What does a writing sample look like? 🧐

A writing sample is a supplemental document for a job application that is often demanded in such posts where a significant amount of writing is involved. Some examples include journalism, public relations, research, marketing, etc.

writing sample

Employers often also ask for writing samples if the nature of the job is about communicating and writing important information. It also signifies the applicant’s competence because these are actual examples of work.

Organizations use this strategy to identify qualified candidates in a meaningful way. It also helps the companies to identify the candidate that match’s the brand voice and follow directions.

Sample writing contributes significantly to the career development of freelance writers, content creators, book authors, copywriters, and graduate program applicants. They also help to convey the creator’s skill so that it meets the job description of the particular job in a meaningful way. 

Purpose of Sample Writing 

The prospective employer can not just take the applicant’s words but needs proof of proficiency in the relative job. Therefore sample writing is asked to evaluate the applicant’s writing ability with the managers. Following are some of the major evaluations made by the employers in terms of sample writing 

Attention to Detail 

Sample writing should have a spot-on and clean copy of punctuation that includes zero grammar mistakes, typos, etc. Sample mistakes convey the message regarding a lack of attention to detail. But an important aspect in this regard is providing sufficient information about the topic, tone, format, style, etc. Unfortunately, many writers overlook these details in a rush to end their job search, due to which desired results can not be achieved significantly. 

Sample Writing Style & Tone 

A general style and tone are associated with sample writing. For example, some publications require taking complex ideas and explaining them in easy-to-understand language for the readers. On the other hand, such publications with a professional audience and scientific publications require using complex terms and relevant concepts to the industry. 

Grasp on the subject matter

Most applicants claim to understand the topic, but sample writing does not lie by giving a realistic picture in the end in this regard. A big reason from employers’ perspective is to ask for sample writing to ensure the claims being made by the applicants. Good sample writing shows an understanding of the subject matter. It can write clearly and accurately. 

Grasp of best practices 

Different jobs require the applicants to show best practices such as press releases, email copy, and writing news articles. For example, employers expect the writer to know about SEO if an applicant is applying for an online job.

The applicant should know about creating optimized Facebook ads if the job is related to Facebook ad creation. Most of such information is available on Google for free. 

Ability to do the job 

Sample writing provides the HR managers a more realistic picture of the applicants that they can fill in the organization’s shoes by fulfilling the requirements in a meaningful way. In addition, sample writing provides the opportunity for the applicants to demonstrate strong writing skills. It should be such skills that are considered necessary for the job well. 

Perfect Sample Writing Suggestions 

A perfect sample writing is attributed as one that pushes recruitment managers to publish it in the first place. However, a specific change of mindset is required to create a perfect writing sample in a structured manner. Such as a person should consider themselves on the job rather than applying for it to create something unique and impressive as a writing sample.

sample writing suggestions

Following are some of the key strategies that can help to bring the perfect writing sample. 

Step 1: Identifying key criteria by studying the job 

Topic: A complete range of information can be found in the job itself to write a job-winning sample writing piece. So a thorough reading of the job ad needs to be done, and notes should be prepared for the specified criteria.

The best strategy in this regard is that the writing sample should be based on the on-topic. Such as, if a person is applying for a health blog, then the sample writing topic needs to be related to a health topic. But a writer can also look for other indications regarding the type of work that a prospective employer requires for the published job.

Some of the advertisements do mention the specific sub-topics as well. Such as, the financial blog mentions investing topics, money management, credit cards, etc. This makes it for the author much easier to write on the sub-topics accordingly. 

Target Audience: Target audience understanding is also very much important for the author to come up with a good piece of sample writing. Most of the job provides the information in this regard and as a writer, relative understanding also makes it better for the target audience to create good content for them in a meaningful way. Notes should be prepared for the target audience, and good research in this regard can also play a constructive role.

Some of the key strategies to understand the target audience include studying the prospective employer’s website and social media accounts. You can search for this using LinkedIn, for example. The study of competitors’ social media accounts and websites can also be helpful in this regard to build up good momentum and knowledge about the target audience.

Researching industry reports about the audience and online communities about the target audience are highly effective strategies to achieve the desired results in a meaningful way. 

Writing style and tone: The writing style is an important element in a good piece of sample writing. Keywords are often used to describe the writing style. As well as tone, such as practical, actionable, authoritative and casual, etc.

A list of 2 to 5 keywords can be prepared in this regard that will guide creating the perfect sample writing. The majority of the job ad provides the length of the sample. On average, this range varies from 1000 to 1500 words.

Sample writing must cater to the word requirement in this regard in a structured manner. Employers are not impressed with the long document but rather shorter but effective content that can make a relative impact in a structured manner. 

