What do all of these jobs have in common?

Coursebook author (adult)
Item writer Assessment writer Adult ELT writing task for digital component
Spanish speaking primary writer
Writer role (Secondary ELT)
TB writer with knowledge of MENA
Freelance author for supplementary materials for phonics course
Teacher’s Guide author for Science content
Gamer required with ELT author experience
Writer for puzzle pages for primary course
TB content writer
SEN materials writer
Americanisation writer/adapter
Primary OLP writer
TB author for adult vocational course
Business English writer with Avallain Author experience
Writer for self-study CPT activities (secondary)
Lesson plans writer (primary and secondary)
Writer for graded readers for teenagers (fiction and non-fiction)
List of job descriptions

They are all examples of jobs for materials writers but each one is quite different from the next and the list is by no means exhaustive. Not all materials writing jobs say ‘Materials writer wanted’. Newly phrased job descriptions appear frequently, especially as we use different technology or find new ways of working. For example where a single author might have written a whole course book series ten years ago, these days we’re more likely to see an advert to write isolated sections of a course, such as the phonics pages or the listening sections.


Sometimes a job advert will include an acronym or abbreviation which is unfamiliar. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to ask. You could start by asking friends and colleagues and if you don’t get the information you need, consider reaching out to the person who has posted the advert. Here are some examples from the list above:

TB: Teacher’s Book

MENA: Middle East and North Africa

SEN: Special Educational Needs

OLP: Online Practice

Avallain is a digital authoring tool

CPT: Classroom Presentation Tool

Something for everyone

Just as learners come in a wide range of ages, levels and contexts, so too do the materials they use. Materials writers never write for all of these groups. We usually specialise in a specific age group or level or kind of material, such as teacher guides, CLIL content or materials for exam preparation.

What does this mean for a writer?

If you are looking for work as a materials writer, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Where do my specialisms lie?
  • What kind of materials do I feel confident writing?
  • What kind of materials do I have experience in writing?
  • What kind of materials do I enjoy writing?
  • Which age group(s) do I feel most comfortable writing materials for?
  • In which areas do I specialise?
  • What kind of materials writing do I definitely not want to do?
Tip! If you see a job you’d like to do but you aren’t sure you have all the necessary requirements or experience, apply anyway and send a covering note to show your interest and explain why you are the right person for the job. Even if the publisher doesn’t give you the job immediately, they might decide to train you up or they might keep your details in their database and get in touch about another job later. You’ve got nothing to lose.

When you have a clear idea of the kind of writing jobs you’d like to do, you are better prepared to find something suitable. Make sure publishers know what you are looking for and don’t be afraid to reach out and tell them. See also M is for Marketing yourself.

If you were writing a job description for recruiting ‘the perfect materials writer’, what would it say?

If you’re a materials writer, what would your ideal job description look like?

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