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Careers in Writing

If you're creative, self-motivated, self-disciplined and research-savvy you have core traits and skills for a successful writing career. Discover what other skills you need and how writing careers are highly portable.

Many career opportunities await an aspiring writer. When you look for writing jobs it's easier when you know industry job titles or varied occupations. A few examples of writing occupations include the following:

  • Copywriters — Write advertising copy and develop ad campaigns for clients
  • Technical writers — Write manuals, standards of practice and operating instructions for clients
  • Content writers — Create content, such as articles, blogs, webinars and podcasts, for client websites
  • Self-published writers — Write and edit original content, publish, market and sell by yourself
  • Freelance writers — Write and edit a variety of material for multiple clients
  • Journalists — Research, investigate, interview and write articles for newspapers and other media sources

Writers create all kinds of content, both formal and informal, for industries such as education, law, sports, gaming, entertainment, engineering, insurance, financial, medical, business and more. Every industry has some form of publications, from small businesses to large corporations on the state, national and international levels. Writing is a portable career that military spouses may want to consider because it can be done virtually or face-to-face, and it includes a variety of subject matter, forms of content and writing styles.

Most professional writers have a bachelor's degree, but experience weighs heavily in this industry too. Entry-level positions are out there for those with an associate degree. If you don't have a lot of experience, volunteer to write a newsletter for a school, community or nonprofit organization to help you create a portfolio of professional work. To learn more about the resume requirements for writing positions, search for open positions on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search.

When you begin your job search figure out what transferable skills you have and what skills you will need to find work as a writer. Some transferable skills found in the writing industry include the following:

  • Researching
  • Interviewing
  • Writing original content
  • Editing for specific style guide compliance
  • Attention to detail
  • Plain language writing
  • Time management to meet deadlines

Professional organizations and networking

Networking can be important to your writing career. Joining a professional organization can help you stay current with industry trends, policies and practices. You can continue your education through workshops and conferences and make connections that can help you locate jobs, form friendships and find mentors. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.

To get your name out in front of potential employers, it is a good idea to network and market yourself. Once you've joined a professional organization, consider establishing professional online profiles and creating a portfolio to showcase your talent and provide your information to potential employers.

  • Use social media wisely for networking and advertising. You can join social media groups geared toward writers. They often advertise job openings and provide opportunities for you to circulate your name in the community of writers. These connections may lead to a job.
  • Create a professional online portfolio. If you have the skills to create your own website, this is a great way to show potential employers your writing talent and computer skills. Make sure to link to any published articles so you can display your work.
  • Create a paper portfolio.
    • Include the title of each of your published pieces followed by a brief synopsis of the piece and something specific about your writing that you want the reader to notice.
    • Include a copy of each of your writings following the first page.
    • Cross-reference the page numbers of each piece in the document after the appropriate synopsis on the first page.

To learn more about writer and author occupations, visit the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Enter ‘writers and authors’ in the search bar, click ‘Search.’ Enter your ZIP code in the search bar to receive general and local information about the writer and author career path, education and certification requirements.

Create your own individualized career plan, or MyICP, for your career in the writing field. Speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 for a specialty consultation or use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website for additional guidance.

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