How to Improve Your Chances of Landing Your First Writing Job
By Yolanda Wright
You’ve walked across that stage and now you hold that precious degree in your hand. As a student, you absorbed all the knowledge and wisdom your school could offer on writing. You’ve crafted technical documents, critical analysis papers, personal essays and everything in between. If anyone is ready for the job market — it’s you.
A dream has never burned so bright in your mind’s eye and you are ready to conquer the world of copy or content writing. Yet, here you are three months after graduation with hundreds of resumes out there and zero job prospects.
Where could you have gone wrong?
All those job postings on Indeed.com and LinkedIn specifically said, “Looking for Passionate Copywriters” or “Now Hiring: Wordsmiths to Write Company Blogs,” and you dutifully applied. You sent them all links to your inspiring portfolio. You have the “writing chops” that they all want.
Zero offers. Zero interviews. Zero job prospects.
Here’s what you are missing — those job board postings that use words like “passionate wordsmiths,” and “writing chops,” are cleverly designed by the poster to weed out unqualified candidates. Your idealized concept of what a content/copywriter is not what companies want and it’s definitely not what they need. They don’t care about your “writing chops” nearly as much as they care about your ability to persuade.
Businesses need a healthy bottom line that depends on their sales staff’s success. The job of a copywriter or content writer is not to weave eloquent stories that move readers to tears — it’s to weave eloquent stories (a.k.a. product/service descriptions, ad copy, client recommendations) that move readers to buy.
You are not expected to be a storyteller. You are expected to be a storyseller.
So, how do you overcome that obstacle?
Simple. You write a respectful cover-letter showing them what they don’t need and demonstrating to them what they do need. Let them know that you see through the smokescreen and that you are a capable, qualified writer whose primary focus is selling their product or service.
You may need to beef up your understanding of sales and marketing principles. You may need to spend some time learning about elevator pitches and the difference between a feature and a benefit. But when you do — you’ll wow the hiring manager(s) and land the job of your dreams (minus the bean bag chairs and all you can drink craft beer).