Let's face it: The bar is set higher for copywriters when it comes to writing a resume, cover letter and other application materials. After all, it's your job to write compelling copy with proper grammar and impeccable attention to detail. So why wouldn't a hiring manager expect the same when the product you're selling is yourself? Here are six tips to help you rise to the challenge:
1. Show some creativity
Conventional wisdom says not to stray from the standard guidelines when it comes to your resume, cover letter or portfolio, but copywriters can deviate a bit. Seize the opportunity to let your writing skills shine in your resume's professional summary and in your cover letter. Tailor your writing to the job you're applying for to demonstrate your ability to target your audience and sell your personal brand through the written word. Try not to be cute, sarcastic or condescending, though, just to be on the safe side.
2. Leave no room for errors
Although every resume, cover letter and portfolio should be free of typos and grammatical errors, copywriters are held to a higher standard. Make sure to write tight copy, use active verbs and vary your word choice. Read and re-read your application materials — including the file names — every time you make a change. Then, have someone else read them. Then, read them one more time.
3. Provide quantifiable data
Showing off your strong copywriting skills is just one part of the equation when it comes to proving you're the best candidate for the job. Demonstrate that your work garners results. As often as possible, cite the outcomes of the projects you worked on and how you contributed to their success. Include the number of page views for online work, response rates for direct mail, open and click-through rates for e-newsletters, and sales numbers for product descriptions you wrote.
4. Exhibit your soft skills
Copywriters spend a lot of time collaborating with clients and other team members, so soft skills are important. You'll want to prove you're an active listener, a team player and a good verbal communicator in your resume, cover letter and portfolio materials. Explain how you've used your interpersonal skills to understand client and company goals and how you've implemented feedback to improve your work. You'll also want to demonstrate that you're motivated, diplomatic, organized and adaptable — and have a good attitude.
5. Curate your work samples
If you submit work samples along with your resume, cover letter and job application, be sure to tailor them to the role you're vying for. Choose samples that:
- Correlate with the company's industries or those of its clients
- Represent the type of work required in the role
- Reflect the same tone or point of view as the company's communications
6. Play up your web and mobile experience
According to The Creative Group Salary Guide, creatives with web and mobile experience are most in-demand. Although you may not have the technical skills to design or program a mobile site, be sure to highlight any writing experience you have applied to those areas.
Crafting a killer resume, cover letter and portfolio package may take significant time, but it can pay off not only in scoring an interview but also in navigating the interview process and, ultimately, landing the job.