You may be here with us today because you’re a recent college graduate, and you’re not sure where to start with hunting for copywriting jobs. You like the idea of working in freelance copywriter jobs but don’t really see how it will all work out for you. At least, not yet.
Or maybe you’ve been recently downsized, or furloughed, or simply let go. You’ve been in the workforce for a while, and you already have a pretty good idea of what you want and don’t want out of your career. By adding new skills, you know you have much to contribute to a potential employer. All you need is a chance.
In this blog, we’ll discuss figuring out what potential employers want from a freelancer, how to match your skills to their needs, and some dos and don’ts when preparing yourself for the gig hunt.
The Generalized Persona
A part of your job, as you seek new freelance copywriter jobs, is to highlight these skills so that every potential employer sees you as a viable candidate for the gig they’re posting.
Let’s walk through a typical job posting.
Work from home! Set your own hours! Seeking a dynamic, energetic, go-getter who has experience in research, copy-editing, and writing for a wide variety of topics. Must commit to 20 hours per week.
This employer wants a:
- Hard-worker (dynamic, energetic go-getter)
- Fact-checker who doesn’t make mistakes
- Versatile, adaptable writer
- Content churning machine to produce lots of content each week.
How can you shape your online persona, your resume, and your cover letter to meet what this potential company wants from you?
Here’s a second job posting:
We’re looking for candidates who have a working knowledge of creating SEO content and can keep the tone of each piece fresh and compelling. The ideal candidate will contribute one article a week, which will be submitted to our editor.
What does this potential employer want?
- SEO experience and knowledge
- Compelling, well-thought-out pieces
- One article per week.
These are two different job postings, but there’s only one you. How do you match your persona to both job postings?
The first level is to create a broad enough persona that the net you cast encompasses many copywriting job options. These two examples are for candidates with a very broad set of writing skills. The only major difference between these two posts is their expectations for how many pieces you’ll create each week. A persona that focuses on a broad range of experience, with a portfolio of examples that are diverse, would be a good fit for either of these two copywriter jobs. The generalized persona you create can fit the needs of both of these employers.
The Specialized Persona
If you want to gain experience in writing for a multitude of fields, either of these gigs may work for you. However, if you want to focus on highly specialized copywriter jobs–for example, as a finance writer–then perhaps these two broad examples might not be for you.
Let’s say you’re a furloughed financial analyst. You’ve got a ton of experience with financial topics, ranging from taxes, general investments, wills, stocks, company profiles and profits, and the global economy. Writing about pop culture or gardening is something that you’re able to do, but the real you–and the persona you’re cultivating–is focused on economics.
Naturally, you can seek niche opportunities as a writer that are a good match for your particular skills and experience. Your persona will be laser-focused on exactly the strengths you want to highlight, and in this case, that’s financial acumen. Itemize and highlight your strengths, skills, and experience. You can highlight your years of experience in a particular field and spotlight why you’d be a good fit for their very specific needs. This is a specialized persona.
The Real You
We get it–the real you likes to binge on reality TV and eat chocolate for breakfast. That’s not the real you that we’re talking about when it comes to seeking copywriter jobs that match your experience (unless you’re seeking gigs as a reality TV blogger.) The real you that we’re talking about here is the one who has very specific goals and dreams. The one who’s creating a roadmap for your future as a freelancer. The real you knows what you want out of life, even if, right now, the details are a bit fuzzy.
All this talk about personas can feel like we’re asking you to create something that you’re not. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. We’re asking you to know yourself well enough to encourage you to “go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined,” as said by Henry David Thoreau back in 1854. Streamlining how you present yourself to the public and potential employers is just a way to sharpen the saw. It makes you more attractive to potential employers, and it builds the confidence you need to go for what you want out of a career.
Best Practices When Applying for Copywriter Jobs
When streamlining your social media, your blog or website, and your work portfolio, there are some absolute best practices and some things to avoid.
Let’s start with best practices that can highlight your strengths accurately:
- Be truthful in your skills and experience
- Have cohesive images, fonts, and style across the board
- Highlight and itemize your skills, certifications, education, and strengths
- Keep your portfolio up to date. If you include links, make sure they’re all live and correct.
- Assess yourself honestly and show a pattern of continuous improvement and growth
- Seek companies and postings that are the best match for the skills you already have
Steer clear of:
- Exaggerated claims of your experience or education
- Overpromising your abilities to complete work in the expected timeline
- “Wishful thinking”–matching yourself to a gig that doesn’t fit your skills
If you’re honest about your goals, your experience, and your strengths, you’ll land better copywriter jobs that improve your quality of life. If you overpromise or portray yourself as someone you’re not just to land gigs, it usually backfires.
Matching your persona to what a potential employer wants is a win-win situation. When your talents and experience coincide with exactly what a company is looking for, it can be the beginning of a steady, long-term relationship.
Don’t exaggerate or twist your skill sets, experience, or education to match what you think the potential employer is looking for. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
When itemizing your strengths and skills, it’s best to assess yourself honestly and show a pattern of growth and continuous improvement.
A Generalized Persona is good for a beginner who is looking to gain experience in a wide field of content creation or for a creator with a wide range of experience. A Specialized Persona is for a narrower gig seeker who may not have the experience as a writer but has the experience in a specialized field.
Christina Rowell, Ph.D., is a content strategist at Content Workshop, Managing Director at Copywriter Exchange, and a former college writing instructor. She has over ten years of experience writing, editing, and creating content for healthcare, mental health, cybersecurity, and manufacturing clients.
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