You submitted a dynamic cover letter and a succinct yet information-filled resume. You got the call for a job interview. Three days before your interview, you receive an email saying you need to submit a 500-word writing sample, and you get to choose one your own topic. Discover how to write a great sample that showcases your written communication skills.
Purpose of the Writing Sample
The overall purpose of the writing sample is to gauge how you communicate with words. Written communication is a part of everyday life at work in modern times, since emails and text messages serve as primary forms of mass communication. Your company wants to know how you handle words in print to make sure you can convey ideas accurately and clearly, since this helps to reduce mistakes and leads to better understanding among everyone at the office.
Characteristics of a Good Writing Sample
First, thoroughly review the job description and background of the company to which you applied. If the position revolves around creativity, choose a creative topic. If the job is all about managing a team of financial planners, pick a topic that's related to leadership and teamwork. Examine the core competencies you need for the job, such as organization skills, problem-solving skills or the ability to pay close attention to detail. Your sample can exude the characteristics necessary for the position. For example, you can create a piece that has bullet points and numbered lists to show you have great organizational skills.
Create something recent, and don't forget to cite your sources. Rather than grabbing something you wrote years ago, write about something new and fresh that you can discuss during the job interview. Consider selecting a topic that people in your chosen field are talking about now to show your expertise and passion for your industry.
You already wrote something recent for this job: a cover letter. Think of the strategies you used to write the cover letter, and apply those to your writing sample. For example, make your paragraphs cohesive and about a single topic. Make sure your words easily flow from one sentence to the next and the information is both interesting and relatable.
Make sure you edit the piece thoroughly. Your sample should demonstrate your ability to pay attention to the slightest details, which means there should be no grammatical errors or typos in the text.
Quick Ideas for Samples
Consider creating a press releases or how-to summary as your sample. Companies compose press releases all of the time, and there are plenty of them out there to serve as templates. A how-to or a summary offers a chance to explain a concept relevant to the position or your skills.
Your writing sample highlights how well you communicate, but it also showcases your intelligence level and ability to pay attention to details. Completing the sample correctly can give you an edge over other candidates.
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