How to Create the Perfect Writing Sample to Get the Job

How to Create the Perfect Writing Sample to Get the Job

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Read the Job Posting

This step may seem obvious since you already read the job posting to determine that you need a writing sample. But did you really read it? Is the company looking for a specific type of writing sample? Do they want more than one? What skills do they want this person to demonstrate in the position? Take the time to study the job posting and get a 

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Read the Job Posting

sense of what type of work would catch their attention.

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Research the Company

You may already have a good sense of the company you're applying for based on their online presence and use of their products or services.  Whether you've known about a company for years or the first time you heard about them was when you laid eyes on the job posting, you need to do your research. Visit their website and social media pages. Take 

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Research the Company

note of the following items which will be key to your writing sample. Brand: What impression do they make? What makes their company stand out? This is the first step to understanding what makes the company who they are. Purpose: What goals are they trying to achieve? What problems are they solving? 

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Research the Company

Keep their purpose at the forefront when you’re writing. Target Audience: Who are they trying to reach with their content? What is their demographic? For example, you're going to speak a lot differently to teenagers than you would senior citizens. Voice: How do they speak to their audience? What is their tone? How do they come across? They might be fun and 

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Research the Company

light or formal and informative. Read the about section on their website, their blog, and their social media captions to understand the company's voice so you can match it in your writing sample. Writing Style: What type of content do they share? Is it long blog posts or listicles? Pay attention to things like word count, sentence structure, and syntax.

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Brainstorm Ideas

Once you have an understanding of the company, now it's time to get creative to create the best writing sample ever written. No pressure! Brainstorm ideas and write them all down. Try not to pare down your thoughts just yet. There are no wrong answers or bad ideas in a brainstorming session. Think about where the company can improve and 

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Brainstorm Ideas

where you can add value with your expertise. What content do you believe would benefit the company? Come up with as many ideas as you can. After reading their website and scrolling through their social media channels, you'll have a grasp of their brand and voice, so align your ideas with their style and tone. If you're struggling with ideas, check 

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Brainstorm Ideas

out the list of writing prompts below to get you started. Of course, if there are directions for a writing sample in the job posting, be sure to follow them. If they're taking the time to outline what they want you to submit, the hiring manager wants to see if you can follow directions. In this case, you'll need to bring your creativity to the writing 

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Brainstorm Ideas

sample through your words instead of the style of the piece.

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Choose Your Best Idea

You have a list of writing sample examples; now it's time to choose one (or two or three if the application calls for it).  From your list of ideas, ask yourself a few questions when making your decision. – Which writing sample excites you the most? – Which do you think the employer will find the most valuable?

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Choose Your Best Idea

– What writing sample will highlight your skills the best? – What idea is best aligned with the company's brand, purpose, target audience, and voice? – What idea best fits the criteria in the job posting? Remember, there are no wrong answers. A writing sample's goal is to showcase your abilities, and you can do that in whatever piece you select. So don't stress about it too much

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Write

It's time to put pen to paper. To get the ball rolling, start with an outline. An outline will ensure you hit on all the job posting requirements and help you move your writing forward if you get stuck. Once your writing sample is outlined, begin writing. Start with a rough draft (and it can be a very rough draft). Similar to brainstorming, you 

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Write

want to get all your thoughts down because you'll edit them later. It's okay if your first draft is messy. Use it as a jumping-off point.

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Edit, Edit, Edit

This is arguably the most important step in the process. Catch those typos! Crafting a writing sample with an excellent idea that's submitted with grammatical errors or doesn't meet the employer's requirements is a waste of your time and the reader's. The details are what will get you the job. Your potential employer wants to 

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Edit, Edit, Edit

see your writing skills and expertise, and if that includes mistakes, you'll make a bad first impression and likely won't get a chance to make a second. Your writing sample will have multiple iterations. Edit your piece for content, then put it down for a few hours or a day and come back to it. Then edit it again to polish the piece. Focus on checking your 

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Edit, Edit, Edit

spelling and ensuring correct grammar, punctuation, and syntax.

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