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Copywriter Profile

How to Become a Copywriter

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What Does a Copywriter Do?

At advertising agencies a copywriter is known as a “creative” because he or she makes up the slogans, or copy, that drive ad campaigns. This Bud’s for You. BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine. Just Do It. Those famous phrases are all the work of a copywriter.

How Do You Become a Copywriter?

Getting a job as a copywriter is tougher than getting a job in other fields of advertising because you need a portfolio of work to get in the door. So how do you get a portfolio, or a book, as it’s dubbed in the ad world?

To get a book, you need to get an internship. Your book is a collection of ads you’ve worked on and you can’t work on any ads until you get some work at an advertising agency.

To get an internship at an ad agency you need to search online for openings. You can also contact creative directors, who run the creative departments at ad agencies.

If you don’t want to get an internship, or can’t, you can create spec ads on your own. Because copywriters work in various fields -- print, TV, radio and online -- your spec work will have to mimic the kind of ads you’re interested in creating. If you want to work online, you should be creating banner ads and online campaigns. You’ll need print spots if you want to work in print advertising. Etc. Although you might be able to land work by creating spec ads, hiring managers prefer to see work you’ve done while interning at an agency.

Also, while you don’t need a graduate degree to become a copywriter, hiring managers do prefer to see that you’ve earned an undergraduate degree.

What Skills Do You Need for the Job?

Copywriting is all about creativity so you really need to have a talent for the work. While some people might learn on the job, this kind of work is best for people who can craft stories with images and words. (It’s stories that often sell products -- the slogans and images simply tell the stories.) Getting an internship in the creative department of an agency, as mentioned above, is a good way to figure out whether you have the talent to be a copywriter.

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