The role of professional writer is both a tough and rewarding career. While many people become freelance writers, many more choose the benefits of a 9 to 5 job.
This is why we've created this online resource for writing jobs in Australia, so that emerging and established writers can find the dream jobs they’ve been searching for.
From copywriting to editing, there’s plenty of rewarding opportunities for writers seeking to use their skills and talents for in-house positions. Simply scroll down and click on a job that interests you, to learn more, or find the answers for all your burning questions about becoming a writer in the FAQs below.
Freelancers and writers worldwide will also love our list of Online Jobs, which require only an internet connection to get going.
What type of in-house writing jobs can I get in Australia?
There are many types of in-house writing work available in the industry. Below are a few of the most common, though countless more exist and crossovers do occur.
As an essential component of marketing, copywriting involves "strategically delivering words that get people to take action". Copywriters write copy that informs, persuades and sells.
The job is one of varied opportunities and requires a versatile approach, since copywriters are often required to write about specialised and niche topics depending on the client they work for.
In addition to writing compelling copy, copywriters must also be experts in SEO and well versed in online marketing.
Though similar to copywriting, concerning many responsibilities, content writing involves creating content for websites. This includes anything from articles for a corporate blog to newsletters for a website.
Great content writing is search engine optimised, interesting, well-edited, fits the company's style guide and looks visually appealing. Most companies with a strong web presence require a content writer or a team of content writers.
For as long as companies and individuals must create books, brochures, advertisements, website content and other published materials, there will be a need for an editor.
Editors specialise in enhancing the "clarity, elegance [and] forcefulness" of any written text.
Depending on the stage of production, they must undertake 3 types of editing:
- Structural editing is required in the initial drafts of a text. Editors are responsible for advising the writer on any substantial changes required and clear ways in which to improve.
- Copyediting is required for later in the production process. Editors analyse the text line-by-line while fixing grammatical and spelling errors and also checking for inconsistencies.
- Proofreading is the final stage of editing before publication. Editors ensure there are no more errors and the manuscript is ready for publication online or in print.
Editors also have a wider skill set which serves them well in their positions, whether as a Communications Manager or Publications Officer in a large company or as a freelancer working on manuscripts.
Knowledge of graphic design, website design and ebooks is often useful.
Screenwriting is "writing for film and television". While the writing process may begin as an individual project, screenwriting for large projects requires a collaborative approach.
Screenwriters work with other writers, producers, directors and actors to bring a script to life. Furthermore they must write with logistical and financial limitations in mind.
For example, scripts set in remote and expensive locations have little hope of being produced by a small production team.
Journalists gather, write and distribute the news in various mediums, whether print or online. Writing is an essential component of the job, since journalists must write reports, blog posts, columns, magazine articles and various other texts.
However, the job of journalist requires a wealth of other skills. These include conducting interviews, working in high pressure situations under a tight deadline, travelling for news stories, researching recent events and navigating the legalities of defamation and copyright.
There are also many specialisations within the field of journalism, such as feature writer, columnist and news reporter.
As the name suggests, speechwriters write speeches. The job of speechwriter "merges marketing, theater, public relations, sales, education and politics".
Whether they write for large corporations or political parties, they must write speeches which use the unique and lively medium of voice to fit the objectives and brand of the speaker.
In addition to excellent writing skills, speechwriters must have the research skills to learn and use the specialised information of their field as well as the communication and collaboration skills to liaise with various members of the organisation.
Technical writers create information-based materials, such as manuals, textbooks and articles. These writers, most often employed by large organisations, require specialised knowledge of their industry.
Technical writers must be able to undertake intense research and analysis of information and be able to create material which consumers can understand.
How do I get started as a writer in Australia?
Becoming a writer is neither a straight-forward nor easy process. The following steps are a guide and not a guarantee for success. Starting out is the hardest part, but it's no doubt worth it.
Research the industry
During the early stages of your career, be sure to explore the specific kind of genre or writing industry you want to work in. Whether that be print magazine, short fiction or blog, an awareness and understanding of the industry specifics will help you in the long run.
Being a writer is as much about writing as it is about reading.
Assemble a portfolio/website
In the process of development, the emerging writer will need to assemble a portfolio of work to demonstrate their abilities to potential employers. Most often this involves creating a standalone website or creating a profile on sites like Linkedin or The Loop.
If you're creating a standalone site, you might consider using the opportunity to start a blog. If you haven't any published work yet, don't worry.
Blogging is one example of self publishing, while there are other many other paths for publishing material. If you're a short fiction writer, then getting your work published would involve submitting stories to anthologies and competitions.
If you're a nonfiction writer, consider pitching and submitting articles to your favourite online magazines.
Create profiles on freelancing websites
Pitch your article ideas to online publications
Many online and print publications have established systems for accepting unsolicited submissions from emerging writers. For example, Overland Journal accepts articles year round for their online publication, as detailed on the submissions page.
