As graduation grows nearer the scramble to find a “real job” has commenced or at the very least becomes an increasingly frightening realization. As English majors we are both limited and liberated by what we do. The ability to turn a phrase and meticulously edit pages upon pages of copy is both bankable and likely to rouse inherently condescending inquiry: “So, what can you do with a degree in English, teach?” Luckily for us, companies are realizing more and more the necessity for a mastery of the English language and the art of creative communication.
So, how can you show off your skills?
Being a long-time admirer of the Vera Bradley product line and commitment to philanthropy and their hometown of Ft. Wayne, Indiana it seemed obvious that I should submit my résumé. After receiving advice from a knowledgable career guide, I learned that I should also compile writing samples that both show off my skills, display a thorough research of the company and its needs, and explore ways of increasing Internet and Social Media traffic leading to increased sales.
I created four hypothetical blog posts for Vera Bradley’s blog The Inside Stitch that feature both their products and their annual factory sale.
Number One: Generating buzz
Are you ready for #vbos14?
This post describes twelves steps to preparing for the biggest event of the year for Vera Bradley. Under the dome of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Indiana thousands of women (and the unfortunate husbands they drag along) gather for the week-long event in hopes of scoring garbage bags full of good deals–a shopper’s Mecca. This post generates buzz for the sale by providing tips on how to navigate it successfully.
Number Two: Displaying product knowledge.
Style My Vera
This post involves showcasing new products in a blog feature. Describe new handbag styles and their usefulness, while promoting additional purchases of scarves and keychains to adorn them.
What’s in My Vera?
A post describing a given Vera Bradley bag and its effectiveness and usability.
Your writing samples shouldn’t just highlight your writing competence and creativity. Your portfolio is like a job interview before a job interview and should display good research and keen interest in the company in which you’re applying. Maybe you aren’t thinking about applying to Vera Bradley or any place like it, but the principles remain the same. In the end, employers want to feel like you’ve done your homework and that you’re an employee worth investing in.