10 Tips for Getting a Staff Writing Job

By Mark Nichol

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Chances are that your job involves some writing, but perhaps demonstrating that skill doesn’t constitute enough of your workload, or it’s not the type of writing you’d like to do. Or perhaps you’re still in college, or have a job that doesn’t involve writing any more complicated than signing your time sheet. Regardless of your situation, at least some of the following tips will help lead you toward the writing job you want.

1. Develop a portfolio of college or continuing-education writing projects that resemble the work you would like to do professionally, and distribute it, or samples from it, to people who work at a company or in a profession that interests you.

2. Blog about your passions, on your own blog or someone else’s. Again, emulate the kind of writing you want to get paid to do.

3. Find people who do what you want to do for a living and volunteer to do some writing for them — to supplement, not to pass off as, their own assignments.

4. Submit articles to a local publication or to a website for a nonprofit organization with a mission or an area of interest that appeals to you. If they can’t pay you, offer to write for them anyway (at first).

5. Obtain an internship in a professional field you’d like to be part of, and persist in asking people you report to for writing assignments until they comply just to get you out of their office. Make yourself indispensable so that when a writing position is created or becomes vacant, managers will think of you.

6. Get an entry-level job in a company or organization that sells or does something you like, and act like an intern. And, just as an intern should, become the person known for stepping up and solving problems so that your name comes up when a writing-job vacancy appears.

7. To help you develop your skills, study the publications you desire to contribute to or familiarize yourself with the types of documents you wish to write.

8. At informational interviews, ask what people in the interviewees’ positions look for when they assign or accept content, and refer them to your blog or another online source of samples of your writing and ask if they can spare some time later for a brief critique.

9. Volunteer for a group or organization that supports or otherwise is integral to the profession you want to work in. Offer to be a chapter secretary or outreach coordinator or webmaster/website content manager — all jobs that require writing.

10. Start out as a freelance writer (search this site for those keywords for information and advice), and ask your clients to let you know about job openings at their company or elsewhere in the industry.

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2 Responses to “10 Tips for Getting a Staff Writing Job”

  • Stephen Thorn

    Just a caveat (ala Dilbert) raised by number 5: Never be indispensible. If you’re indispensible you can’t be promoted.

  • Brain

    I don’t drop a ton of responses, but after looking at through a ton of remarks on 10 Tips for Getting a Staff Writing Job. I do have 2 questions for you if you tend not to mind. Could it be just me or do a few of these responses come across like they are written by brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional sites, I would like to keep up with you. Could you list of all of your public pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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