After college when I applied to jobs, I’d send in my resume, my ridiculous resume, and normally a cover letter (writing! yay I’m good at that!), and then I’d either get a phone call or an email saying they’d like to talk to me in person for an interview. So I’d go to the interview, a meeting I’m honestly never nervous at, (because I’m talking about myself – how can I mess that up?), and after anything from ten to sixty-or-so minutes later, without me doing anything but answer questions and talk about my strengths and weaknesses (math), these people decide if they think I can handle whatever position I decided to apply for. Congratulations! Now we’ll train you to do what the job is.
Not for content writing.
For writing, I have to find the jobs first, because a lot of writing companies don’t put their jobs out on monster or the like. Once I find them, I have to apply, but it isn’t a resume they want. They want to read my writing first. They want three published pieces in the last three years and links to them. They want to give me a grammar exam before I even get to send in my email. They need me to go through multiple English tests to make sure I’m a native speaker. They need to see a portfolio along with a resume just to get their attention. They want me to tell them all the ways that I can and will fix their company in detail, multiple times, before even signing a contract. I send it all. I take the tests and prove I can write and then if I get a response, they want another writing sample. Read the five pages of our instructions down to how to indent paragraphs and produce a 200-word intro of an article for us on a topic we’d like and then if we like that, we’ll maybe give you paid job offers, they say. I am tired. I showed you all of these other people that trusted me to write and you can see that I can write in a lot of different ways about a lot of different things!
Half of my days are spent applying for jobs, only to get emails for the “next step” in the application process. If I went to an interview and these people gave me a computer and said “ok go – break room is over there, we’ll see how you do in this job for two hours, oh and we aren’t paying you,” are you kidding me? Maybe I’d get a few pages of instructions if I was lucky, and that’s after sending in a resume and a cover letter. I have no problem proving myself, but many times, this is overkill. If I take a decent amount of time providing all of my writing, all of my samples, if I take all of your silly tests, why can’t that be proof enough that I can do what you’re asking. If not, let me go. But please don’t put me through rounds of writing tests.
Shoutout to those companies that are starting to pay their applicants if lengthy writing tests are involved, but a large majority still want “proof.” It just shows how people that think they can write are flooding the markets, and so even the people that went and got degrees in the field have to prove they aren’t frauds.
Journalism and pitching aren’t like this, thankfully, but there isn’t as much steady work here normally, and pitching still takes time and research. It’s a rough world out there, people. But we all have to make money and having a few more steady clients would be absolutely lovely, so I keep writing, and sending out resumes, and taking tests, and pitching articles, and researching, and sending out LOI’s, and hope that some more people out there trust me to write the words they want me to write in the way they want me to write them, because I’m hoping if I have enough content that maybe someday, they’ll only have to hear my name. (How about that for a confident statement).