Finding a professional writing job is sometimes viewed as the Holy Grail by young writers seeking their first publication credits. A writing job may seem like getting paid to do something you love, much like a baseball player breaking into the major leagues, but in the real world, getting a professional writing job often requires years of education, followed by years of personal sacrifice. A small percentage of professional writers go on to become major literary or journalistic celebrities, but most continue to work in relative obscurity throughout their careers. A good writing job can be very rewarding creatively, especially when you know your words will continue to live on after your career has ended.
When it comes to securing a writing job as an adult, very few things replace education and writing experience. Many professional writers were voracious readers during childhood and took advantage of every school-based writing assignment to hone their writing skills. Taking a number of English course electives in high school, as well as at least one foreign language, is a good path to follow as a potential writer. Working for the school newspaper or yearbook staff is also a positive step towards learning the discipline a professional writing job demands.
Many companies who offer writing positions prefer to employ writers with advanced degrees. Those interested in landing a long-term writing job would do well to study journalism or creative writing in college. Both disciplines stress the importance of writing for specific types of readers. The work created in the classroom often serves as a introduction for the writer in the professional world. A writing job in the real world may hinge on the writer's ability to adapt his or her style to the needs of the employer.
Once a writer has acquired the education and the basic skills, the search for a writing job only intensifies. Many magazines and trade journals prefer to work with a small staff of established writers and some freelancers. Almost all writers start out as freelancers until they become established. This means learning how the freelance writing business works and spending a lot of time waiting for responses from editors and publishers.
One way to find a writing job is to scour both online and print-based job listing services for writers. These classified ads often include the specific needs of a publisher, along with the proper format for applications. Often, a potential employer will ask for several writing examples, also known as clips. Along with these published clips, an applicant may have to provide a resume that emphasizes writing experiences and a cover letter. Quite often, an applicant for a writing job is hired or passed over based solely on the quality of this application. To get a decent writing job, prove yourself as a writer from the very first day.
There are a number of businesses that may need a professional writer, even if they don't appear to be in the publishing or media arena. A qualified writer may find a writing job as a public relations consultant or as a technical writer for an engineering firm. Securing a writing job may involve thinking outside the traditional role of a writer. Radio or television stations may need a copywriter for news stories or advertising copy. Advertising agencies often hire professional writers to generate ideas for campaigns.
Landing a writing job often requires perseverance as much as raw talent. There are always unexpected job openings, as other writers move on to other assignments or decide to retire. A professional writing job can be very fulfilling, especially after spending years in the uncertain world of freelancing. You can best work towards your ultimate goal by keeping your writing skills honed and ready.