Find out how to become a copywriter in under a year, from someone who has done it themselves!
I’ve learned a lot over this past year, from the beginnings of this blog, until now. I’ve developed my skills as a writer, in more ways than one, and have done what many might call impossible.
Somehow, though, I made the impossible, possible. Just a few weeks after completing my university studies, I managed to have a job lined up, doing what I love – copywriting. But how did I get there?
Copywriter Job Description: What do they do?
This time last year, I had never heard of copywriting. I initially thought my only real option was journalism. That said, I soon found out that there were a huge variety of options out there, that I’d never even thought of! So, before anything, let’s answer your first question; what does a copywriter do?
Traditionally, a copywriter wrote text, or copy, for advertisements, ensuring to provide catchy headlines for products and services. In today’s world of social media and online brand presence, copywriting now encompasses an array of written services.
From writing blog posts, to online articles, to press releases, to web copy, and so forth, the possibilities are endless. If you have a passion for writing, and are great at researching too, perhaps copywriting is for you.
So, how can you get there, without much experience?
7 Top Tips to Become a Copywriter
Having a talent for writing is one thing, but there are also a number of ways you can achieve a role as a copywriter. Take a look…
1. Be Passionate
These days, unlike years ago, pursuing a career is all about passion. There’s absolutely no point in doing something you hate, especially when you’re spending almost every waking hour doing it!
This is something I learned at university, when I was studying a course I didn’t enjoy. Changing courses was the best move I ever made, which showed me the true value of doing a career you love. That’s the definition of success, in my eyes.
2. Be Proactive
Finding a job, especially directly out of university, is difficult; more so than I expected. No matter how smart or driven you are, and no matter how many jobs you apply to, it won’t fall into your lap.
Applying for jobs is all about persistence. Don’t be knocked down by the amount of applications you’re sending out. The likelihood is, you’ll probably only hear back from around 0.5% of the jobs you apply to, if that!
I can’t lie that the process did wear me down at times. It was hard when I spent hours sending applications for almost no reward. It was also difficult to be spending the little money I had on traveling to interviews, without any success. It’s all about that big break, and it will come; good things come to those who wait.
3. Get Experience
Experience is something that’ll really help you along the way, and once I decided on this career path, I didn’t hesitate.
Start a Blog
This was the first step I took to getting experience. If people can see you putting your words out there, off your own back, they’ll love it!
I then applied on Indeed for copywriting or journalistic roles. When I applied to these, I expressed my lack of experience, but also emphasised my passion and blog, and people were very empathetic. With this passion alone, and absolutely no experience whatsoever, I got an unpaid writing job for a fashion magazine AND managed to get a paid role for Clever Touch Marketing, a copywriting company.
I wrote for these companies, freelance, alongside my final year at uni, allowing me to gain valuable experience, AND earn money, from the comfort of my student house!
What’s more, if you’re at uni, there will always be a university newspaper looking for writers. Explore your uni website, find the relevant contact details, tell them your situation, and ask them if you can start writing for them!
I did exactly that, and started writing for the university newspaper, Gair Rhydd. This was probably the simplest way I found freelance unpaid work, as every uni wants their students to leave with a job lined up. They’d be foolish not to take you.
If you’re not at uni, there’s no harm in writing to your local newspaper, or even your old school newsletter. Whatever you can get your hands on will add to your experience.
4. Make Sure Your CV and Cover Letter Sing
That passion I talked about? If it’s truly there, it’ll shine through in your cover letter. Rely on your personality, and don’t be shy to be descriptive. Tell a story about how you got to where you are, and why you’re so passionate about the role.
Remember, it’s a writing job you’re applying to, and your cover letter could be instrumental in showing off what you can do. What’s super important is to really tailor each cover letter to each job. Do a little research before you write it, and talk about why their company is the one for you.
My top tip? Even if they don’t specifically ask for a cover letter, ALWAYS provide one. This can be difficult if the online job application system only allows for one attachment. If this is the case, what I often did was create a PDF file containing my CV, cover letter, AND portfolio, all in one, and send that off!
5. Put Together a Portfolio
Even if it’s small, and just your blog writing, it’s really important that you put together a portfolio of your published, or unpublished, work. Make it visually appealing, with a cover page including a picture of you, and a little about yourself. It’s important that they can see that you’re being proactive.
6. Don’t Just Apply For Open Vacancies
Some companies don’t even know they want a new copywriter until you’ve jumped into their view. Find agencies that hire copywriters, and email them specifically with your CV, cover letter, and portfolio.
7. Be Yourself
If you do manage to bag yourself an interview, don’t fake it. Be yourself! I found that getting along with my interviewers helped me immensely – if I was chatty, and didn’t hold back, they seemed to like seeing a bit of personality shining through.
Can You Become a Copywriter?
So, that’s how I became a copywriter in under a year. It was tough but, if this is something you really want, it’ll be worth it! If you want to be a copywriter too, it’s more than achievable.
What are your passions and/or career aspirations? Do you want to become a copywriter? Or do you have a different career path in mind? I’d love to know – let me know in the comments, and we can help each other to achieve our dreams.