Writing samples are a common part of the job application process. They usually come in the form of an essay or a short story and can give an employer an idea of your skills and abilities. Most often, employers will request a sample of your work.
While it may be tempting to rush into writing the first sample that comes to mind, this could potentially hurt your chances of getting employed. Instead, you should strive to find out what the employer is looking for and then, most importantly, you should try to give them what they want. The following are some tips on writing a writing sample to achieve this:
Find Out What Is Necessary
One of the first things that you should do before starting to write any sample is to figure out what is necessary. What do you need to include to make your sample the best it can be? Do you need to include a description of the setting? Will a list of characters be sufficient? What about a plot or storyline? The more you know beforehand, the less you will have to scramble for once the writing actually starts.
Don’t Be Foolish
You wouldn’t want to jeopardize your chances of getting a good job because you were too eager to satisfy the employer. The same applies here. Once you know what is necessary, you should not add anything that is not necessary. Going back to the previous question, if you know that a narrative is necessary to satisfy the employer, then you should definitely write one. However, if you know that a description of the setting is all that is required then, by all means, write a lengthy one. You should not put yourself in the position of having to choose between your career and your family because you thought that a nice gesture would score you some points with the boss.
When you are first starting out, it is best to write a short sample. This will help you find your rhythm and get used to writing effectively. From there, you can expand your writing and add more details to it. Remember: your writing sample is your best chance of getting a positive response from the employer. The worst thing that you can do is blow off a great opportunity because you were too eager to meet the employer’s expectations. You have to find a happy medium between pleasing the employer and not hurting your chances of getting the job.
Make Sure It Is Tasteful
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the writing sample should be tasteful. This means that it should not include any excessive language, slang or foul language. If your writing sample is not up to par, then it will hurt your chances of getting the job. Remember that your writing sample is an expression of yourself as a writer. So, you should choose your words carefully and ensure that the expression is coherent and flowing smoothly.
Proofread, Re-read And Recheck
Finally, you should not only read your writing sample over, but you should also re-read it and take out any errors that you may have made. Most times, the errors that you make while writing will manifest themselves in the form of typos and grammatical errors. These should be eliminated before reading the sample over again. Furthermore, you should revisit any of the sample’s scenes that you have described in the past and ensure that your language is appropriate and fit for a professional audience. Last but not least, you should recheck your spelling and grammar before submitting the sample.
After you have followed these steps and taken out all the necessary info, it’s time to write. Don’t worry too much about what is being asked for and just follow the instructions. Most of the time, this will result in an essay that is more coherent and polished than you could have ever imagined. A happy and diligent employee is a profitable employee.