9 Fool Proof Ways to Land A Writing Job You Love
It’s no secret. I’m a writer and I’ve been working most of my life to get a writing job and now I finally have one. I was an optimistic little child in the 3rd grade when I knew I wanted to be a writer. How could someone know so early that this was their life’s passion? It doesn’t happen for everyone but it sure happened to me.
After 3rd grade, there wasn’t a single area of English or writing that I didn’t excel at, and yet somehow at the beginning of my college year, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life so I marked “undeclared” as my major.
I know I just told you I knew when I was a 3rd grader, but like all people do at some point in their lives, I got a little lost.
It wasn’t until my English professor approached me after composition 101 to ask what my major was. When I told her I was undeclared, she said, “you should be an English major. You have great potential.” I didn’t argue and went to my adviser to declare my major.
College was long, challenging and consisted of a lot of people asking me, “What’s your major? Oh, English?! That’s great! Are you going to be a teacher?” I used to roll my eyes and sigh. No. I didn’t want to be a teacher. I wanted to be a writer. But despite it all, English seems to point you in the direction of teaching.
After a study abroad trip the year before I graduated, I knew I had to travel more and see the world. There was too much out there for me to see and I was ready. I searched for opportunities to travel and write at the same time and settled on Peace Corps.
To read more about my journey with Peace Corps, go here!
Fast forward two years later, I completed my Peace Corps service with the high hopes of getting a writing job immediately. The truth is it took a lot longer than I expected to actually find a writing job.
I spent a good two months searching for writing jobs all over the country before one fell into my lap. I even got a few interviews too from some of the coolest places I could ever imagine! I received two interviews with the NBA to be a project employee and to be a Chinese translator, and the third was a chance to be a proposal writer for Notre Dame.
Of course, I didn’t score any of them, but that fact that I had joined Peace Corps was just enough of a booster to help me get noticed. I was in complete shock. During my first interview with the NBA, I thought I was going to throw up.
Not getting those jobs set me up for a job and a life that would end up being a perfect start for me. But there are a few things I definitely wish I would’ve done differently before to help me speed the process along.
I am going to do all of you out there, looking for a job, a favor. I’m going to give you some advice on how to get into the writing field. You may not like it at first, but in the end, these tips will help you in the best way and get you on the fast track to getting the writing job you need.
Do Volunteer Work.
I know you may think you don’t have time for it, but make time for it. Whether it is working for a food bank, AmeriCorps, or even Peace Corps, do something volunteer oriented. Employers have admitted that they tend to hire people who have volunteered because they feel they have more compassion, are diligent workers, are patient, and are compassionate. While these are by no means hard skills, the soft skills you need to perform in a work environment are most important especially when you are working with others. Keep this in mind!
Pick Up a Writing Internship.
After I got sent back to America from Bangkok, I immediately started looking for jobs and there are TONS of writing internships out there to help get you started on your writing career. Some of them allow you to work remote and others require you to move. Get a writing internship under your belt during your college time or immediately after you graduate. This will give you tons of writing experience to help you get into professional writing mode. Indeed.com is a great place to find these internships. Before choosing one, check out their FB and Twitter followings just to see how popular they are. You want to choose a relatively decent internship. Don’t be afraid to be selective!
Start Your Own Blog.
When I started looking for writing jobs, my blogs were an immediate go-to for employers. While it is basically your inner thoughts, it is also a way for them to see your writing technique. Almost every single employer who was interested in my resume took a look at my blog. Careful of what you post on there, however. You wouldn’t want your employers to throw your application out over something small. So this all brings me to my next piece of advice.
Start an Online Portfolio.
I have all of my work stored online with Contently. If I ever needed to provide samples of my work, I could provide the link to my portfolio or choose a few samples to place on a resume. You can upload as many pieces of work as you want and you can add pieces from multiple publications. People can access your portfolio and even see the publications you have written for.
Have a Decent LinkedIn Profile.
Have as much experience on their as possible, but don’t jump from job to job, obviously. LinkedIn is an incredible resource that allows people to see what you have accomplished but in a professional way. Side Note: Be mindful of the things you post on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs – employers monitor these when they are searching. Another added benefit is the ability to network and connect. Networking is so incredibly important! Sometimes it really is who you know!
Get a Basic Handle on SEO.
At the job I currently work at, I use SEO every single day when I am at work and not knowing any of it during my first professional writing job ever is not knowing my way around SEO. Moz and Yoast are two well-known SEO resources you can utilize to expand your SEO knowledge. With the internet rapidly evolving and things moving from print to web, SEO knowledge is so important. Even a little bit of knowledge could put your foot in the door of getting a writing job.
Start with a Basic Writing Job.
Getting into the job field can be incredibly overwhelming and even terrifying. You want to put yourself in a position where you can learn a lot and not feel too much pressure to do a good job. Start with a job like content writing, technical writing, or medical writing – if you have to. You may not like these jobs, but remember, they are not forever and experience is experience. Staying at a job for a least a year helps you develop your skills, allows you to understand workplace etiquette, and helps you figure out what your next goal as a writer is. Right now, I couldn’t imagine how uncomfortable I would be in top-quality positions like NBA or Notre Dame, I think I would have a heart attack. My current Content Writing is the perfect amount of heart attack for me right now.
Don’t Stop Learning.
It’s really easy to get any job and just stay put there. We tend to get comfortable or even fearful of doing more than is asked of us. Maybe we’re afraid we will mess up or we just feel we are good doing the bare minimum. Well, this is just absolute silliness. If you know basic SEO, try and figure out ways to boost your SEO skills. More skills means more opportunities for you in the future. Employers don’t want mediocre employees. They want go-getters and people willing to progress with their profession.
Believe in Yourself.
Searching for a writing job will take a toll, but please do not give up. You will get there. It is said that it will take 3-5 years for someone to finally hit their stride in their practice. Have faith in yourself and keep working hard toward what you want. And be flexible! Your passions may change as you learn and as you develop your skills. An employer may offer you a position you may not expect and how amazing would that be! No matter what, do not give up on your goals, stay positive, and keep gaining experience in any way you can.
As always, if you have any questions about how to be a writer or how to use Peace Corps to help you get into the field you need, subscribe to my blog! And stay tuned for my Peace Corps help guide!