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Writing Samples

Sometimes employers request writing samples with the application materials or want them brought to an interview. Writing samples allow employers to evaluate your writing skills, communication style, and ability to express yourself.

Any employer whose position requires writing skills may want samples, but writing samples are more common in publishing, public relations, advertising, media, research, and law.

Content of the Sample
The employer may identify the desired topic. If not, choose a subject that you are interested in and that is related to the job or field to which you are applying. Avoid controversial or politically based topics. You want the employer to focus on your style and skill as a writer, not judge what you write.

Appropriate Writing Samples
Just like your resume and cover letter, tailor your sample to fit the job if possible. Follow the instructions provided by the employer or in the job description. If the requirements are not specified, use the following guidelines to help you choose an appropriate sample: * Use the job posting to guide your choice and show the employer you possess the required skills. For example, if the position is research-based, provide an example of research work from your college career or for a previous employer. * Newspaper article, story for a newsletter, press release, policy brief, or research report or any other published piece. When submitting a previously published piece to an employer, be sure to indicate where the piece was published. Provide a clean copy, not pieces taken directly from the original source. * Reports or presentations from past jobs or internships. Samples from related employment are best, but you may still use a sample if you do not have relevant experience. * Class projects, papers, presentations, or speeches, free of instructor comments, are acceptable....

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