Back when I had a proper job, a colleague of mine applied for a position elsewhere. Let’s call him Sid. Even though his name was Jim.
Sid was completing the application form when he got to the bit about outside interests. He merrily scribbled down ‘football’. Thinking that this looked a bit thin, he thought for a second before completely randomly adding ‘birdwatching’.
Sid landed an interview. Luckily, one of the interviewers was an avid birdwatcher.
The guy said to Sid, ‘I see you’re into birdwatching. I do a bit of twitching myself. What do you think of Martin Mere?’
Quick as a white-throated needletail, Sid said, ‘I’m a big fan. I’ve read all his books.’
This might have worked quite well, except that Martin Mere is a bird-rich wetlands centre known for its pink-footed geese and whooper swans.
I can’t recommend trying to fake it like this in an interview. But for the rookie copywriter, it can be a good thing. Because you have to do it only once.
When a prospect calls you up asking if you have relevant experience in the fisheries, atomic weapons or fruit-processing industries, sometimes you’d honestly have to say no.
But it’s better to bend the truth. Bluff. Exaggerate. Boris-bluster. Otherwise, how else are you going to GET that experience? And, to be fair, you can research the hell out of any industry you like. Which is what you should be doing anyway.
And then, next time you get a call asking if you’ve done anything in sustainable energy or semiconductors or goat rentals, you can proudly say ‘Yes’.
After all, if no copywriter had ever bluffed their way into a job, nobody would ever have written anything. The Internet would be far smaller. And we wouldn’t be able to research anything. Or watch skateboarding ducks.
So bluff away, kids.