How to Write a Writing Sample for a Job Interview

Many employers are utilizing writing samples as part of the job application process. But what should you include in your writing samples and how should you write them? This article will tell you everything you need to know about writing samples for a job interview.

The Purpose Of The Sample

Let’s be honest, when a recruiters gets a pile of applications, they don’t have the time to read through each one of them. For that reason, many firms are turning to samples as part of their hiring criteria. If you’re lucky enough to get a call for an interview, these samples will help the recruiter get to know your writing style and determine if you’re a fit for the position.

Writing a good sample is an art form in itself. It can take a lot of trial and error before you get the hang of it. As a writer, it’s your responsibility to show the employer that you’ve put in the effort to learn how to write the perfect sample. The worst thing you can do is get a call from a recruiter and then completely botch your writing sample. That’s a surefire way to end up in the rejection pile.

The Key Elements Of A Writing Sample

Every piece of writing, whether you’re writing an application or an article for publication, needs a title. This is a perfect opportunity to grab some attention and make the reader want to continue reading. To get the most out of your sample, write something that will make the reader interested in your work. Your sample should not be too long, but it should be comprehensive enough to show your skills.

Every piece of writing also needs a body. A body is just like the name suggests: it’s the part of the writing that you actually put your thoughts in. It should not only give the necessary information but also make the reader want to continue reading. The perfect body for a writing sample is around 300 words.

The introduction should be a short pitch (i.e. a few sentences) that will hook the reader and make him/her want to continue reading. As previously mentioned, many employers are turning to samples as part of the recruitment process. To capture the attention of the recruiter, use catchy phrases such as “case study”, “real life example”, or “e-learning project”.

How Should You Structure Your Writing Sample?

Writing samples for a job interview are usually divided into two sections: a headline and the body of the text. The body should include all the necessary information for the reader to understand the issue at hand. The headline should pull on the reader’s emotions and compel them to continue reading. To put it simply, the purpose of the headline is to grab the reader’s attention and keep it throughout the piece.

Although the structure of your writing sample is highly personal, there are a few tips that can help you write a better story:

Start With A Strong Hook

As the name suggests, the hook is used to grab the reader’s attention and keep it throughout the piece. To create a strong hook, start with a compelling opening line. For example, “The growing trend of consumers hiring online tutors to acquire a foreign language skill has made…”

This is a perfect way to introduce yourself to the reader and establish your credibility as an expert in your field. The next step is to pull them into the piece with a compelling description of the problem you are solving or the need that your product/service/instrument fills. To make it even more compelling, include a case study or a real-life example of the issue you are discussing.

Use Pronouns And Vocabulary That The Reader Will Recognize

To establish credibility as an expert in your field, you must know your audience. In other words, you need to learn what diction and expressions your readers will understand and relate to. To do this, look at blogs, forums, and social media to see how words and phrases are used by people in your niche. You can also consult the thesaurus for a list of synonyms for words and phrases that you find difficult to define or use often in everyday conversation.

If you’re writing for an audience that is largely composed of corporate managers, you will need to learn a lot of business-related vocabulary and terms. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a brand manager, you will need to know what a brand ambassador is and how to use the term in a professional manner.

Include Both Main And Supporting Points

To establish a clear connection between your subject and the reader, include both the main points and the supporting details. When you are writing an academic paper, the main points are usually stated in the first paragraph and the rest of the paper is given as supporting evidence. As a general rule, the first sentence of any paragraph should state the main point of that particular paragraph. For example, the first sentence of a paragraph might be “The rapid development of e-commerce in China has made _____________.” This sentence helps the reader know what the paragraph is about. The rest of the paragraph will then go on to provide supporting details.

How Should You Present Your Work?

You need to decide what type of presentation you will use for your writing sample. You can choose from the following formats:

  • A short pitch (i.e. a few sentences)
  • An extended summary (i.e. a few paragraphs)
  • A narrative (i.e. a few pages, including an outline or storyboard)
  • A case study (i.e. a detailed analysis of a real-life situation)
  • A technical report (i.e. a step-by-step guide on how to perform a certain task)
  • An e-learning project (i.e. a guided learning experience where the reader learns at his/her own pace)
  • A white paper (i.e. a report that you’ve compiled and organized in order to make a point or establish a position)

The choice of the presentation format is largely dependent on your goal. If your goal is to convince the reader that your solution is the best one or if you want to inform the reader of the advantages/disadvantages of your product/ service/instrument, you should use one of the following formats:

  • A short pitch
  • An extended summary
  • A narrative
  • A case study
  • A technical report
  • An e-learning project
  • A white paper

Presenting your work in a way that is easily digestible by a busy corporate manager is a tall order. For that reason, many employers are turning to samples as part of their job application process. To write a good sample, take your pick from the list above and put in the necessary effort to learn how to write a respectable piece.