After spending the last six months reviewing resumes and leafing through writing samples, I have come to question whether the majority of the people who responded to our job posting actually know what a writer is. In fact, I have often wondered if the majority of those who claim to be “writers” truly understand the craft at a professional level.
Let us first consider this: if someone who took a first aid course say, 10-20 years ago, and who casually kept up-to-date on medical news via Google, claimed to be a medical expert, or even a doctor, would you allow them to perform surgery on you? Would you hire them to work at a hospital? Probably not, unless you are presented with the opportunity after a zombie apocalypse and your only other choice is someone who once worked at a Band-Aid factory.
Or, if you were looking to build a house, would you hire an actual carpenter, or would you enlist your neighbour from next door who has a penchant for making birdhouses? Again, the only time this would be a good fit is if he or she were your only choice, as in you survived the zombies and are now responsible for rebuilding human civilization.
But for some reason, people think differently about writing. Perhaps it’s because everyone is technically able to do it. That small difference, the ability to type a word or hold a pen, seems to make a ridiculous number of people feel as if they deserve to be paid for writing, when in reality, they most definitely should not.
Now, that may sound harsh, but writing is a profession just like any other, and those who excel at it deserve to be recognized for the time and skill they put in. We go to school, we spend hours learning how to navigate grammatical turmoil, we learn how to influence emotion through content, and we pay for the privilege to do so. We deserve to be treated just as any other professional would be, after all of the blood, sweat, and tears we put in.
Is it so much to ask that those who have no professional training in writing, who have never even written for an internship or client before, refrain from applying for jobs where their main responsibility will be to write?
As a PSA, I beg of you, don’t contribute to the avalanche of resumes that get sent in for writing positions if you don’t have samples. If you don’t have any professional experience whatsoever. If you have never been to school for writing, editing, or publishing in any capacity.
Please, if you only write for fun, and you don’t know the difference between “their” and “there”, or “it’s” and “its”, don’t bother submitting a resume for a writing position. I don’t even mean this to be unkind or unjust. Certainly, there are many who have natural talent, or who are self-taught, and that’s wonderful. Get a couple of good samples made, either through a blog of your own, clients, or an internship, and I will gladly review your content.
But if, at the end of the day, writing didn’t cross your mind once, or you didn’t stop to correct a text message before hitting send, and you are only mildly interested in the technicalities of the craft, don’t bother applying. I will look at your resume briefly and then toss it into the already brimming “no” pile.
Writing is a profession. It deserves to be treated as such. The people who take time to learn it, to bend it to their wills, deserve to compete with each other. Respect the craft and you’ll become a respected writer.
Do you find that there are a lot of “writers” out there? Do you consider yourself to be a casual writer, or a professional? Do you think there is a difference between an author and a writer?
I’ll be on Facebook until next time.