Get an Online Writing Job by Following these Simple Tips
Website and magazine editors can receive hundreds of e-mails a day from people trying to land a writing job. When it comes to a remote or online writing job, competition is especially fierce. So in a job market thousands of people are trying to break into every day, how do you stand apart from the all the would-be writers and present yourself as a professional? Your best bet is to focus on quality over quantity. More specifically the quality of your submissions.
Whether you are submitting articles for potential publication or sending over your resume with a link to your writer portfolio, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances.
Write Personalized E-mails
This isn’t always easy and sometimes it is downright impossible. Many companies go through great lengths to hide the name of their editors and even with a lot of web researching; you might not be able to find a name. Other times, it can be easy to find out who is doing the hiring for the online writing job. Perhaps they have posted it somewhere in the ad or there is a name in the contact e-mail. As best you can, try and determine who will be opening your e-mail and address it to them. “Dear Amanda” sounds a lot better than “To the editor.”
Read the Job Ad
Most legitimate online writing job ads will include a great number of details or direct you to their website where you can learn more about the company and the position. It’s vital that you take the time to read the entire ad and pay attention to the details. Don’t be surprised if you see something like “Put I’m a writer” in the e-mail title or a weird request like “Begin your application e-mail with the word quack.” Many companies will include strange details at the bottom, or in some other obscure place in their writing job ad to see who takes the time to actually read the whole ad.
If you don’t fit the job requirements, don’t bother replying because you are just wasting the editor’s time and yours. On the other hand, if you fit the requirements, but feel like you might be a little under experienced, go ahead and apply for it anyways. You never know what might happen.
Follow the Instructions
Ok. So now that you have taken the time to read their ad, here comes the important bit: follow what it says. Some companies are looking for submissions, some are looking for pitches, and others just want to see your resume and some examples of previous work. Whatever they are asking for is what you should give them. If a company is looking for full submissions and you send them pitches, more than likely they won’t reply to you. Landing an online writing job can be difficult and you make it even more so if you don’t follow their instructions to the letter.
Every publication has a different process for finding and accepting new writers. It is your job as a freelancer writer to make the editor’s job easy. Give them what they want and they will give you what you want; a paid online writing job. Also do your best to keep your e-mail brief and succinct. As previously mentioned, editors are a busy lot, and if your application e-mail is overly long, more than likely they won’t take the time to read all of it. This may feel unfair considering they expect you to read every detail of their job ad, but they have what you want and there is no shortage of writers willing to take the time to do as they ask.
Include Relevant Writing Samples
Editors want to see work that you have done in their niche. Just because you can write about hiking in the Ozarks, doesn’t mean that you can write about fitness or food. You need to have relevant samples to include in your e-mails. If you don’t have any relevant samples to show them, well it’s time to get writing then. Pick out a few niches that you will specialize in and write a few good samples in those areas. These will serve as your portfolio when applying for new online writing jobs, and as long as you don’t publish them anywhere online, you can even try and sell them later on.
Links are Better than Attachments
I can’t stress this enough. Editors are busy. They are reading tons and tons of e-mails every day. Anything you can do which makes it quicker and easier for them will be helpful in helping you land a writing job. The quicker you can get your previous work in front of them, the better. Save them the headache of downloading your attachments, instead include links to sample work instead.
If you don’t have any published work online, there are multiple websites which allow you to create a writer’s portfolio with a bio page and samples of your work. If you want to go the free route, you can use a website like Contently or JournoPortfolio. A better option is to start you own blog or portfolio website as this comes across as more professional. Hosting companies like Bluehost only cost $6 per month and allow you to use Wordpres to build your website in just a couple of hours. Just remember that you won’t be able to sell any samples you have published in your portfolio.
Try and Try Again
As long as you have followed all of the previous steps and replied to the online writing job ad with relevant information, then by all means feel free to try again if they post another ad in future. Just because they didn’t accept your pitches, submission, or application this time, doesn’t mean you won’t be a fit for them later. Sometimes editors are hyper focused on a current project and are only accepting content geared towards that and applications from writers who have experience in that arena .
Don’t bother trying more than two or three times though if you don’t receive a response. Despite being quite busy, editors should be able to take the time to write at least a quick response to any candidate that has done the work to research their publication and follow all of their directions, especially if they apply multiple times. If not, you probably don’t want to work with them anyways as there is bound to be more communication issues down the line.
Finding Your Next Online Writing Job
You have to look at it from an editors standpoint and not from the vantage of a broke, starving freelancer. If you can’t be bothered to put in the time and effort to intelligently respond to the job ad, why should they waste their time bothering to reply?
Now I understand it’s a pain in the butt. You’re probably sending out ten or twenty e-mails a day trying to land an online writing job, but getting hired as a freelancer isn’t about you. It’s about what you can do for them. They want to see that you can add value to their organization. They want to know you understand their brand and what they are striving to achieve and can produce content on par with their demands.
Instead of wasting your time sending out ten or twenty useless e-mails a day, try sending just three or four well-written, well-researched e-mails a day following these simple tips. You may be surprised how effective it can be. You can find the best writing jobs to apply to here.