Carol is on vacation. This week, she’s reprinting a couple of posts from the early days of her blog, back when it was on her writer site. Enjoy!
Earlier this week, I wrote about my rules for time-efficiently finding good-paying writing gigs through online job boards. I wanted to extend this topic to discuss some of the creative ways I use job ads to prospect for freelance writing jobs.
Besides simply responding to ads for freelance writers that you find on the big job boards, there are a few more creative ways to use job ads to reach out and find good-paying publications and copywriting clients. Here’s what I do:
1. Look at the ads for full-time jobs. Yes, I’m not really looking for a full-time job. But when a company is advertising for a full-time person, that usually means they have a vacancy. Which means work isn’t getting done.
Maybe they need someone to fill in until they complete their job search? Maybe they also use freelancers as well as in-house writers? You won’t know unless you ask.
For me, journalismjobs.com, Media Bistro, Morning Coffee, and my Gorkana alerts are all good places to troll. Depending on your writing specialty, there may be other full-time job boards that suit your needs.
The job ad simply provides me with a good contact of someone who hires writers. So if it’s a company or publication that fits my expertise, I go ahead and apply. I say, “Hi there, not looking for full-time, but I have the skills you need. Do you use freelancers?”
I’ve scored several great new editor connections this way over the years, including one this summer for a terrific business-finance publication. It’s a great way to get your name in front of people that use writers, at a time when they may well need help.
2. Look at site-specific job ads out of your area. I’m selective here — if it says anything like “meet with us weekly at our Akron offices,” I move on. But if the ad title mentions a city, but the ad text doesn’t describe anything that needs to be done in person, and it mentions my expertise, I go ahead and apply. Just ask right up top if they’d consider someone working remotely. Play up your expertise both in their field, and your expertise in working remotely.
3. Use social media If you’re not looking at the jobs on LinkedIn, I highly recommend it — many of them are exclusive to the site. It’s a great place to find full-time job ads you can piggyback on, as per #1. You can also try to use your connections to get a referral attached to your application, which I’m told greatly increases your odds of getting the contact’s attention in the pile of 500 resumes they are likely receiving.
Twitter is also a growing place for freelance gigs. Not only can you tweet about the work you’re looking for (same goes for Facebook status updates, etc.), but you can use Twitter’s search feature to troll for jobs. Some of the sites mentioned above are on Twitter tweeting about listings, so you could get a jump on the masses this way.
There are an increasing number of job-related tweeters — I’m following @WritersDigest, @FSsJobs (that’s Freelance Switch), @tweetajob, and @Jobsonica, among others.
In this market, it pays to get creative when you’re looking for clients! If you use any of these tips successfully, leave a comment and tell me about it — love to hear success stories.
Consider subscribing to Make a Living Writing — free advice on how to earn more from your writing.
Photo via Flickr user bgottsab