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What Should a Writing Sample Include in Your Job Application?

Writing samples can be a great way to show how skilled you are at writing and how your ideal employer might see you contributing value to the organization.

A good sample should include something that is grammatically correct and error-free, along with a plot that is original and well-developed.

It should also be an indicative of your overall skill level, showing your command of the English language, syntax, and sentence structures.

The following examples of writing samples will help you develop a solid idea of what a good sample should include and what needs to be avoided.

The Difference Between Opinion And Fact

Keep in mind that your writing sample is an opinion, not a fact. This means that while it may be accurate based on your own experience, it does not necessarily reflect the view of others. Even worse, you may be writing something that is completely false—after all, you’re not going to be expected to always tell the truth on your applications. The key elements to keep in mind are:

  • It is something you are capable of doing
  • It is something you are good at doing
  • It is something that sets you apart from other applicants

Short And Sweet

Your writing sample should be as short as possible while still containing quality content. There is no set rule on how much space to give your sample, so you should not feel bound to include a certain number of words. However, you should aim for a word count of around 1000-2000 words, depending on the style of the sample.

Shorter samples are typically easier for employers to get through in a timely manner, and they can also be more easily scanned for keywords and trends. In addition, short samples allow you to pack in more information and show off your skills in a more effective manner.

Keep It Simple

Make sure that your sample is simple to understand and does not contain too many complex or detailed sentences. When applied to a job application, a simple sentence structure and direct wording will typically result in an effective and concise writing sample.

Complex sentences can make your writing sound more professional, but sometimes they can also make it harder to follow the thread of the story. In addition, using many complex sentences in your writing can make it seem like you are trying to impress the reader with your vocabulary, rather than actually using your skills to write something meaningful.

The Need For Quality

When you are provided with a quality writing sample, you can be sure that it will reflect your skills, professionalism, and commitment to the organization.

If the content is of good quality and is free of grammar errors and factual errors, it will be much easier for the employer to verify your claims about your skills. In addition, a high-quality writing sample allows you to write effectively without the need to pause to correct spelling and grammar errors, resulting in higher productivity and better output.

The Importance Of Structure

A well-written piece of fiction, or non-fiction, should have a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. This allows the reader to follow and understand the flow of the narrative—it is often times easier for the reader to follow a story that is well-structured, as opposed to one that is poorly structured. The beginning sets the stage for the story, the middle drives the story forward, and the end concludes the story. When applying for a job, it is essential that you include this structure, as well as a detailed plot—without them your writing sample will not make much sense, and it may even seem like you are trying to trick the reader. Once again, make sure that your writing is complete and of high quality before submitting it for review.

Original And Well-Developed

You should include content that is as original and unique as possible. Even if you are using something that has been published before, you should still make sure that it is something that has not been used by other applicants before. This will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants, and it may even result in you getting the job over other more technically skilled individuals who happened to include the same sample in their application.

As for the development of your content, you should aim to create something that is interesting and unique. If you are writing about something that you have not done before, make sure that you do your research and find all of the relevant information you can. This may mean delving into books or talking to people who have experience in the field—whatever it is you are writing about, make sure that you do your research and find all of the relevant information you can about it.


As a general rule, you should aim to write in an effective and stylish manner—this is your chance to really stand out! Whether you are an experienced business writer or you are just starting out, you should make sure that your content is written in a way that is consistent with your overall presentation. In other words, if you are writing in a very formal and business-like manner, then your content should reflect that as well. In general, make sure that your writing is easy on the eye and that it does not contain many spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. As you get more confident, you will be able to tell when an application is lacking in any of these areas, and you will be able to make the necessary changes. As a beginner, it may be difficult to see all of the mistakes that you are making—but rest assured, as you get more experienced, you will be able to identify these elements more easily. Style determines much of what your reader will take away from your content, so make sure that you are careful about what you include and that you leave out nothing that could make a difference. If you would like to learn more, check out these ESL writing tips to see how you can use English effectively to write a compelling business letter.


When searching for jobs, employers will typically use keywords in order to find relevant applicants. This can be incredibly helpful, especially if you are applying for jobs that require a lot of technical skill—keywords can help to filter out candidates who are less likely to get the job simply because they do not have the necessary skills. For example, if you are applying for a content writer role, you may want to include words like ‘content’, ‘blogging’, or ‘social media’ in your keywords in order to find relevant applicants who are also interested in pursuing a career in content marketing.

When including keywords in your application, make sure that they are relevant to the job you are applying for. If your job application is focused on finance, for example, you may want to include the keywords ‘finance’, ‘investment’, and ‘bankruptcy’ to find candidates who are passionate about money matters.

As you can see, there are many elements that go into a good writing sample—from grammar and spelling to the overall structure and content. To save you time and effort, make sure that you have all of the relevant paperwork, including your resume, and that you have written something that is impressive and shows you in a good light. When it comes down to selecting the best applicant for the job, the employer will typically look for someone who is creative, has good ideas, and is able to communicate them effectively—all of which your well-written sample will help you to achieve.