My fellow FWJ-er, Jennifer Chait, wrote a really interesting post where she gave her take on why you might not get hired for a blogging gig. I’d like to talk about a reason why you might get hired, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with your writing ability.
Getting hired is partly a matter of chemistry. When a potential client is considering multiple applicants in response to a job ad, they may have several candidates with similar skill levels who would be a good fit for the project. How does someone decide who they want to work with?
The Chemistry of Getting Hired
People like to work with people they feel they have something in common with or that they feel a connection to. The question then becomes, “How can you try to develop a connection with a potential client?”
I’ve found over time that as I’ve become a little more open about myself when I apply for freelance writing jobs, my success rate has gone up. That doesn’t mean that I pull up a virtual chair and spill everything about myself when I’m looking for work. It does mean that I try to picture myself and the potential client sitting down in a room to talk about what they need and how I can help them.
If the topic is one that I really enjoy working on, then I’m not nearly as shy about telling the client that and why I am drawn to it. Telling the client about how we can work together to reach their goals is always a good approach. I’m a lot less shy about saying that I know what the client needs and I would really like to work with them on the project. Then I ask the potential client what information they need to know about me that will help them decide whether we can work together.
Hopefully the combination of a more personal approach in the cover letter and pointing out that we can work together to help the client reach their goals will lead to getting hired. I do think that people want to know what kind of person they are working with and that they appreciate reading something other than the standard, cookie-cutter approach to applying for a gig.
What approach do you take when applying for a freelance writing gig? Do you think making a connection matters or is it all about your previous experience?