If You Were to Hire a Copywriting Pup, What Would You Look For?

18 replies
You're having a meeting with a potential hire who turns out to have very little actual experience.

What could (s)he say or do to make you want to hire her/him? Right then and there.
#copywriting #hire #pup
  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Originally Posted by BudaBrit View Post

    You're having a meeting with a potential hire who turns out to have very little actual experience.

    What could (s)he say or do to make you want to hire her/him? Right then and there.

    What could they say right then and there? In my opinion, nothing. It's poor hiring practice to give someone a shot simply based on something they said.

    I believe you're asking the wrong question. How about telling us what you're trying to accomplish so we can give a good answer?
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    • Profile picture of the author BudaBrit
      Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

      What could they say right then and there? In my opinion, nothing. It's poor hiring practice to give someone a shot simply based on something they said.

      I believe you're asking the wrong question. How about telling us what you're trying to accomplish so we can give a good answer?
      I want to be brutally honest with everything nowadays, so here goes.

      I've got myself an interview with the creative director at a major marketing firm.

      If truth be told, I have close to zero experience. I don't have a portfolio of copy to fall back on. All I have is content, web copy, product descriptions and a couple of adverts that were heavily edited (and therefore failed, as I told the guy they would if he edited them...).

      With no portfolio to show and no time to put together a collection of fake ads, I thought I would create an ad for myself, targeting him.

      I've been researching him and I put together a list of everything I could do well.

      Now I'm putting those together to come up with something that will make him want to hire me.

      I wanted to ask you guys whether there was anything someone in my position could say or do to tip the scales in their direction. Just something else to add to the pie I'm putting together.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Here's how you get this deal.

    Researching the company is good. Demonstrating you posses a working knowledge of their markets and that you have a passion for them is better.

    1. So find out who their Clients are and the markets they are in.

    2. Do research that's CURRENT on each market and/or Client.

    Do that and now at the interview, you really have something juicy to discuss. Done right, it'll turn into a brainstorming session that'll get everybody fired up about working with you. Why? Because you bring so much energy, creativity and knowledge to the table.

    The trick? You have to become a quick study. A really quick study.

    - Rick Duris

    PS: If anybody's doing any scale tipping, the goal is to tip the scales in YOUR favor, not theirs.
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    • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      Here's how you get this deal.

      Researching the company is good. Demonstrating you posses a working knowledge of their markets and that you have a passion for them is better.

      1. So find out who their Clients are and the markets they are in.

      2. Do research that's CURRENT on each market and/or Client.

      Now at the interview you really have something juicy to discuss. Done right, it'll turn into a brainstorming session that'll get everybody fired up about working with you. Why? Because you bring so much energy, creativity and knowledge to the table.

      The trick? You have to become a quick study. A really quick study.

      - Rick Duris

      PS: If anybody's doing any scale tipping, the goal is to tip the scales in YOUR favor, not theirs.
      That's a damn good angle.

      And it's basic copywriting at its best.

      Know who you're talking to, and talk to them the way THEY want to be talked to.

      There's a lot to be said for being interested in the person you're trying to persuade. It sets you apart from the dozens of other chumps who are trying to make themselves interesting.

      When I ran call centers in the corporate world, there were weeks when I used to interview three or four sales people a day. After a week or two, you start hearing the same things coming out of everyone's mouth. As if they all read the same "50 Amazing Answers to Interview Questions," book.

      At first, it's funny, then annoying. Then, irritating.

      But if someone came in after having done some research on our company, which was rare, they had my attention. In fact, looking back, I only remember one person who did this and who I didn't hire.

      You might want to check out the 20th Century Version of Think & Grow Rich. There's a story in there about a kid, just out of college, who applied for a Junior executive role. He got the position, in spite of having no experience, because he laid out several ideas he already had for improving things in the organization.

      Know your customer applies to employers just as much as it applies to your readers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    In these cases, instead of hiding your lack of experience, you should
    highlight your PASSION to learn more. If you are hired on a false
    premise you are likely to get found out sooner or later. At least that's
    how I see it.

    -Ray Edwards
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    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • If I was hiring (unless the applicant was world class) I would prefer them NOT to have any experience.

    The proviso being they must have studied all the "classic" books maybe paid a mint to a few A list Guru's (not essential but does show commitment).

    Be good if they spent lots of time deconstructing and rebuilding stacks of Ads.

    As others have said they need real undiluted passion, flexibility and sheer determinism.

    I think this way you've got a good chance in getting red hot fresh copy (using the essential persuasion and selling techniques) rather than the same old stuff you see over and over again and again and again…


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Rick is spot on. When you don't have the experience (trust me you have more than many who've applied at my company alone. I'm sure that's the same in other industries), you show them the drive and passion.

