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Careers in Writing

Creative, self-motivated, self-disciplined and research-savvy individuals have core traits and skills for a successful writing career. Discover what other skills are necessary and how writing careers are highly portable.

Many career opportunities await an aspiring writer. Knowing where to look for writing jobs can be a bit daunting if you don't know the industry 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 (articles, blogs, webinars, podcasts) for client websites
  • Self-publishing — write and edit original content, publish, market and sell by yourself
  • Freelancing — 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 employed 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, volunteering to write a newsletter for a school, community or nonprofit organization will help you gain that valuable line on your resume. To learn more about the resume requirements for writing positions, search for open positions on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search.

When preparing for relocation and the new job search, identify what transferable skills you have and determine the skills you need to find work as a writer in your new location. 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 employment.
  • 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 ‘writer and author’ in the search bar, click ‘More Info,’ then enter your ZIP code in the search bar to receive general and local information regarding 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. Click the Manage My Individual Career Plan quick action link to get started, or call a career coach at 800-342-9647 for a specialty consultation.

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