Content writing is now an essential service sought by online businesses, both big and small. Top-notch content is an essential requirement for describing, showcasing and highlighting products (or services) in a persuasive manner. Whether it’s a website, a blog, an e-commerce portal or any other digital marketing collateral, content is the fuel that propels growth. Professional content writers are greatly required by companies in almost every sector these days. However, this is one job segment where supply greatly outstrips demand and companies receive innumerable applications for content writing jobs each year. Hiring the right candidate is a decision that leads to uncertainty for a lot of company managers or employers.
So, how does one evaluate applicants to separate the bona fide content writers from the aspirers?
The answer lies in the resume, the first touch-point for employers, which acts as a window into an applicant’s abilities, personalities and overall competence as required for the content writer’s position.
A professional content writer’s resume must essentially contain the following information above all else –
> The objective statement
> Educational qualifications
> Professional work experience
> Specialization and skills
Companies must bear in mind that the presentation of a resume says a lot about the applicant in question. A crisp, well-tailored resume is indicative of writing flair and a keen eye for detail, attributes which are essential for evaluation of content writers.
The Objective Statement
Provided a resume includes it, the objective is of utmost importance for assessing the personality and mindset of a candidate. Through a well-defined objective, a good content writer will always give you a fair idea of the kind of employment they’re seeking along with an insightful description of their writing abilities. In most cases, the objective statement in a resume is only fluff. Examples include ‘seeking a challenging position’, ‘to secure a position in a growth-oriented company’, ‘utilize my skills and experience to achieve professional growth’ etc. All these phrases are generic; there’s no specific information about the position being sought or the skills possessed or the company preferred.
Even though this section is described in only a few words, keeping an eye out for objectives that hit the nail on the head might prove to be a quick distinction point. A critical look at the way the objective has been crafted may reveal a thing or two about the writer’s language skills. If you find it concise, error-free and persuasive, you’re most probably dealing with a potential candidate for the content writing job.
Also, different applicants may use different headings or titles for the objective section. Whether it’s titled ‘Job Objective’, ‘Career Objective’, ‘Objective Statement’ or ‘Career Goals’, you should always look out for those that succinctly respond to the specific requirements of the job position.
A company will always scrutinize the educational qualifications of the candidate in question but it is not wholly indicative of the aptitude of a candidate. While a bachelor’s or master’s degree in English or journalism does seem more suitable for the job at hand, it should never influence your final choice. Good writing is an art that does not necessarily depend on college/ university degrees and you should not either.
There are many professionals who have made a successful career out of content writing without a matching degree. Any graduate that carries an excellent knowledge of linguistics and English grammar can be a good content writer.
Professional Work Experience
Many a time, multiple candidates showcase experience gained at jobs which are radically different from the position applied for. While it does speak of their familiarity with a professional working environment, it may not be appropriate if you’re on the lookout for a seasoned, professional writer instead of freshers. Look for candidates who organize relevant work experience neatly along with providing details of corresponding job roles and assignments they worked on.
If a writer has worked professionally in an array of sectors, that is always a big plus and you should look out for those who present this information in a precise manner with special attention to positioning their experiences as necessary attributes.
Specializations and Skills
This is where you should be looking for particular areas which will benefit your company. When the educational qualification and the work experience of two content writers are almost similar, you can easily choose one of them based on the skills that are relevant to the job.
Key skills of a professional content writer include –
Content creation and management
Niche knowledge and specialization
Familiarity with different writing styles/ themes
Search engine optimization (SEO) copywriting
Proficiency in conducting research
Knowledge of analytics
If you don’t hire skilled content writing professionals, you’ll ultimately need to train them on your own. Unless you’ve enough resources to do this, you should never take this risk.
Companies should go over all the achievements listed by candidates and look for ones that are most relevant to the job at hand. When it comes to hiring a content writer who understands the impact of everyday task on a company’s bottom line, you should care less about job responsibilities and more about what an applicant has achieved. Also look for links to at least a few writing samples or even a personal blog URL to get an idea of the writing style of a candidate. This will be an immense help in selecting the best content writer for your company or organization.
Finally, Remember These Tips!
These are some final pointers that companies should remember while evaluating resumes to hire the right content writers.
Keep these in mind –
Relevant educational qualifications should never be the key variable for selection
Professional experience and writing samples should give candidates an edge over their counterparts
Crisp and engaging presentation of objectives, experience and skills should be given important consideration
It’s highly recommended to ask applicants to also submit a cover letter along with the resume, as it will make the selection process a lot easier. Once you’ve shortlisted content writers based on resume (and the cover letter), you should move on to the next steps to complete the hiring process. For location-based jobs, you’ll certainly follow the in-person interviewing guidelines as stated by your organization. If it’s a freelancing (or remote) position, however, you may want to go for a telephonic interview or a Skype chat. In any case, you should never forget to create a list of key questions in advance to ask candidates while also making yourself aware of the warning signals.
What other criteria or tips do you follow to successfully evaluate a content writer’s resume so as to shortlist only the best ones? Please feel free to share them in comments below.