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Asked by Amanda on June 8, 2018

When employers ask for a writing sample, what exactly are they looking for? Are there certain types of writing that would be more useful for them than others (i.e. research reports, creative writing, articles I wrote for the school newspaper)? 

Answered by Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, on June 8, 2018

There's no standard, as you suggest, good writing can take many forms.  Best thing to do is ask if the employer has a preference.  If they don't, don't necessarily provide what you think might be your 'best' writing...if your best writing sample is a creative piece and you are being considered for a technical writing position, it doesn't necessarily sync.  Provide the best piece of writing that is most relevant to the position you are being considered for and don't lock yourself into something you've already completed.  For example, if you are considering a creative role, an original piece, just wrote, that highlights something about your potential employer/position/industry etc,, may be just the thing.

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