To know when the opportunities arise, make sure to follow your favourite publications on social media and via their email list. Building up a portfolio of work ready for future freelancing opportunities takes time, energy and confidence to put yourself out there.
Be aware of the long waiting periods as sifting through large batches of entries takes considerable time.
What are the pros & cons of writing jobs?
- Finding success in doing what you love is a spectacular feeling. The things you create, whether blog, ezine or novel, will inspire readers everywhere.
- Often your workplace is your office, your home or your favourite cafe. Writing jobs, whether freelance or in-house, offer a greater versatility in hours and venue than the typical 9 to 5 job.
- Submitting anything for publication, whether fiction or nonfiction, poem or play, is a process riddled with long waiting periods and rejection letters
- Financial problems are a reality for many freelance writers, who must deal with an inconsistent income
- The stigma, about writing being a past-time rather than a career, is still prevalent
How should I present my resume (or personal website) when applying for writing jobs in Australia?
There are many unique aspects of applying for writing jobs. However, tailoring your application and resume for each job is crucial to success in any industry.
When applying for different positions, tweak your resume to emphasise previous experience in the skills outlined on the job advertisement. In the case of writing jobs, this involves demonstrating writing skill and long term interest in the industry.
The personal website
Personal websites are excellent for many reasons and therefore should be highlighted wherever possible: on your Linkedin profile, on your social media accounts and even in your email signature.
They're not only a form of self publishing, but they also demonstrate commitment, a strategic online presence and writing skill to potential employers.
Most often, personal websites are created:
- To construct and develop an online presence
- Establish expertise through providing informative articles
- Create platform for freelancing opportunities
- Share updates about personal growth and interests, most often through a blog
- Showcase depth and diversity of skills in a portfolio
When a potential employer Googles your name, your personal website should be one of the first things listed. Your website is your chance to define your digital presence, rather than letting Google decide.
As much as a personal website can work in your favour when applying for writing jobs, they can also work against you. An outdated or visually unappealing website may convey unprofessionalism and a lack of commitment.
An outdated website will also convey to an employer the career objectives, interests and writing experience of years past, without mention of the skill and experience you have now.
While a personal website is not necessary for every emerging writer, assembling a resume indicative of your skill and experience is crucial. Most resumes contain information about:
- Contact details
- Career objectives
- Educational qualifications
- Key skills and attributes
- Employment history
Resumes for writing jobs require additional information about writing-specific experience and skill. Consider adding a few links to published material online where appropriate, with specific mention of the soft skills you developed.
For example, if you've had articles published for a popular blog, be sure to mention the potential readership of the website.
If you were an editor for your university's publication, identify the responsibilities that entailed, such as providing feedback to writers, collaborating with an illustrator or graphic designer, and selecting articles for publication.
Furthermore, you might consider including a short sentence on the outcomes of previous positions, while taking care to link the outcome with the requirements of the position you're applying for.
The phrase "quality over quantity" is true for resumes and portfolios. Most employers have too many applications to read through and don't have time for the lengthy applications.
Being selective and concise is crucial, so make sure to take the time for all components of your application.
How much can I expect to get paid for writing work?
For in-house positions
The exact figures for many writing jobs in Australia are hard to come by. However, journalists can expect an average salary of $49,580 per year, editors $57,701 per year and technical writers $71,209 per year.
For freelance writing
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance sets the minimum for writing at 80 to 90 cents per word and the national freelance award rate at "$925 for 1000 words or less, with 93 cents a word each word after". However industry reports estimate the average pay from many publications is far lower.
Novelists receiving publication for their manuscripts can expect an advance, paid in instalments, of anything between $5000 and $300,000. This figure is dependent on several factors, including the quality of the manuscript and the size of the publishing company.
A $6000 advance, paid in instalments, is a common figure, though small independent publishers, like Sleepers Publishing, provide no advance at all.
Do you have any other quick tips I can use to make myself stand out from all the other applicants?
While there are many emerging and established writers, all have different interests and specialisations. Standing out from the crowd requires a flexible approach and an insight into personal strengths, weaknesses and goals.
Knowing what you love most and excel in will help you carve a unique path in the publishing industry. There are countless individuals trying to be someone else, yet there is one of you.
Once you've narrowed your focus to the avenues you most admire, put yourself out there and pitch to as many editors as you can. Deliver your work with a smile and be ready to learn and change.
Furthermore, sticking to the traditional routes of writing and publication may not necessarily be meant for you. Explore modern methods of publication, consider the online world of blogging and always write, read and connect.
- Write prolifically because the best writers were the ones who put pen to paper and honed their craft.
- Read extensively because understanding the industry you love, whether that be the blogosphere or the world of short fiction, will inspire and help you.
- Connect with likeminded individuals. Workshop groups are often the essential space for growth, where peers provide constructive feedback to transform your writing in progress. Connect with writers, editors and publishers you admire (online and offline) and learn from them.
Even better, Writer's Edit is an online space committed to helping new and upcoming writers have their voices heard.