Writing is a highly enjoyable and accessible past time for many people in this age, largely thanks to the portability of the Internet and computers themselves. With the need for pen and paper left far behind, it’s easier than ever to type down your thoughts, ideas and experiences in a format that’s quick and easy to edit and share with a potential wealth of readers. So, being a professional writer should surely be an open and easy business to break in to, right?
In short, yes and no. If you want to find that paid position in writing, there’s a lot you can do. Here are some tips that address just some of the things you can do to get you closer to your ideal career!
You’d be surprised, maybe even amazed, at the number of people who want to work in fields such as copywriting, journalism and the like, but don’t do any writing – ever! Writing in your spare time is key if you want to make it a means of living, and there are lots of ways to do this. Blogging is the most straightforward and accessible, with platforms such as Wordpress and Blogger offering a mix of free and paid options to host your blog on. There are always volunteer article options too, for those who are willing to find them. It doesn’t have to pay to be worthwhile.
It’s no good applying for writing jobs if your CV or cover letter is riddled with spelling and grammatical issues. First impressions are key, and never more so than in the job market. If you want to stand out from the crowd, start basic. A candidate with simple, but precise language will always win over a candidate with complex, reaching vocabulary filled with errors and misconstrued wording.
Quite simply, what is it that you want to do? There are many industries and areas across the globe that need practised and competent writers. Industries and service providers often require bid writers to submit proposals on their behalf, in order to win them jobs and contracts. Other companies may want technical writers, who take complex or specialised language which needs to be simplified for the average person, writing content for manuals and instruction booklets. Perhaps most obvious are the more creative roles such as copywriters for magazines or company blogs and websites. Each of these roles demands a different kind of grasp of written communication – consider your natural talents and measure them against these.
No, not your haircut or your clothes – the way you present yourself to the world, and therefore to prospective employers. This is generally good career advice in any case, but for writing, you need to consider that anything you’ve written is, essentially, an example of your work. If you wrote a lengthy, rambling piece on a hardcore political website, is that going to mesh well with the company that wants blog posts on family-friendly days out and activities? Writing everything on paper might be a thing of the past, but you still need to consider your paper trail. Don’t just take every opportunity that comes your way; ask yourself if this is something you’re happy to have your name, and often your face, associated with.
Research for the world of professional writing doesn’t stop at the dictionary or thesaurus. Being able to research and assimilate information about new topics is essential for a writer who freelances and ends up dipping their toes in many different subjects, but you need to know the nitty-gritty and the boring legal stuff too. If you go freelance, will you register as self-employed? Would you write up your own contract or rely on clients to use theirs? Do you know what to do about tax? The most gifted wordsmith in the world could be brought down by missing these essential details. As with all things in life, you owe it to yourself to know exactly what you’re getting into.
Ethan Lee writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs, visit our website.
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