Monday, September 12, 2011

The Similarities of Interviewing and Writing

You just don't consider how alike some things are until you're fully engaged in them. For example, until my current venture into the job market, albeit unwillingly, I never once believed interviewing and writing shared any common traits. Oh, how wrong I was. I'd like to share what I've learned on this recent journey. The list is by no means exhaustive and I'm sure many of you could conjure up other similarities I've overlooked.

1. Selling yourself
This may seem obvious to some. When you send out your query or when you walk into an interview, you must possess the frame of mind to present yourself as the best option for that agency or company. There's no sense dancing around things. Take control and let your personality (and talent) shine.

2. Making a good first impression
This could easily be #1 and is very closely related. Come out strong, as someone who knows what they're talking about but without appearing boastful or arrogant. The key is to get the interviewer or editor/agent to like you. Building rapport helps them take you more seriously.

3. Tell your story
We all have a story. In a job interview, it's how you can ease the employer's pain points with your experience and know-how. In writing, it's letting words flow from your mind through the keyboard and ultimately to the reader, whoever that may be.

4. Leave them wanting more (or "closing the deal")
Have you ever felt like there was something you could have done better with your query letter? Your story? Do you replay the questions and your answers from an interview, performing some type of self-torture, over analyzing each one as if it was a deal breaker? We can always improve, no argument there. But if you can close the deal the right way, having presented your best case as the ideal candidate or author, you can move along with confidence and not second guess yourself, no matter the outcome.

Have you observed other similarities between interviewing and writing? Or perhaps you've noticed similarities between other seemingly dissimilar things?

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