Job searching isn’t always fun. In fact, most people really don’t enjoy the process at all. It can be stressful, especially if you need to find work quickly for financial or even emotional reasons.
The work-at-home job scene is no different. If you’re looking for a regular freelance writing job with a traditional company, you’ll have to conduct a job search the same way you’d do it for a “regular” job.
Most of these leads will ask for a resume and possibly a cover letter or other written document that shares your experience and qualifications. You might even be dealing with a lot of online application systems, which make it hard to stand out and get noticed in the sea of freelancers.
That said, the key to landing a good remote writing job is to get noticed, get in front of the right people, and make a good impression.What to Do If You Aren't Getting Freelance Work Offers Click To Tweet
If you’ve been applying a lot and nothing has turned up for you, there could be a few things you need to change in your process. Let’s dig into a few of the main trouble areas to help you figure out what to tweak and where to go from here.
First: How’s Your Resume?
If your freelance writing resume isn’t strong, you won’t get noticed and you’ll have a hard time landing a job.There’s more to a strong resume than just work experience. Read freelance resume tips here: Click To Tweet
There’s more to a “strong” resume than just work experience, though – so if you don’t have a lot of work experience, don’t worry. You still have a great shot at finding a freelance writing job that you love if you’re able to turn your resume into an effective tool for your job search.
When you look at your resume, think about a few things.
First, is it visually appealing? Does it have a nice layout, appropriate fonts, plenty of white space and good organization? Or is it more like a wall of text? Look at some examples of writers’ resumes online to see what you find attractive and get ideas for how to improve the layout of your own resume.
Second, how generic is it? The answer should be, “not at all”! Your resume should highlight the things in your history that make you perfect for the specific job you’re trying to land, not be a laundry list of every job responsibility you’ve ever had. It should show off your valuable skills as well as the “results” you’ve been able to achieve in your past work.
Finally, look at the language you use in your resume. Is it full of “impressive business-speak” or is it easy to read? Verbs should be strong, not passive. Can you get a sense of the results they want from the position? It may be things like page views to drive sales conversion or community building. Find ways to include those results in your resume for your past work.
If You Aren’t Getting Interviews
One of the big obstacles for people looking for their first freelance gig is lack of experience. A lot of these jobs want you to have anywhere from 6 months to 2 years of relevant experience, and sometimes you just don’t have that length of time in a “relevant” profession. Other companies might want a list of publications, but you’re just starting out! If either of those are you, then you may need to consider alternative opportunities, like volunteering to write for a non-profit or guest posting on a high-profile site.
If you have trouble finding even those opportunities, you could start your own blog and post your writings there. (Just make sure you do it right, with a clear theme, good writing, and impeccable spelling and grammar.) These will help you get the requisite experience and writing samples you need.
Related: 20 Powerful Tips to Get New Clients On Board
If you’ve got the skills and experience but aren’t getting interviews, look at your resume and see if there are any problems. Go over the resume issues we covered in the section above, and see if anything needs an adjustment. It can be helpful to have a friend look at your resume and give you their impressions – and if you have a friend who works with recruiting, even better!Don’t forget to make sure each resume you submit is tailored to the specific company and job description. Click To Tweet
Don’t forget to make sure each resume you submit is tailored to the specific company and job description. You’ll need to tweak and adjust your resume for each job. Use keywords from each job description. If they call the position you want a “writer” and you refer to your past work as being a “blogger,” change the wording to match theirs. Same goes for the required qualifications and skills.
That way, if they’re using an automated program to check applications for keywords before sending them on to an actual person, you won’t get filtered out at the beginning. Also, if you speak the company’s language as much as possible, you’ll get noticed a lot faster.
Many job listings for freelance writers will also ask for you to provide a writing portfolio or links to a few writing samples. The work you choose to feature here is as important as any other part of your application. Choose past publications that are relevant to the job you want.
If you are trying to become a staff writer for a political website, send them stories you’ve written on politics. If you don’t have any previous publications in the field in question, focus on another aspect – for example, do the job responsibilities include driving page views? Select your writing samples that were the most popular, highlighting how often they were viewed or shared on social media.
Also, if you are providing a portfolio rather than links, make sure you create an attractive and tidy document. Look for formatting samples online to get great ideas; I also recommend saving your portfolio as a PDF. That way, none of your pretty fonts or precise formatting will be altered due to file type.
If You’re Getting Interviews But No Job Offers
There could be a few things working against you if you’re getting interviews but no job offers. The good news is that these are usually easy to fix!
The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to handle these interviews – which are generally conducted over the phone and/or video chats – the same way you would an in-person interview.
Make sure you’re alert and prepared – no slouching or chewing gum or snacking while you’re on the call. Make sure you take the call in a quiet environment with a clear phone line (especially if you’re trying to land a job with a call center!). If you’re going to appear by video, dress and look the part.
Most importantly, BE ON TIME. If you can’t be prompt when trying to secure a writing gig, this client is going to have very little faith you will be able to meet deadlines. It also helps to agree to their proposed interview time, demonstrating that you’re prepared to work to their schedule. Get yourself in place and set up early to ensure you’re ready to go when the phone or video rings. If you can’t make it for some reason, let the person know as soon as possible. Don’t email three days later asking for another shot.
Additionally, don’t forget to do your homework! Research the company you hope to work with, pay attention to the writing published on their site, and familiarize yourself with their industry. If you can talk intelligently about their business, ask questions that show your familiarity, and use industry jargon, you will prove to the interviewer that you are competent and prepared.
If you think qualifications are the reason you aren’t making it to the next level, it may be time to consider picking up some training or – yes, I’ll say it again – taking an unconventional approach so you can get the experience and samples you need for clients to take you seriously.
Related: 50 Online Writing Courses
If you’re extremely skilled but missing a few of the specific requirements, find a way to present the skills and experience you do have as valuable enough to compensate for the lack of “qualification.” Otherwise, keep writing and getting your work out there on your blog or as guest posts – practice will just make you that much better as a writer, and you’ll be building portfolio material.
For example, if they want you to have experience in increasing sales conversion, and you don’t have that exact experience but you’ve worked in fundraising, point it out! This demonstrates your ability to handle whatever they’ve got, even if you’ve never actually seen it before.
Finally, if you feel like nerves are getting to you with every interview, see if you can do some practice interviews with a friend. Role playing and rehearsing might feel awkward, but the more you do it, the more confident you’ll be going into the real thing.
We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to job searching. We’re often raised to be humble and never be boastful. This is the time to ignore humility and accentuate those accomplishments and abilities. Dig up the confidence to get excited about what you have to offer.
This post was written by Angie Nelson. She began working from home in 2007 when she took her future into her own hands and found a way to escape the corporate cubicle farm. Today she shares her passion for making money from home on her blog The Work at Home Wife. Visit her site for a great list of freelance writing jobs and a few tips to getting started online.
James Brains says
Thank you for the tips, Angie! I would also add that it’s important to follow up after each step of the process. After you submit a resume if you don’t hear anything after a couple week, send a cheerful follow-up email asking about the status of your application and stating that you are still interested in the position. And, after interviews, I like to send an email right away thanking the person for the opportunity to interview.
I did have a question. You mentioned the importance of guest posting. I was wondering if you could provide any guidance in choosing which sites/blogs to guest post for. Thanks!
Angie Nelson says
Hi, James. I target high-profile sites that look great on your resume. Depending on the industry you are targeting, a few websites should come immediately to mind. For example, getting published in The Washington Post or Alaska Airlines Magazine can be impressive portfolio pieces. And, they both pay for contributions.