Career Routes                       Glossary
Careers In Culture

Writing and Publishing - What You Need to Do

Work Search Strategies

On this page:

Research your way to work

Careers that are satisfying and enriching begin with knowledge. For example, you may want to know what it's like to be a writer, editor or bookseller. You may have questions about the skills you'll need, what you will earn, and what your working conditions will be like. The only way to find out this information is to research the particular career route you're interested in.


Sounds good to me!
Unless someone you know is a technical wizard who can make your $500 home computer-based studio sound golden, you may have to bite the bullet, spend a few bucks and go into a decent studio. CDs, DVDs and MP3s are now standard when sending out demos. Some artists even lead MR reps to their websites, where select songs can be sampled online.

Testing 123
Check the copy before you send it out. Nothing's as embarrassing as having someone from a record company calling to tell you that there was nothing on the demo you sent them ...In fact, they won't call you at all.

Leave' em wanting more
Don't record any more than three or four songs on a demo.

Do your homework
Don't submit unsolicited demos to a record company without first asking if they are accepting demo submissions. Also, get the name and title of the appropriate person to whom you should send your CD, DVD or MP3 files.

Songwriter — protect thyself
Until your song is recorded and the copyright is registered, you need to protect your ownership. Write down the words and music, put the document in an envelope, and then send it to yourself by registered mail. When you receive the envelope, do not open it. Put the envelope in a safe place in case you ever need proof of authorship.

The package
Elements such as a distinctive art style, group logo and a brief but well-written bio are a real bonus and add to the overall professionalism of your submission. Promotional pix don't have to cost a fortune. They should simply reflect the style and personality of the artist and let the prospective employer, producer or record company put a face to the music.

Guess who?
Make sure the demo has your contact address with phone and e-mail information. Wait at least a month or so before calling a record company to inquire about your demo. But definitely call. MR reps get hundreds of demos, so they might need a gentle reminder to listen to yours.

Rejection is part of the game
Even the Beatles got turned down by several record companies when they first started out. Don't give up! Keep making new demos and keep sending them out.

Query letters

The query letter is a strategy that many freelance writers use to interest a literary agent or editor at a newspaper, magazine or publishing house in their ideas and work. Generally, agents and editors are busy and don’t have time to read manuscripts or articles from people they don’t know. They prefer a one-page letter that quickly tells them the writer’s idea and credentials.

Sample Query Letter

Make sure your letter supplies information so you can be reached easily.

Your name
Street address
City, Province/territory, Postal code
Telephone: (Area code) Phone number
E-mail: e-mail@address


Find out the specific name of the editor who will consider your query letter. This ensures that your letter will go to the right person.

Their name
Their job title
Their company name
Street address
City, Province/territory, Postal code

State your idea clearly and show how your information will be new or different for the targeted audience.

Dear name,
Everyone knows at least one light bulb" joke, eg. "Flow many psychiatrists does it take to unscrew a light bulb? One, but. light bulb has to want to change." But not everyone who enjoys humour realizes that the light bulb" joke has a long history and its... has changed dramatically over the years.

Expand on your idea to give the editor an idea of the contents of your article/book.

I propose an article that examines. history of "light bulb° jokes and bow He content reflects the changing values, interests and conflicts in North American culture. The article would include information on and samples of ethnic-group jokes. gender jokes, workplace jokes, professional jokes and the latest incarnation - Internet "light bulb" jokes.

State your qualification demonstrating why you are the right person to write this article/book.

I have been writing professionally tor three years and have published several articles in our local newspaper, The Country Sun I have also been long interested in the role of humour and joke-telling in our society .)am enclosing my resume and samples of my writing for your information.

Thank you for your consideration.

Your Name

Query Letter Tips:

Make sure your idea for an article or book is new or hasn’t been written about recently. Check back issues of magazines and your library bookshelves.

  • If you are interested in writing for a specific publication, know its focus and readership.
  • Don’t oversell yourself in a query letter. Explain what you want to do and describe your experience clearly.
  • Send samples of your published work.
  • Don’t send letters of recommendation.

Cover letters

People who do the hiring in writing and publishing are usually editors, publishers or in marketing. Words are their business. What does this mean for you? That the writing in your cover letter and résumé must be top quality, and that you need to demonstrate excellent listening and speaking skills during the interview.

Make a Great First Impression

Make sure your letter supplies information so you can be reached easily.

Your name
Street address
City, Province/territory, Postal code
Telephone: (Area code) Phone number
E-mail: e-mail@address


Address your cover letter to the hiring manager by name, spelled correctly, even if it means a phone call to the company. Employers are interested in candidates who show initiative.

Their name
Their job title
Their company name
Street address
City, Province/territory, Postal code

Indicate the specific position you're applying for.

Dear name,
I am pleased to apply for the position of documentation specialist as advertired in the Monroe Sun on May 15, 2009. I am familiar with your products, particularly your web-based applications, and would greatly enjoy working for a company such as yours which has successfully developed and marketed products In the competitive Canadian marketplace.

