New job seekers will often avoid job postings that require anything more than a resume and cover letter. Clearly, an employer is utilizing additional requirements to assist in choosing candidate with the requisite skill sets and to potentially weed out lazy applicants (i.e., they are looking for employees that will go the extra mile). As a job seeker, you do yourself an injustice in not applying for positions that are a fit because they require more of you.
One of the additional requirements often requested is a writing sample and this strikes fear in the hearts of many recent graduates. Here are some things to consider to prepare for such a moment:
- Write for one of the publications on campus. It will guarantee a review by an editor to make sure that the product is the best representation of your work.
- Get your papers reviewed by the writing center. It will allow you another set of eyes and also teach you the skills that you need to enhance.
- Start a blog. You can utilize Blogs@Baruch to get your own blog and practice your writing as that is the only way you will truly get to be a stronger writer — more and more practice.
- Take writing intensive courses. These will require you to write regularly and get used to feedback. It’s a great built in mechanism to improve your writing and have many options for writing samples.
- Take on opportunities to write at your internship. If your internship supervisor asks you to take a shot at writing a press release or other communication, do it.
If you are concerned about your writing skills, the best way to address it is to write, write and write some more. Your writing skills will improve and you’ll feel more comfortable when applying to jobs where writing samples are required.
By Lisa Orbe-Austin