When you’re already in a job, your friendly HR team is a great ally. But HR is not your friend when you’re looking for a copywriting job and, in fact, it might be your biggest barrier to entry.
Here’s what to do when you find a copywriting job you really want.
Don’t Submit Your Resume for Copywriting Jobs
The number one tip I have for you is to not to submit your resume—that is, not the way they tell you to.
Most companies have you submit your resume and cover letter through their website. From there, it goes to the internal recruiter, a member of the HR team who is tasked with filling open roles in a company.
Generally, a hiring manager has given that internal recruiter a list of ideal characteristics to look for in a candidate: number of years’ experience, types of experience, etc. And, because that recruiter is an expert in recruiting, not in whatever type of role they need to fill, they rely heavily on that list of ideal characteristics.
So, what happens if you don’t fit the “ideal characteristics” mold? Your resume gets tossed, and you get one of those form emails that say, “Thanks for applying…your experience doesn’t fit what we’re looking for.”
How to Apply for Copywriting Jobs
The issue with a resume is it doesn’t show the full picture, especially for creative jobs.
You and I both know creative jobs are a bit more fluid. Just because you have technology copywriting experience instead of health care copywriting experience doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be great at that job. I get that. You get that. And you know who else gets it?
The hiring manager.
Whoever is hiring for that role—likely a creative director, copy director, or even marketing director—has a much better understanding of copywriting and copywriting experience than the human resources recruiter. When human resources might toss your resume, that hiring manager might be interested in talking.
So, eliminate the middle man: Send your resume directly to the hiring manager.
How to Find the Hiring Manager
Now, you probably won’t know who the hiring manager is exactly, but a little research can get you pretty close. Search LinkedIn to find the creative director at the company or, barring that, the marketing director.
Do thorough research, but don’t let it stop you if you’re not 100% sure you have the right person—if you get the wrong person, it’s exceedingly likely they’ll forward your email to the right one.
As for finding the email address, if you can find the email address for anyone in that company, it’s likely that it has the same structure. Firstinitiallastname@company.com or email@example.com for example. And if you can’t find any? Call reception and ask for it. (Try around noon or 12:30, when the regular receptionist is likely at lunch.)
Then, put together a killer cover letter, polish your resume, and send it off to the contact. Avoiding human resources could just be the difference between missing out on an interview and getting one.
On Episode 52 of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast, Nicki and Kate dig in to steps every copywriter needs to take before applying to a job. This includes advice on the LinkedIn “Easy Apply” button (hint: NEVER use the “easy apply” button!). Watch now and save so you can revisit before you apply for any work in the future!
Have you had luck “eliminating the middle man?” Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on May 10, 2023
I just did something very similar this week. Went to the company website, found the COO’s bio, got a personal factoid about how she liked red wine, but couldn’t get her email. So, I emailed the HR person and mentioned the COO and how I could help her pick out a good wine. I kept the email light, friendly, and personal. I did attach my resume and suggested they “poke around” my website when they had a minute.
The next day, I got an answer from the COO, who said my email was “fun to read”.. The HR person had forwarded my email to her, so now voila! I have the COO’s contact info and she already likes me. Although they just finished hiring some folks, she said she wanted to stay in touch and felt my skills would make me a perfect fit for their needs. Me, who has no 4 year degree, like most everyone else whose bio I read.
Nicki Krawczyk says
Good for you! It’s amazing what kind of great results we can get by just going a little bit further/putting in a little more effort than the average applicant, isn’t it? People really do appreciate enthusiasm and persistence—in addition to skill, too, of course. 🙂
Thanks for commenting!