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What kind of writing samples should I give when asked?

Most jobs in public relations ask for writing samples before the interview process. What kind of writing should I submit? Are there things the recruiters prefer to see?

#public-relations #writing #writing-samples

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Meghna’s Answer

It depends on the company. Companies want to check how you write. Usually, the topic of the writing sample doesn't matter as much as content and writing style.

My advice would be to clarify with them if they are looking for something specific. Otherwise, you can check the kind of work the company does and bring a writing sample along those lines.
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Epoch’s Answer

Very thoughtful question Emily. I agree with the advice above and would add a few suggestions. Look at examples of PR writing from similar companies you are applying to. Seeing examples of published works may give you guidance on style and content that prove effective for that industry. Create some content of your own by reading up about a product from a website like Kickstarter etc and do a PR writeup on it as an exercise. They are looking at your ability to describe something and promote it. Creating different kinds of write-up may be good practice so you have a few examples and style. Getting in the habit of writing would be a good start. Good luck!
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Marija’s Answer

The best writing samples I have seen demonstrated the following:

- writing skills of the applicants
- selection of the topic relevant to the employer (choose a topic in their industry and write a PR or a thought leadership piece; or perhaps they will assign you a topic)
- keep it brief; showing ability to synthesize your ideas, convey them simply, yet with impact will make it a winning writing sample!

Don't be afraid to ask questions before you start writing.

Good luck! Marija



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David’s Answer

Very good question. Be very careful. There are now may technologies that interpret text and provide indicators about a person’s personality and educational level by the words they select while writing. One such program is called “Personality-Insights” by IBM. I personally tried using the application and found it to be stunningly accurate. While you cannot lie, you do need to phrase things properly to highlight the aspects of yourself you think you need. We humans are not just one thing or another, but a blend of all the aspects of personality that is measured. For instance, some people are considered to be introverted or extraverted. In reality, we are all both. It is really about degrees. A person can be 90% introverted and 10% extraverted. Hence, changing phrases, can put you in the light you want or need to be seen in.

In general, the actual writing, or application of English, depends on your audience and your purpose. Proper use of English can promote understanding of ideas conveyed. Phrases like “wow” can and will be interpreted by the reader based on their mood at the time of reading. Also, avoid using “or” and “not” in sentences. Always try to explain things from a “positive” point of view as shown below.

“It is not sunny” vs “It is cloudy”
“We cannot do…” vs “We can do if…”
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Robert (Rob)’s Answer

Emily -

In many cases, you'll be "assigned" something to take home after your interview and submit finished copy within a few business days. This is usually a mock news release announcing something fairly easy to digest - executive appointment, office move, award win, etc. The idea is to get a better understanding of your core competencies and your ability to synthesize new information under a deadline.


If you're simply asked to provide your own writing samples and you took classes in PR, look back to your coursework. Submit a variety of content types - news release, contributed article, blog post - to show off the scope of your abilities.


Good luck!

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