Tell the employer why you would be a strong candidate for the job.

As my attached résumé demonstrates, I have a strong background in writing and an extensive knowledge of computers, Internet research and web design I am particularly interested in making the Internet more accessible to the average user and believe that my communication skills and interests would make me a strong candidate far he position.

State briefly your qualifications for the position.

I would be pleased to review my qualifications in more detail with you. If I haven't heard from you by May 25, I will call to fotiow up. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to .11 me. Yours truly, (signature) Your Name

Request an interview and say that you will follow up with a phone call.

Yours truly,

Your Name

Cover Letter Tips:

  • Be brief—the cover letter shouldn’t be more than one page long.
  • Use a word-processor. Many hiring managers won’t read hand-written material.
  • Be business-like—your letter should be factual, precise and to the point.
  • Produce an error-free document—check for spelling, typos and grammar mistakes.
  • If you are writing a cover letter in French, check out the French edition of Words On The Move. The writing style and format are slightly different from the English cover letter.


In today's highly competitive job market, you cannot simply use the same résumé for every position. Target each résumé by tailoring your Career Objective section to the organization and the position you're interested in. Then write your résumé in such a way that the information reinforces your objective.

Could one of these sample career objectives be on your résumé?

  • To work in the area of public relations. I want to use my writing and business skills to develop a career in corporate communications.
  • To work as a copy-editor for a publisher and increase my knowledge about communications, both print and electronic. I am interested in a lifetime career in publishing.
  • To work as a sales representative in a publishing house. I want to build a career in promotion, marketing and sales of books.

Résumé Tips:

  • Use a word-processor. Your résumé should be a professional document.
  • Make sure there are no spelling mistakes.
  • Don’t put in information that is not relevant to your career goal or to the position you are applying.
  • Ask yourself what qualities and achievements the hiring manager is looking for in a job applicant. If you have them, make sure you include them.
  • Don’t send a photo.

Your name
Street Address
City, Province/territory, Postal code
Telephone: (Area code) Phone number
E-mail: e-mail@address

Indicate your career interests and goals.

Career Objective
To work as a technical writer. !want to use my computer and communication skills to build a career in writing about the Internet and technology.

List experiences in your area of career interest.

Highlights of Qualifications
  • Internet Columnist and Features Editor for The Clarion, the Prairie University newspaper
  • Founder and President, Book Club, Prairie High School
  • Computer literate - Windows 7, MS Office, Adobe Illustrator and Dreamweaver
  • More than 5.000 hours on the Internet

Point out your outstanding achievements.

Accomplishments and Awards
  • 2008 Student Essay winner, Prairie Sun
  • Grade 12 Honours List, Prairie High School

List your educational achievements in reverse chronological order.

2006-Present Completing Honours Degree in English, Prairie University

List your jobs and their responsibilities - and volunteer experience - in reverse chronological order.

Employment History
2005-Present Busperson (part-time and summer job),
Bob's Restaurant, Prairie City
  • 425 hours of reliable, prompt support of waders and hostesses
  • Efficient service to waiting customers
2003-2005 Lawn-mowing for five residential clients

Demonstrate the range of your interests.

Reading, browsing the internet, computer graphics

References available upon request


Great job interviews are the result of thorough preparation. First, the more you know about an employer, the more you will be able to demonstrate your interest and knowledge to a hiring manager. How can you find out about a specific company? Check out its products, visit its website, and call and ask for brochures and annual reports. Find as much information as you can.

Second, the more you know why you want a specific job, the better able you will be to communicate your suitability for the position. One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to have answers to four crucial questions.

1. Why do I want this job?

Think carefully about a company you’ve targeted and why you would like to work there. When you know the answer, you’ll be able to answer some important interview questions such as:

  • How did you become interested in this field?
  • Why did you submit your application to our company/organization?
  • What are your general career interests?
  • What do you see yourself doing in five years?

2. What do I have to offer?

Employers want to know why they should hire you. To find out, they often ask general questions that will help them find out who you are:

  • What skills/strengths do you bring to this position?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How will you contribute to our organization?
  • What was your most important job accomplishment?

3. What else do I need to know?

One of the final queries you’ll be asked in an interview is: “Is there anything you would like to know about our company or the job?” It’s a good idea to prepare some questions to ask at the end of your interview. Here are some topics to explore:

  • The company’s goals and challenges.
  • What supervisors look for in employees.
  • On-the-job training or other educational programs.
  • Who you would be reporting to.
  • Number of people you would be working with.

4. …and don’t forget the thank-you note

A thank-you note is a great opportunity to show appreciation and make a good impression. It should include:

  • A statement of thanks for the opportunity to meet the interviewer;
  • A sentence that re-states your interest in the job;
  • A sentence that re-affirms your belief that you’re the right applicant; and
  • An offer to provide further information to the hiring manager if necessary.

Interview Tip

Prepare carefully for all interview questions. Write out answers and practice them on your own and with family and friends.