I’ve been going through some writers’ applications at BeefJack recently. I will, of course, not be naming any names here, since that would be a pretty serious confidentiality breach. And I’m not even explicitly stating that these are things I’ve spotted in said applications. I’m just, y’know, saying these are things you probably shouldn’t do if you’re applying for a writing gig. Here we go.
Fail to capitalise ‘I’ on almost every occasion
Because i think it’s a pretty safe bet to say i’m not going to give you the job if you do.
Say you “don’t know why” you want the job
Because if you don’t know why you want it, why on Earth would I give you it?
Write your whole cover letter as one long barely punctuated ramble
Write “I’ve” as “iv”
Also for serious.
Fail to include samples of your work
Chances are I won’t take you on-board without knowing if you can write.
Begin your email by saying you can’t work the hours required and you’d want more money
Genuinely for serious.
Have a conflict of interest
Oh, gentleman who was a good writer but I couldn’t take on! How unfortunate. But if your day job is working for a major games publisher, and this role would involve reviewing games, I just can’t take it any further. I’m sorry.
And just so you don’t think I’m a massive grump, here’s what you should do:
Be smart and witty
Don’t “tell jokes”, but do show that you have a sense of humour. If the website you’re applying to write for has a light-hearted voice, write your cover letter in that. It’ll do you a world of good.
Obviously when you’re applying for any job, in writing or anywhere else, you have to stick to format somehow. But being creative (but not overly fancy) in how you present your application is a real breath of fresh air when someone’s trawling through endless applications. Do it.
That most people still manage to do this means I still have some faith in humanity.
Send GOOD, UNDEDITED samples of work
If you send me something that’s good, but has obviously been through the hands of a talented editor, I’ll ask to see the unedited version. That’s if I remember. If I don’t, you might just never hear back – and you might in fact be very good.
Make work samples as relevant as possible
Which means, if possible, to write something up specifically for the application, correct to the publication’s style. If you can already nail it without any training, you’d make my job a hell of a lot easier were you to clamber on-board.