    Figure out where you think you fall short of the job description. Figure out how your skills and your drive will help you get through those. Don't explain except if asked, but be ready to answer just in case.

    You're an aspiring copywriter. You specialize in research and digging for hidden benefits and hooks.

    You're the product now. Get out of your own head, and sell yourself and everything you have to offer the right company.
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    Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      I also agree with Rick's approach.

      It's very close to a technique Gary Halbert used in a weight loss ad he wrote many years ago.

      The ad takes the focus off whether the product will work or not and (cleverly) puts it on how fast it will work.

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        I also agree with Rick's approach.

        It's very close to a technique Gary Halbert used in a weight loss ad he wrote many years ago.

        The ad takes the focus off whether the product will work or not and (cleverly) puts it on how fast it will work.

        Alex
        "How To Burn Off Body Fat, Hour-By-Hour"? Phenomenal ad...

        Truth be told, I learned more from breaking down that ad than reading entire books on writing copy.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post

          "How To Burn Off Body Fat, Hour-By-Hour"? Phenomenal ad...

          Truth be told, I learned more from breaking down that ad than reading entire books on writing copy.
          John,

          Halbert's ads were an early influence on me as well. I bought a product that broke down 37 of his ads... great learning experience.

          Alex
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          • Profile picture of the author IDoTheLegWork
            Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

            John,

            Halbert's ads were an early influence on me as well. I bought a product that broke down 37 of his ads... great learning experience.

            Alex
            Is that product still available?
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            ..and you WILL contribute a verse.
            Indifference is the enemy that must be conquered.
            Appeal to the crowd by addressing the person.

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            • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
              Originally Posted by IDoTheLegWork View Post

              Is that product still available?
              No, the sales letter has been taken down.

              Alex
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            • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
              Originally Posted by IDoTheLegWork View Post

              Is that product still available?
              I don't know about the product Alex mentioned but you can get most of Halbert's famous ads in the link below.

              Gary Halbert
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              • Profile picture of the author WD Mino
                Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post

                I don't know about the product Alex mentioned but you can get most of Halbert's famous ads in the link below.

                Gary Halbert
                You can also go right to the mouth. Now run by his sons
                The Halbert Archives

                -WD
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                "As a man thinks in his heart so is he-Proverbs 23:7"
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  • Profile picture of the author PaulMeyer
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      One more thing...

      If you can display familiarity with the main reasons employers get disgusted with certain beginners and counteract those in an intelligent way, you will have an edge.

      For example, say you realize that they want someone who is modest about their abilities, eager to learn and able to take criticism and suggestions well. Then tell (true) stories showing how you have those abilities.

      And get rid of ALL b.s. in your tone and content to them. Say things in your own words. A sincere and original voice counts for a lot.

      Marcia Yudkin
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      Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        If You Were to Hire a Copywriting Pup, What Would You Look For?
        Make sure they know you're house trained. Nothing worse than a rookie copywriter who pees and poops on the rug.

        Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author BudaBrit


    Thanks guys.

    Interestingly, I had a meeting this morning with someone from a hotel about social media marketing. I went in there and explained exactly what I would do, showed interest in her and now I should get a gig out of it.

    I'd already been researching the man I will be meeting, but apart from that, I put together a list of all the things I can do. I've been narrowing that down to things that others may not say, even if they could do it.

    Thanks again for the feedback. I've got plenty to work on, but I have the face to face meeting and that's what matters.

    I want to spew here, so I will...


    I applied for a copywriter position at a company here. Throughout the process, they told me that they were really interested in growing and that they wanted a specialist. So I blew them away with a page that - according to the marketing manager - was by far better than anything else they got.

    However, they kept telling me they would let me know, for a month, before saying that, in fact, they had decided on a generalist.

    Great.

    I recently moved, so what I've been doing is going around, in person, to local companies. I've not been the luckiest, as I missed the big guy a lot of the time, yet I've got some work, I'm likely to get more, am in discussions with another and have a minimum of 2 meetings with ad/marketing agencies.

    I think this just shows the value of meeting people face to face. I may not have actually got the work every time, but I got good feedback and I have some work out of it. Talking to real people, face to face, is worth so much more than an email.
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  • Profile picture of the author BudaBrit
    Hi all.

    I have been absent from here since this thread, so I thought I'd give an update.

    The meeting I had with that creative director went well, but they didn't have a full time position available. He wanted me to do a trial and if it was good, I'd become their go-to English language copywriter.

    However, since then, I met another creative director from an even bigger agency and I will be starting work for them next week, full time

    It pays to just keep plugging away at things you really want. Eventually, when all seems lost, it'll come good.
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