There are two kinds of writers: those who only want to write a book, and those who only want to write.
The first kind only want to write on the side while working a different full-time job. The second kind wants writing to be their full-time job. I am of the second type, and lucky for us, the popularity of the internet has opened many new opportunities for us.
But, as the job postings seem to prove, the simple skill of writing is often not enough for you to get the interview. More and more, employers want candidates to have skills above and beyond one profession, and it can be a steep hill to climb.
However, there are a few skills that can help you to stand out amidst the competition that don’t take a whole new degree to learn. If you are seeking an online writing position, try to add the following to your resume in order to boost your marketability:
SEO. Search engine optimization is something that any business producing online content will want. In a few words, it is writing in a way that uses keywords and long-tail search phrases to get organic traffic from search engines. This basically means that employers want you to write in a way that will help their content to get picked up by Google.
It is way less intimidating than it sounds, and employers value keyword research and SEO writing highly. Do some research, learn about the tools that are out there, and familiarize yourself with them. It’ll do you a world of good.
Social Media Management. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social platforms are a norm for almost any company. Many businesses will want to hire a writer who can not only write posts for social media, but schedule, plan, and maintain them as well.
It’s really quite easy to manage a business page, so to get a feel for it, try setting one up for yourself and play around with it to learn the ropes.
Copywriting and Long-Form. Sure, you can write long-form content, like guides and whitepapers, but can you write copy? Copy is essential for ads, social media posts, emails, and more. It’s also not as easy as it sounds. Copywriting can, in some ways, be more complicated than long-form because you are limited in what you can say. It’s sort of like comparing what you can write in a Facebook post to what you can fit in a tweet.
The same goes for the opposite; if you can only write copy, start learning how to produce longer pieces like articles, blogs, and the like.
Although, in my opinion, it isn’t enough to just do a little research in order to learn how to copywrite or write a whitepaper, doing some reading or taking a course can only help you to beef up your qualifications.
Online Writing. Writing for print and writing for websites are two different beasts altogether. While it is appropriate to have long chunks of writing in print, you want online content to be easy to scan and sort through.
Learn the ins and outs of writing for an online audience, and showcase your skills in your samples. This can help a potential employer to see that you’re ready to publish content to their audience.
Editing. Although most people think that writing and editing go hand-in-hand, they actually don’t. If you are a good writer, but you are a little foggy on when you should use an em dash or what a style guide is, you have some room to grow.
In businesses where you are not the only writer, you will likely be expected to edit your co-workers’ content, which means that you need to know how to spell, punctuate, and organize a sentence.
Brush up on your skills and edit a few pieces as a volunteer to use in your portfolio.
If you invest time in yourself, you are more likely to get noticed. In a job market that is saturated with educated hopefuls, you need to stand out.
By adding a few extra skills to your resume in your down time, you can up your chances of getting noticed, and you might even get a higher compensation offer.
What kind of writer are you? What skills do you have on your resume other than writing?
I’ll be on Facebook until next time.