One of the most common career paths for arts and humanities graduates is copywriter. Although many copywriting positions require an essay-based degree, the demands of the work necessitate the development of basic writing skills that are not taught in formal education.
Here are some key qualities that hiring managers look for in copywriters, as well as some pointers on how to hone them and demonstrate them in a job application.
The willingness to accept criticism
The subjectivity inherent in people’s evaluations of all of your work is perhaps the most challenging part of a career in copywriting.
Even if you write an article that precisely follows a brief and reads well to you and your colleagues, the client can still reject it for seemingly minor reasons.
In these cases, you’ll need to rewrite, or at the very least tweak, your original article to satisfy your client’s requirements. Negative feedback is difficult for new copywriters to accept, and it can lead to a drop in morale and productivity.
Experience and inherent trust in your writing abilities help you to be resilient to negative reviews. In a copywriting interview, you could be asked about a time when you took negative feedback and changed your style as a result.
Make sure you have a few decent examples of this happening in the past to choose from.
Changing the writing style to suit the “house style”
Marketing and public relations companies with many clients are the biggest employers of copywriters. Each client will have a distinct “house-style,” and all copy you write must be consistent with that “house-style.”
This means that you’ll have to change the tone of your writing for each project you work on. When more digital platforms evolve, you’ll need to change your writing style to fit each one. For example, an Instagram post needs a different writing style than a brochure.
One of the best ways to practice adapting your writing style is to try and write for magazines and other online publications that you enjoy reading. Most publications accept contributed articles from readers, and a large part of getting accepted is matching the style of the publication in question.
All you need to do to write for these outlets is to email the editor and pitch an outline of an article that you think their other readers would enjoy. Although most of these publications do not pay contributing writers, adding that you have written for various publications on your CV will demonstrate an ability to adapt your writing style.
It will also show that you know how to pitch articles which is a crucial skill for any PR or content marketing job and that you are willing to take initiative to advance your writing career.
Juggling several tasks when writing quickly
Producing high-quality content at the pace needed to reach competing deadlines is one of the most difficult challenges any professional writer faces when starting out.
Many copywriters are expected to write more than 5,000 words a day on a variety of projects.
Projects must be worked on concurrently, which necessitates a copywriter’s ability to move from task to task without pausing. Although experienced copywriters build systems for quickly producing articles while retaining their consistency, such systemisation is the result of practice.
The more writing assignments you take on and the tighter the deadlines you set for yourself, the better you can get. So, when you’re at university and right job after graduation, look for freelance writing opportunities.
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This will help you develop your portfolio, teach you how to handle multiple deadlines, and provide you with a guide that will show employers that you can work efficiently in a full-time copywriting position.
Creating material from briefs
The majority of copywriting projects begin with a brief, which is given to you by a client. As critical as the writing itself is the ability to follow a brief and consider the objectives that what piece of writing you create is attempting to accomplish.
As part of the application process for several copywriting jobs, you will be required to create a piece of writing from a “sample brief,” so get a few of these assignments under your belt before applying for full-time positions. Freelance writing jobs, which you can take on as required, almost always require you to work to a predetermined brief.
Accepting as diverse a variety of this form of work as possible will better prepare you for any type of brief that may come your way later in your career.
Sales pages, for example, have a very different brief than merely informative blog posts, and the more variety you have in your writing experience, the better prepared you will be for a full-time position.
A working knowledge of on-page SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Copywriters are supposed to have a basic understanding of on-page SEO since almost all copywriting positions require you to produce some website material. On-page SEO refers to the elements of a page’s content that influence its search engine visibility.
Reading books will provide a copywriter with all of the SEO knowledge they require.
Some SEO-related questions you may be asked in an interview for a copywriting job include:
- “What is the structure of SEO-friendly articles?”
- “How important is copywriting in an overall SEO strategy?”
- “How important are keywords in SEO?”
For more digitally focused copywriting roles, an understanding of HTML and its significance in SEO may be needed.
Also Read: How To Write A Winning Cover Letter
Copywriting Job Opportunities are everywhere
As we’ve seen, many of the skills that copywriter employers seek can only be acquired by experience. The freelance copywriting industry is booming, with plenty of options for ad-hoc jobs.
Most of the skills mentioned here can only be gained by experience, so while you’re looking for work, see what freelance copywriting opportunities are available.
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