I found a freelance writing job that I think would be a great fit for me. The problem is that one of my friends has already applied for it. Should I apply for the gig too, or just let it go?
Not a Poacher
Dear Not a Poacher,
If you are interested in the same freelance writing gig that a friend has applied for and you feel you would be a good fit, then by all means apply. The client will be the person who decides who to hire and it’s possible that neither of you will get the gig.
You are not poaching on someone else’s gig by applying for something when a prospective client is accepting applications. Your friend has not been hired (yet), so your application doesn’t affect a gig that he or she has. Both of you have a chance of being hired. I would consider a person who contacts another writer’s client behind his or her back to make a pitch for themselves to be a poacher (and not much of a friend).
Should you tell your friend that you have applied for the same gig? It depends on whether you usually discuss where you are looking for work or not. I know that I’ve shared leads with other people and some of them are for gigs that I’ve applied for myself. I’ve never asked whether they were hired if I didn’t get the assignment; I’ve just moved on.
It comes down to whether you believe that there are multiple opportunities for freelancers (as I do) or not. There isn’t just one client that we can work with – there will always be another gig coming up and hearing No from one prospective client means that you are free to pursue other opportunities.
I have many friends in my same writing specialty, and we often write for the same markets and apply for the same gigs. As you say, let the editor decide. And if one gets in the door, they may be able to refer the other one later! So it’s all good.
Debra Stang says
I’m very lucky that my best friend and writing buddy writes in a style very different from my own. We’re almost never up for the same gigs.
A few months ago a permanent post came up in my workplace and we all assumed the interim person would apply and get it. Not only was she told not to by her superior as her performance was not up to scratch but all of us who stood by assuming the post was “already spoken for ” missed out.
I have subsequently learned to go for opportunities when they arise as the client will always choose the best person for the job.