A job application can feel very personal. After all, you’re essentially handing over a piece of yourself in the form of an application. This is why you want to make sure that your application materials are as polished as possible.
While you don’t want to overdo it and make your application look like it was written by a professional copywriter, you also don’t want to underdo it and write something so informal that it makes you look unprofessional.
What is an appropriate writing sample for a job? This is a question that you need to ask yourself before you hand in your application. In this blog post, we will discuss what makes for an appropriate writing sample for a job application, as well as give you some tips on how to write a winning application.
What Makes for an Appropriate Writing Sample For a Job Application?
An appropriate writing sample for a job application is a combination of the following:
- Conversational English
- Correctly spelt words
- Active vocabulary
- No spelling mistakes
- No grammar mistakes
- An appropriate content structure
Let’s take a look at each one of these in more detail.
You might be wondering why English is included among the requirements for an appropriate writing sample. After all, you’re not applying for an English-taught position, so why should your writing sample be in English?
The answer is that English is the worldwide language of business, and no matter what your professional background is, you’re sure to have to speak English on the job. While you don’t have to be good at speaking English to be competent, you do need to be able to write it well.
If you’re wondering how to write an effective job application, start by polishing your English skills. Learning how to write in English will not only get you ahead in the competition, but it will also make you look more professional to the employers that you’re seeking to work for.
Fluency is simply the capability of speaking a language well. To put it simply, if you’re applying for a job as a translator, you don’t need to show off your capabilities by translating a whole book from English to French. Instead, focus on demonstrating your ability to fluently translate short phrases, sentences, or even individual words.
Fluency is therefore more important for certain job applications than others. For example, if you’re applying for a job in a country that uses the French language, you would probably want to focus on demonstrating your ability to speak French rather than your English fluency. Your French might not be good enough to get you the job, but it will certainly help you move up the ranks.
Correctly Spelt Words
Words that are correctly spelt are easier to understand. When you spell a word correctly, it shows that you’ve done some research into its meaning. A few letters spelt incorrectly can certainly be overlooked, but an entire word spelt incorrectly can raise doubts about your ability to perform the job.
For example, if you’re applying for a job and the employer is seeking someone with specific expertise in accounting, and you’ve misspelt the word ‘accounting’ as ‘acounting’ or ‘accounted’, this could potentially be a problem. While you can always blame a mistyped word on Microsoft Word’s autocorrect, you can’t blame it on the automated email software that the employer may be using to conduct their interview.
An active vocabulary is a vocabulary that you know and use. When you have an active vocabulary, you not only know the meaning of words but you are also able to demonstrate your ability to use them correctly. Having an active vocabulary is thus essential for any job application, whether you are applying for an engineering position or a marketing job.
If you’re seeking a job in sales, you would want to include any and all words that you’re sure to encounter on the job. The better your active vocabulary, the more professional you’ll look to prospective employers. Knowing how to use words like ‘opportunity’,’referral’, and ‘commission’ will not only get you ahead in the competition, but it will also make you look more professional to the employers that you’re seeking to work for.
No Spelling Mistakes
Even if you’re a native English speaker, you’ll find spelling mistakes in everyone’s writing. Spelling errors are therefore an unavoidable evil in human text. To put it another way, if you’re seeking to impress someone with your spelling, you’re wasting your time. Instead of trying to correct every spelling mistake in your text, learn to live with them and make the most of your incorrect spellings.
You don’t need to be completely free of spelling mistakes to be able to demonstrate your ability to write in English, but you do need to be able to identify and correct your mistakes as soon as you spot them. Doing this will also give you a better understanding of how to write in English and how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
No Grammar Mistakes
Grammar mistakes are another common error that you’ll encounter as you write more and more. Although they might not seem very important, correct grammar can certainly make your writing look more professional. If you’re seeking to impress the reader with your English abilities, you’d better be careful not to make any grammatical errors.
It’s a good idea to have someone else proofread your writing before you hand it in. This will help you identify any errors that you’ve made, as well as give you a better understanding of how to construct a correct sentence. Learning to identify and correct your grammar mistakes will not only get you ahead in the competition, but it will also make you look more professional to the employers that you’re seeking to work for.
An Appropriate Content Structure
An appropriate content structure refers to the way in which you’ve organised your information on the page. Your writing sample should consist of a number of paragraphs, each one containing three to five sentences. These paragraphs should be easy to read and follow without unnecessary repetition or wording variations. Additionally, make sure that your paragraphs contain an introductory sentence followed by a main idea or argument. A good content structure will make your writing look more professional and ensure that the reader stays engaged in what you’re writing. If you’re seeking to impress the reader with your creativity and research skills, creating an appropriate content structure is the key to doing so.
No Too Many Word Breaks
If you break a word in two or more places, it makes it harder for the reader to understand. Although it’s tempting to split words to make them easier to understand, this is generally a bad idea. Unless there’s something specifically wrong with the English language, you don’t need to split words to make them easier to understand. Instead, rephrase the word so that it’s easier to break it down into individual letters. Doing this will not only make it easier for the reader, but it will also help you identify errors in your work.
In addition, you don’t need to use all capitals when writing in English. Although it’s common to see people do this, it’s generally not necessary. When writing in English, use lower case letters and simple sentences. These things will not only make the writing look more professional, but it will also help you write more creatively.
Include any and all relevant skills that you possess that the employer may be seeking. It’s a good idea to think of a writing sample as something that will assist your personal profile rather than an academic piece of work. As a general rule of thumb, you should write something that is relevant to your professional experience rather than your educational history. This will make you look more professional to the employers that you’re seeking to work for.