When you’re applying for copywriting jobs, you’re looking for a good fit for you just as much as the company is looking for a good fit for the position. But what does that mean? What makes one job great and one job “meh”? What, ultimately, should you look for in a copywriting job?
First, let’s set aside salary and benefits. A job has to have a salary that is commensurate with what you’re worth and a full-time job really ought to at least offer healthcare (if not a 401(k), ample vacation time, and more). Remember: your freelance rate versus your full-time rate will be slightly different to account for whether or not you’re paying for benefits on your own, as well as how you’re paying taxes (freelancers pay quarterly taxes, whereas W-2 employees have taxes taken out each pay period).
When you’re evaluating whether or not to take a job, you may encounter a lot of distractions. Perks like daily happy hours, chair massages, and free lunches can catch your attention, but they don’t really make a huge difference when it comes to job satisfaction. (Except for free coffee—make sure they have free coffee. 😉 ) As much as possible, try not to factor these into your decision unless you know, for example, that the company culture supports you using the meditation room and that you’ll actually take advantage of these perks.
For a freelance job, these obviously will have 0 impact on your decision.
Here’s what you should focus on instead when evaluating whether a copywriting job is the right one for you to take on.
Your Future Colleagues
You want to make sure you feel comfortable with the people who are interviewing you. After all, these are the people you’ll be working with every day. If you think you’d be uncomfortable asking them questions or collaborating with them, that’s a big problem.
Of course, first impressions aren’t always spot-on…but they are often indicative of what you’ll get in the multiple impressions afterward.
You do not need these people to be potential friends, but you do need to feel like there’s a mutual respect for the work you’d be doing together and an openness to new ideas.
Your Potential Manager
You’ll also want to learn a lot about the person you’ll be reporting to. Does this person know a lot more than you do in areas that are important? Can this person improve your copywriting skills and teach you new skills?
If the answers to those questions are “yes” then it may be a great opportunity to gain more experience and learn from someone who is in a position you may want to grow into.
Because this person likely does have more experience than you, you may feel intimidated or reluctant to want to work with them. Try to recognize whether this is a feeling of resistance versus simply a bad vibe. Does your hesitation stem from being pushed outside your comfort zone? This is a good thing as it’s the only way we grow as copywriters or otherwise.
The Work You’ll Do
You want to learn as much as possible about the kind of work you’ll be doing there and also whether there will be opportunities to do different kinds of work. One of the swiftest routes to burnout is to do the same work, day in and day out.
For example, if each week you’re going to write 50 product descriptions with no opportunity to ever work on another medium, that may get old real fast. But, if there’s a chance to start with product descriptions and move onto email, websites, and other types of writing, it will keep the work interesting (not to mention be an opportunity to build your portfolio!). After all, a lot of organizations aren’t going to give a new-to-them copywriter their most important projects right out the gate, no matter how good your portfolio.
But starting small is one thing, you want to make sure there is room to grow and opportunities to learn something new.
The Level of Collaboration
You also want to know if people are very specialized (read: siloed) in their jobs, or if there’s a lot of cross-departmental collaboration. The more people you work with in other departments, the more you’ll learn about their work and how your work relates to theirs. You’d be surprised at how valuable it is to understand even just a little bit of how a website is developed, for example.
Especially when you’re first starting out, but even when you’ve been a copywriter for years, looking for jobs that will allow you to collaborate with new people in new ways is a great way to stay fresh and increase the value that you bring to all your projects.
The Main Takeaway? Make Sure You Can Learn!
If you’re paying close attention, you’ve probably noticed a pattern: Learning. Your biggest concern when you’re looking for a job is making sure it’s a place where you can build on your current abilities and knowledge and add new things to the mix.
And, as I alluded to above, this doesn’t just mean copywriting. Yes, you should always be honing your copywriting skills. But if a job also offers you the opportunity to work closely with (and, thus, learn from) the development team or the PR team as a couple of examples, you should strongly consider it.
Of course, it’s impossible to predict whether or not a job will be right for you with 100% accuracy. But if you opt for a job in which you know you’ll learn something, you know you’ll walk out of it with knowledge that will only make you more marketable for your next job.
And remember: no copywriting job is permanent. So, instead of asking, “is this the perfect fit?” Ask yourself, “am I committed to learning something from this?”
Your turn! Did you have a moment when you knew a job was or wasn’t for you? What was it? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on May 10, 2023
Thanks for this. It helped me see my current situation in a better light. I’m 3 months in to a new copywriting role and instead of being intimidated by my well-experienced new colleagues, and the realization of how much I don’t know (yet), I’m now going to look at all of the learning to be done. And the benefit it will be for me when I go after my next role/job/project.
Kate Sitarz says
So happy to hear this resonated with you, Donisha! Keep us posted on how it goes 🙂