Depending on the job that’s applied for, usually for managerial or executive based positions, strong writing as well as excellent communication skills are always a highly priority for the majority of employers.
Whether the position entails crafting emails for marketing purposes, or writing lengthy concise annual reports, these jobs will usually require you to use your well polished writing skills on a daily basis.
For employers who are seeking validity behind that ubiquitous and often over used phrase, “require excellent written communication skills,” what they’re seeking for are writing samples as part of the resume package.
Writing samples require the same attention to detail as does the cover letter and the resume themselves, and the flow in language construction needs to be consistent as well.
Potential employees with otherwise impeccable educational credentials and suitable work experience are routinely eliminated just based on a poorly chosen sample or failing to submit one.
The “poorly chosen” samples and not necessarily poorly written samples is the rub. Submitting a well chosen writing sample will not only reveal the individual’s particular writing skill and style, but it also offers a sneak peek into what they consider to be relevant or important to them for the position that they’re applying for.
So if you happen to completely miss the mark by submitting the wrong written sample style, don’t expect that phone call for a job interview.
You need to decide how can you properly attack that sample request properly. Listed are a few guidelines which you can consider, making sure that your writing sample enhances your chances of getting that job.
Submit Your Best Writing Sample
When applying for position openings, know that the majority of applicants won’t even bother to send a writing sample. So if you do send one, then your chances of securing an interview increases.
It’s been reported that just under 45% percent of candidates will take the effort of writing one. What your masterpiece of prose does is it makes it a lot easier for the employer to choose from, while instantly eliminating the others.
Making The Writing As Perfect As Possible
Make sure that you write a true reflection of what you’re capable of and it contains no spelling or glaring grammar and punctuation mistakes. Employers although not perfect, and not English professors, don’t ask for writing samples just for the thrill of reading them.
It’s also no secret that employers know and can easily detect whether the written sample, the cover letter and resume are not authored by the same candidate. So short of committing plagiarism, which is an obvious reveal, candidates because of this should write and submit their own written words.
The higher degree of job that’s applied for, such as an executive position requiring an MBA, the level of writing skill obviously increases. There’s no point in hiring employees in these high ranking positions who send out poor quality newsletters, or emails with spelling errors. These writing samples as a result are analyzed much more.
Consider Writing Samples Your First Interview Test
Consider the writing sample that’s requested as your first interview. This determines how you the potential candidate understands the position as well as the rank which you’re applying for.
The content along with the language and the flow of the sample are extremely important. Writing about educational or accounting practices for an advertising position quickly demonstrates that the writer has no idea what the position entails, or the type of writing which is involved.
Also, don’t bother asking if the employer would give a bit more information about what they’re looking for in the writing sample, as that’s part of the test. If the employer doesn’t specify, that may be because they’re expecting you to know. If the length isn’t specified, then generally, a couple pages should be fine.
Know Your Reader Audience
Always know the audience who you’re writing for, as well as the job description. Decide beforehand who’ll be reading your writing sample. What’s their background or what field are they in.
Know the type of writing style that would best suit the person and position. If you’re not sure, or don’t know what the job position entails, then do the research that’s required.
For instance, if you’re applying for a PR position, then writing and then sending out sample “Press Releases” would make excellent sense. If you’re applying for a counselor position, then you might write a client progress report, similar to what you would send to an insurance adjuster for coverage.
Know What Not To Write
Knowing what not to write is just as important as what you do write. There’s a list of “no-no’s” that you should be aware of. There are reports of potential employee’s writing poems as their sample, or writing long-winded 15 page research papers, to ego infused essays describing oneself, and why their brilliance should be the prime candidate for the position.
So it’s recommended that you don’t follow these styles unless of course it’s requested. Don’t bother writing that 10 page essay about your courageous conquers, as just a few positions will require you to write essays on the job in the first place.
Be As Relevant As Possible
Keep in mind that the key for everything you write is relevance. Is what you’ve written and sending relevant to the position. If it isn’t, then why even bother to send it.
Never send samples on your political or your religious views, unless it’s appropriate for that political or religious organization of course. Never submit written samples which disparages a person or any groups.
Avoid using humor in your writing samples, particularly if the humor happens to be sarcastic, and can potentially be viewed as misinterpretation. This of course unless you’re applying to be a writer for Conan O’Brien.
Writing Samples Are A Foot In The Door
When you write and then submit your best writing effort, it shouldn’t place fear in the job application process. Just make sure that you carefully choose what you write and then ensure that it sells your communication style and skills.
This should place you at the top of the candidates list, especially if you’ve submitted a consistent cover letter and resume as well. If you’re unable or don’t bother sending a writing sample, then it may be possible you’re applying for the wrong position. Good writers are hard to find and a benefit, so your strong writing skills should propel your career into a variety of different directions.
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