The complete guide to writing for Quartz at Work

Before you submit an article for Quartz at Work, read these guidelines.
Before you submit an article for Quartz at Work, read these guidelines.
Before you submit an article for Quartz at Work, read these guidelines.
Image: Gosia Herba
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Quartz at Work is a guide to being a better manager, building your career, and navigating the modern workplace.

Our staff of reporters works every day to report the most interesting stories and practices from workplaces around the world. But we also realize that there is no standard experience or rulebook for the changing world of work, and that to truly be a guide, we need to host a conversation. That’s why we have a contibutors section: to include perspectives, knowledge, and experiences from people outside of our own team, in their own words.

People often ask me what makes a good Quartz at Work article. The short and unsatisfying (and honest) answer is that there is no checklist of qualities that guarantee an article will fit. Here are some qualities that a great contributed article usually has.

Only you could write it: Our reporters are great at collecting information. The reason that we want you to write an article is because you bring something unique to it. You may not be the first person to write about, say, how to hire people effectively, but your experience may help you explain why a particular strategy works well. You might approach an old topic from a new angle, or your expertise in a relevant field may help explain a newsworthy event in an unexpected way. The important thing to remember is to apply your own thinking.

It is specific: “How to be a great manager” is a popular book topic. “Why I only talk to my direct reports every other Thursday” is a silly idea, but a better scope for an article. Pick one specific argument to make, and stick with it. “Five old design trends that are coming back” isn’t nearly as interesting as “In praise of the conversation pit” and “What millenials want in their office space” is less compelling than “Companies are making offices homier to attract millenials.” You might be tempted to write a guide for “how women can achieve equality in the workplace,” but it’s more effective to argue for a specific action. My fellow Quartz editor Sarah Todd calls this “an argument about how to do something” rather than a “how to” article.

It has a strong point of view: Summarization is for Wikipedia. Quartz at Work articles make a specific point or argument. It’s a good sign if you can summarize this point in one line: “Learning to code will eventually be as useful as learning Ancient Greekor “Planning ahead is good, but planning backward is better” or “I let Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson run my life for a week.” If your point is shameless self-promotion, nobody will be interested, including Quartz at Work.

It fits into one of our obsessions: These are the topics in which Quartz at Work has the most interest.

  • Careering: How to navigate networking, resume-writing, interviewing, negotiating, and the career ladder
  • Identity and inclusion: What happens when people of different races, genders, religions, sexual orientations countries, political persuasions, or economic backgrounds come together in the pursuit of work
  • Managing: The art of inspiring, coaching, leading, critiquing, training, supervising, promoting, problem-solving
  • Productivity and creativity: How to be your best self at work
  • The office: Technology is changing the notion of work—where it’s done, by whom, for how long, and in what way
  • The purpose of companies: The reevaluation of the historical motivation towards maximizing profits or shareholder value.
  • The lives of working parents: What working parents want, need, and get—and what their employers, children, and communities are getting in return
  • Leaders and leadership: The books, people, and companies that are shaping ideas about management and about work itself.

Send us a few lines explaining your idea before you start writing. These pitches should be specific and detailed enough so that we know what your main point or argument is, but they don’t necessarily need to be long. A short paragraph will do. If we think your idea has promise, we may make suggestions for how you can shape it to improve its odds of being published. We will send you a contract that allows us to edit and promote the article, and we’ll ask you to submit a headshot and short bio for your author page.

Because Quartz at Work is digital, we don’t have a set physical space on a piece of paper that your article needs to fit into (or even a specific format). There is no standard word count. Your article should be as long as it takes to explain your point. When in doubt, err on the side of shorter.

When you’re finished with your draft, an editor will work with you to improve and revise it. We’ll share the final version with you, and we won’t publish it until you agree on every word. The final headline is up to us, but we are happy to hear your input.

Thank you for your interest in writing for Quartz at Work. We look forward to hearing from you, and hopefully reading you, too.