Employer goals: Every business that hires the writer wants to achieve certain business objectives. So sample writing should cater to these requirements in a meaningful way that also increases the prospects of getting the job. That is why studying the job ad and relative identification of the business goals should be made in a structured manner.

For example, one employer’s goal can increase traffic because money is generated by ad revenue. A major business that operates on the traffic-based model is linked with the entertainment, news blog, and lifestyle industry. So sample writing for such an organization should be based on generating high traffic by targeting high-traffic keywords, identifying the most popular content on the site, and modeling it.

On the other hand, some businesses operate on the lead-based model, including consulting companies, b2b, and high-cost products. So sample writing for such employers should target the keywords that show commercial intent. Writing samples needs to be reversed by engineers based on their products or services. 

Step 2: Brainstorming ideas for sample writing 

When the key criteria are outlined as mentioned above, the next step is brainstorming the relative topics for the sample writing. The ultimate goal is to come up with the maximum possible ideas.

It should be written down on the page without worrying about the quality factor. Because if the filter of quality is applied, then the brain will stop producing new ideas. So a free-floating mindset needs to be applied at this stage in a structured manner.

The next step in this regard includes eliminating the bad ideas and narrowing the list of topics. It will be found that many of the ideas have come up repetitively. Nevertheless, the focus needs to be given to the quantity, not the quality. The key to achieving good brainstorming sessions is linked to using questions as a springboard for effective ideation. 

Research in this regard has specified a time of 30 minutes or more for an effective brainstorming session. Topics are identified first and should ideally be written down. All of the ideas need to be centered around these topics in a meaningful way. The audience factor can also play an effective role in this whole process.

The format is an important factor in effective sample writing. Therefore, mentioned in the job ad needs to be followed. If there is no format mentioned, then accordingly, research needs to be done for the professional format to be used.

When it comes to employer goals, brainstorming can be done to try to come up with such ideas that fit the topics and format. Traffic-based goals can be linked it using high-volume keywords and the most popular content. 

Step 3: Selection of Ideas

This is an important step in effective and result-oriented sample writing as such ideas that are incomplete, repetitive, or of low quality are removed effectively. The list prepared in the last step is narrowed down to the 5 to 10 best ideas.

Then, after taking a short break to get a fresh mind, the best idea is picked that is more exciting. Along with meeting the criteria outlined in the job and satisfying the customer’s expectations in a meaningful way.

This criterion is enough to select an idea to write. But if still writer is facing an issue with choosing the topic from the given list, then any topic can be selected based on its excellent quality. 

Step 4: Models to Emulate 

When the idea selection is made successfully, the next stage of sample writing is finding the 1 to 3 models in the writing niche. These models should match the job description, target audience, format, length, and tone effectively. These models can be used as a source of inspiration for the sample writing.

use other models to do a writing sample

The best parts of the model can be used in the writing sample as a guide to match the required writing style in a meaningful way.

Some of the good strategies to find the models include entering the subject into tools Ubersuggest and BuzzSumo. Google can also be an effective source of help in this regard as well. 

Step 5: Outline & Writing the Idea – Editing 

This part is about giving the go-ahead to create a skeletal outline and write the sample most effectively. Some of the important points should be catered to before writing the sample.

The first of its kind is about understanding the target reader and then feeling about this subject of the target reader.

After reading the sample, the ultimate goal to be achieved for the target audience is also taken into account in this regard. As well as questions or topics that will be covered.

The selection of models and their effective implementation in the sample writing is also helpful and an effective strategy in this regard as well.

Finally, it’s the editing that matters the most, allowing one to create stellar content that stands out from the rest. A five-round formula in this regard is considered highly effective in this regard.

Five-round formula

Such as, in round one, content is edited by supercharging it, saying it straight, going pro, and carving it up.

In round 2, writing quality is editing through rhythm and flow and sweating the small stuff.

In round 3 it is ensured that it meets the job ad criteria by trimming it down and adding value in a meaningful way.

Round 4 is about optimizing the best practices. Such as remembering the fundamentals, making it pretty, and building a connection in a structured manner.

Finally, in round 5, polishing of the content is done for perfection in sample writing. 

Now you ready to make a writing sample

Sample writing involves systematic planning and execution by following the mentioned steps, which are how perfect content can be created meaningfully. 

Should you need assistance writing a custom sample, my team can help you.

Simply contact me with your details using a contact form, and we will find the best possible option for you.

Vasy Kafidoff
Vasy Kafidoff

Vasyl Kafidoff is the founder and mastermind of KAFIDOFF.COM. He has a strong interest in education, modern technology, marketing, and business management.

If Vasy is not working, you can find him somewhere in the world attending a Rock Concert with his mates.

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