One of the things that happens in a tight economy, is that employers want to get more for their money. It makes sense, right? Not only are there are number of people out of work, but employers are looking for that value-add so they save money in the longer-term. In my experiences, this has meant that employers are willing to sacrifice the quality of writing for those “extra” qualifications that they might be looking for.
Unfortunately, those “extra” qualifications might not be easily apparent when you’re applying for a job. Give too much information up front, and you may qualify yourself out of a job. Don’t reveal enough about your skills, and you might find yourself overlooked.
Now more than ever, you’ll have to show not only why writing as a specialty is so important for effective communication, but you’ll also have to list your other skills. Whether you’re technologically-savvy or not, writers often incorporate other skills that are important to list. For your convenience, I’ve come up with a sample list of skills other than writing that may help you promote yourself.
- analytical – Do you know how to analyze small details and glean insight from them? Are you familiar with web analytics?
- proofreading – Can you spot punctuation and know grammar rules?
- content editing – Are you a natural editor? Can you look at the bigger picture and restructure content?
- web copywriting – Do you know the basics of web copywriting? Or how about search engine optimization?
- social media-savvy – Are you on Twitter? Facebook? MySpace? It’s not a bad idea to mention that you know how to use the tools.
- community-builder – Do you know how to generate great discussion and get people to interact with one another?
- reviewer or critic – Do you write reviews of books, CDs or movies? You never know when someone might be interested in that skill.
- presenter – Have you written speeches or presented at a conference?
- style-format editor – Are you a master at word processing and know how to format reports quickly and easily?
- indexing – Do you know how to index automatically or manually?
- coding HTML, XML, etc. – Familiar with the ins and outs of coding? Even on a basic level this can be a real plus?
- blogging – Different from web copywriting, pointing out to clients where you blog can help them glean a little insight about your personality
- technologically-savvy – What kinds of tools do you know? While a long list of everything that you’re familiar with might not be the best, definitely let your clients know you’re not afraid of tech.
- photographer or video creator – Do you know how to take a great picture? How about creating short videos?
- coaching or advising – Have you ever offered other professionals advice? What about non-professionals?
- bookkeeping – Do you keep excellent books for your freelancing business? Have you thought about expanding that skillset?
- project management – Have you ever managed a project that you were working on?
- photo or image editing – Do you know how to edit a photo to make it look great?
- graphic or web design – Artistic? Know how to design flyers or websites?
Another thing to think about when you’re putting together your skillset, is that the skills you share will also help break down some of the common stereotypes that non-writers have about us. Blast those misperceptions of writers being anti-social and snobbish right out of the water and let your personality shine. The easier you appear to work with, the better your chances will be.