Put your diploma on the shelf and pack away your cap and gown. It’s time to start applying for jobs and the first step is preparing your resume and work samples. As a recent college grad, you probably have the urge to send your application and work to anyone with an email address right away. There are several issues with this approach, but today I want to focus on work sample content.
Understandably, your work samples are from school or a past internship. There is nothing wrong with using this content as an example, but remember the work you submit is how your potential employer will gauge your skill set.
It’s not uncommon to collect work from your years in college, but as you grow and develop as a writer, some of that early work is probably not in the best shape. You’ve hopefully learned in that time, so use your knowledge to kick the early work up a bit. You have the opportunity to fix past mistakes, revitalize old content and expand on topics from a new perspective. Before you start applying for jobs, consider these ideas for refreshing your work samples.
Things change over time, we all know this to be true. My case study on Seaworld’s media monitoring and reaction would look a lot different today then when I wrote it almost two years ago. Do your research on the topic and update it to make it relevant. If you are trying to impress an employer, don’t give them stale, outdated content that you haven’t thought about in a year.
One way to give new life to old content is by keeping a close eye on word choice. Is there a better, more intriguing way to convey your message? Limited word choice is hard to see when you’re trying to get initial thoughts out, so go back and add a little word color to the page. Play with sentence structure, you don’t have to go overboard simply try to find new ways to engage your reader.
Writing, whatever style or topic, makes you a better writer. Work through previously written pieces and mistakes become glaringly obvious, now you know some of your writing flaws and can avoid them in the future.
You’re not writing for a professor or for a class presentation. Your audience has changed and the content should reflect that. You have a little more freedom to try new things and push your boundaries. Let potential employers know you put time and effort into the work samples you’re asking them to read.
In order to repurpose new material you have to create content in the first place. Blogging is the best way to sharpen those skills and open your mind to more creative topics. Blog about your industry, write about things that you are passionate about or write about your dog for all I care, just keep writing. Who knows, maybe one of those blogs will get a visit from you in the future and get a fresh new look.