I haven’t been able to find an answer to my question on this topic on your site and I was hoping you could direct me to someplace that would help me. In my job search, I’ve sometimes been asked to write free samples for people before being hired and I’m wondering what I should do in that situation. I’ve been in the industry for 18 years now and I feel like my body of work should speak for me. I don’t like being asked to do extra work in lieu of an interview or references. Is that an unreasonable stance to take? Am I just being lazy?
Thank you for all you do.
You’re not being lazy at all. You recognize that you’re a veteran writer with a proven track record and you shouldn’t be expected to donate your time to help someone else. Some firms that request unique samples from writers end up stealing those samples, and publishing them without paying the writer. If an individual or firm is asking you to provide free samples, politely decline, and offer your resume and existing samples instead.
A writer’s published clips and even unpublished samples (not written specifically for the firm at which you’re applying) is all they need to make a decision about your writing. If they’re requesting more, they are probably looking for free content.
Firms that request unique, free writing samples should be avoided at all costs.