As content marketing roles evolve, brands and agencies alike are starving for individuals who can write, edit, manage a blog, and secure publication placements. So how does a candidate prepare to land a job in this field?
Here are five tips that will help you nail your next content marketing interview.
1. Submit a Writing Sample That Will Blow Your Interviewer Away
If you’re interviewing for a role in content marketing, you’ll likely be doing some writing. An error-riddled résumé declaring that you’re a fabulous writer won’t cut it.
One way you can stand out prior to the interview is by sending over a short, yet exceptional, writing sample. Even if the company doesn’t request it, it gives interviewers an idea of what you can do before you walk in the door. That means you can spend more time in the interview talking specifics instead of getting quizzed on your AP Style chops.
Here are a few dos and don’ts when sending a writing sample:
Be strategic. Consider the type of writing the role requires, and send a sample that has a similar purpose or tone. Your sample doesn’t have to revolve around a topic related to the position. Writing a how-to blog post or a news-oriented piece on any topic will show the breadth of your skills.
Highlight your personality. Choose a writing sample that showcases your personality and passion for a topic. If you can captivate the hiring manager, you’re already ahead of the curve. On the other hand, if the hiring manager struggles to get through your sample, she likely won’t bring you in for an interview.
Don’t send a novel. No, I’m not joking. I’ve received actual novels as writing samples in the past. While I’m sure your latest sci-fi tale is wonderful, a hiring manager doesn’t have 10 hours to read it prior to the interview. Send a sample that is fewer than 1,000 words unless otherwise specified.
Don’t fake it. If your savvy writer friend gives your sample a total overhaul, an employer will spot the discrepancy in your writing skills the first day on the job. Show what you can do, not what a fantastic editor your friend is.
2. Come Well-Versed in the Company’s Content Efforts
If you’re applying for a role in content, you need to know what the company is currently up to. Check out its blog, external content, social feeds, etc., and try to get a feel for the different types of content it produces and how your skills would lend to this.
Reading the company’s content shows the hiring manager that you’ve done your homework, you’re self-motivated, and you’re serious about the role. Familiarizing yourself with the company’s content and personality will also prepare you to tackle the interview questions.
3. Get Creative With the Questions You Ask
When you’re applying for a specific role the interviewer also holds, you’ve hit a gold mine of career advice. Don’t ask generic questions about her favorite parts of the job. Instead, ask specific questions that will help you prep for the position if it’s offered to you. Ask about publications the person reads to stay informed, where she finds inspiration for article topics, or anything specific to the role that can help you determine whether it’s the right fit.
Although it might feel like the company is scrutinizing you, you’re also vetting the company. If the interviewer isn’t passionate about what the company does or the content it produces, you might want to rethink the position and company in general.
4. Come Equipped With Specific Ideas
If you’re applying for any creative role, the interview is your opportunity to show your stuff. Saying you’re creative won’t get the interviewer amped; showing you’re creative by suggesting article or blog post ideas based on trends you’ve read about will surely catch her attention.
5. Sell Yourself as an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Regardless of the position you’re applying for, you need to sell yourself to the interviewer. Think through what you can bring to the company, why you’d be valuable to the bottom line, and the steps you can take (or processes you can put in place) to make an impact.
The hiring manager may ask, “Why are you the best candidate for the position?” Don’t say, “Because I’m creative, detail-oriented, and a team player.” Dig deeper into the company’s needs, and come prepared with a compelling response. If you don’t think the role you’re applying for impacts the company on a larger scale, think again.
Companies are looking for confident and highly skilled applicants to bring their content marketing efforts to life. When you differentiate yourself by researching the company and coming armed with a few innovative ideas for improving it, you won’t have to push a hard sell — your knowledge and preparation will speak for you.
This article was co-authored by Courtney Mudd, director of human resources at Influence & Co.
Kelsey Meyer is the president of Influence & Co., which specializes in extracting knowledge to create and distribute content that fuels companies’ executive branding and content marketing.
Connect with Kelsey on Twitter @Kelsey_M_Meyer.