Writing Sample – Meaning, Types And 6 Tips To Note When Creating A Writing Sample
- 1 Writing Sample – Meaning, Types And 6 Tips To Note When Creating A Writing Sample
- 1.1 What is a Writing Sample?
- 1.2 Why is a writing sample important?
- 1.3 What are the different types of writing samples?
- 1.4 Important Tips to note when creating a writing sample.
What is a Writing Sample?
A writing sample can be defined as an example of a writer’s work in its most basic form. In other words, it is a piece of writing used to demonstrate or depict a writer’s writing skill or ability.
It is frequently used as a tool or means for ascertaining the writing capabilities of a person, either in professional or academic settings. As a result, it is often used in job applications, university applications, as a criterion for enrollment in essay competitions, etc.
Why is a writing sample important?
A writing sample is of vital importance owing to several reasons, some of which includes;
It enables an individual to demonstrate or tailor his/her proposed writing skills, techniques or abilities to the requirements or demands of that particular context in which he/she is being assessed or evaluated.
For instance, in a job application, the presence or use of a job application permits the employer or interviewer to assess how well a candidate or applicant can write and communicate in a professional setting or context.
In other words, it allows an employer to evaluate the writing abilities of the writer. This is vital in diverse fields such as marketing, journalism, technical writing, etc.
- The capacity of an individual to research, organize and disseminate complex ideas or theories in writing is evaluated with the aid of a writing sample.
- It informs an employer, interviewer or examiner of a writer’s qualifications or degree of expertise in a particular field.
- It is used as a tool for evaluating the creativity level of the writer or applicant.
- It can serve as a means for ascertaining the personality of the writer or applicant’s personality and ability to relate with an audience.
- It can serve as a means of evaluating the ability of a writer to adhere to specific rules, maintain focus and stick to stipulated deadlines.
What are the different types of writing samples?
The reasons mentioned imply that writing samples are used in diverse settings, excluding academic or professional fields. As a result, diverse writing samples are used or demanded for different reasons and in diverse settings. Thus, a few examples of some forms of writing samples include;
- Academic Writing Samples: This piece evaluates a person’s writing capabilities or abilities in an educational or intellectual context. Examples of writing samples which could be instigated in this context include; essays, research papers, lab reports, etc.
- Creative Writing Samples: This piece illustrates a writer’s capacity to key into or use imaginative or expressive writing. It is often used to evaluate a writer’s ability to evaluate the unique voice and tone of the writer. Examples of writing samples which can be instigated in this context include; screenplays, non-fiction, poetry, plays, etc.
- Technical Writing Samples: These are written documents which depict a person’s proficiency in communicating or writing about technical or scientific topics. This is used in a wide range of industries, including; technology, engineering, etc. Examples of writing samples which can be instigated in this context include; white papers, technical proposals, and technical descriptions.
- Journalistic Writing Samples: This piece of writing evaluates an individual’s ability to produce news reports or investigative articles. Examples of writing samples which could be instigated in this context include; opinion pieces, blog posts, etc.
Important Tips to note when creating a writing sample.
Writing samples are often associated with securing promotional or rewarding positions in diverse fields. For instance, a writing sample is often accompanied by a proper evaluation of the individual’s work ethic in the professional field.
If the proposed writing sample is commendable or in line with the job or specified position requirements, the individual stands a higher chance of gaining the rewarding position. The same applies in educational settings, although it may be associated with diverse methods.
This implies that it is vital for a writer to pay attention and create writing samples with utmost care. Thus, it is vital to adhere to the following tips to produce quality writing samples;
Your writing sample ought to be customized for the position you are seeking to get:
When creating a writing sample, having the position you seek to get in mind is important. For instance, if you are applying for a position as a copywriter in an organization and are asked to produce a writing sample to back up the proposed application, the writing sample should be written persuasively.
It should also be entertaining and written with the sole intent of hooking the readers and passing the information to the audience by all means. These writing abilities ought to be possessed by copywriters.
Thus, by imputing this in a writing sample, you indirectly tell the employers that you have the skills required to work as a copywriter in their organization or company. The essence of these writing samples is to convenience employers of this particular fact, and if you can do that, you have a higher chance of securing the position or the job.
Conduct proper research:
In all fields and all spheres of life, the essence of proper research can never be overestimated. The best way to bring the fore mentioned tip to life is by conducting proper research, taking notes and aligning the writing samples to the requirements or findings of the proposed research.
Thus, before creating a writing sample for an organization or entity, it is vital to conduct proper research on the following subheadings;
- The organization.
- The requirements of the specified position in an organization.
- Past or current works of the employers in the organization
- General or overall requirements of the specified position.
After collecting data under these subheadings, it is vital to tailor the writing samples to match the findings or the data collected.
Make use of specific examples:
Using specific examples when creating a writing sample is vital when presented with the opportunity. The phrase ‘specific examples’ is used in this context because the examples provided should align with the writing sample’s field, industry or subject matter.
For instance, if you are asked to provide a writing sample to showcase your ability to communicate with an audience, you can create fictional problems and their solutions and imbibe them.
The essence of using specific examples when creating a writing sample is to make the proposed sample more entertaining and understandable. Similarly, by providing specific examples, you can tell the employer or examiner that you can communicate with an audience in a manner that they will understand regardless of their level of knowledge or skill.
Highlight your unique writing skills:
Regardless of the high amount of research which ought to be conducted before creating a writing sample, it is vital to note that a writing sample must not always be standardized or written in a rigid tone. Often, it is vital for you, as a writer, to create or highlight your unique writing talents.
For instance, if your writing is always accompanied by a little bit of humour, it is vital to look for ways to imbibe humour into your writing, regardless of the genre. The bottom line is to highlight your unique talents in a writing sample. You are notifying the employer or examiner of your writing strengths. This could set you apart from the applicants going through the same process.
There are different ways in which a person can highlight unique writing talents. Some of these ways or methods include;
- Choosing a unique topic.
- Make use of unique techniques (i.e. imbibing specific techniques such as storytelling, persuasive writing, problem-solving, etc.) into your writing,
- Making use of your writing voice, tone and style.
Make use of proper formatting:
Proper formatting is highly important, regardless of the form or nature of the writing sample. Additionally, it depicts professionalism, attention to detail and the ability to adhere to specified rules. Therefore, when given a task to create a writing sample, the most important thing to look out for is the formatting instructions which may be attached to such a writing sample.
If no formatting instructions are provided, it is vital to conduct proper research and uncover the general formatting technique or style which should be used in that particular field and make use of it.
Proofreading is vital in creating top-quality and unique writing samples. This is so because its absence makes a writing sample look disorganized, and it generally depicts carelessness or inability to put in proper effort.
These traits are bad first impressions to give employers or examiners. Therefore, it is vital to proofread a writing sample as much as possible before submitting it to the required entities.