As-salamu Alaykum (peace be upon you), Dear Readers...

NEW for September 18, 2016:

This blog has MOVED to the Muslim Writers Club, a new website dedicated to all of your writing needs.

Here are some of the pages you will find on the new site:

Jobs and Internships for Muslim Writers – Check out the latest opportunities.

Freelance Markets for Muslim Writers – A list of magazines, newspapers, and websites that want to work with YOU, insha'Allah. Includes many paying markets.

Book Publishers of Interest to Muslim Writers – Have you written a book? Start your search for a publisher here.

Contests & Events for Muslim Writers - Competitions, courses, webinars, and more. Don't miss the fun!

Writing Activities for Muslim Children – Coming Soon!

Q&A Page - Get your questions about the art (and business) of writing answered.

Articles and Other Resources – Even more resources for Muslim writers.

Hope to see you at the new site, Insha'Allah!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Q&A: Is a Degree Necessary?


As-salam alaykum:

I wanted to know does someone need a degree or classes in journalism to obtain a position as a writer? A freelancer I assume would just try to get a "gig" by trying and trying. What do you suggest for getting started?

~ Blog Visitor


As-salamu Alaykum (peace be upon you), and thank you for posting this question.

Most writing jobs do not require that you have a degree in journalism, or a degree of any type, unless you are writing in a very specialized field like psychology or medicine where you need the type of in-depth knowledge of a topic that usually only comes from having completed a formal course of study.

Many jobs ads ask for degrees in various fields. Sometimes this is not because a degree is actually necessary in order to do the job well, but because the employer wants to make sure the person hired is educated enough to handle the work. In other words, they are trying to weed out the candidates who are more likely to be less qualified. During my own time as a magazine editor, I found that people who were more educated tended to be more capable writers, but I also know that there are many brilliant writers out there who have no formal education. In most cases, editors are simply seeking people who can write well about a given topic and will not ask about your level of education.

Suggestion: If you do not have a degree, do not mention this fact in your resume or cover letter. Instead, highlight your other qualifications, such as work experience, knowledge of the topic you will be writing about, and your ability to write.

Getting started is as easy as deciding what markets you are interested in writing for and then deciding on the best approach to obtaining a particular job or gig. On this blog, I list numerous Halal Writing Opportunities along with miscellaneous Jobs, Paying Markets, and Muslim Magazines in search of writers.

In order to obtain a writing "gig," it is helpful to have previous writing experience and/or samples of your work to show employers. All correspondence should be formal and well-written. For best results, choose fields that genuinely interest you, and I am sure, insha'Allah, that you will find the gig that is right for you.

I am, by the way, open to critiquing cover letters on this blog for anyone who is interested and does not mind a public critique.

Amel S. Abdullah

Do you have a question you’d like to see answered on this blog? Post it here, or send it to me via e-mail. All questions sent via e-mail will be posted anonymously (unless you request otherwise). Click here for an index of all questions answered on this blog.

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This blog is maintained by Amel Abdullah, a freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator.