There was a time when writing work was pretty hard to come by. It wasn’t that there were no publications that needed writers or submissions. It was just rather difficult for individual writers to find the publishers that could use what they had to offer. It was a process of making connections, combing through directories, finding a publisher who might be interested, making a pitch, and maybe landing the job (or maybe not).
The internet has turned writing into a whole new ball game. Some of the changes are good – it’s easier to find publishers that are looking for the exact skills and expertise you possess, and communicating back and forth is much more efficient. But some of the changes have been not-so-good, like the increased pervasiveness of scammers, spammers, and just plain shady characters.
But don’t let that scare you. With all of the websites that are now online, and all of the print publications that are still going strong even in the digital age, jobs for writers are abundant. If you have the talent and the patience to wade through all the offers that are out there, the chance that you will find a worthwhile job is very good.
Where to Look
There are tons of sites that feature writing jobs online. Some are great, others are okay, and still others are terrible. The terrible sites tend to offer either extremely low-paying gigs or stuff that is too good to be true. Many are also poorly designed, but don’t let design be your only clue. Some disreputable sites have attractive enough designs, and some good sites are a little on the unsophisticated side.
Writing job sites come in a variety of formats. Some are bid boards, where a client posts a job and it is generally awarded to the lowest bidder that is capable of doing what is required. Some are job boards similar to HotJobs or Monster.com. Then there are classified sites such as CraigsList, which offer not only writing jobs but a wide range of other job postings and items for sale. You also have your blogs and websites that seek out writing jobs from other sites and post the best ones for their readers.
Getting the Job
As with any job, the first step to getting a writing job is to apply. Each listing should have instructions regarding what information the job poster needs, what attachments you should send, and where you should send your application. Make sure you have an up-to-date resume, because many prospective clients will request one.
Once you’ve applied, you might or might not hear back from the job poster soon. If you were given a time frame for response, wait until it has passed before checking in. Otherwise, consider sending a follow-up email in a week or so. There’s a lot of competition for online writing jobs, so it’s always good to call attention to yourself as long as you do it politely.
Some clients may require you to pass a test or write a sample article before you start working for them. Others request an interview, and still others simply use your credentials, past work and communications with them to make a decision. So be sure to always put your best foot forward.
Finding writing jobs takes patience and perseverance. But if you enjoy writing, all that work will pay off when you get your first client. Good luck!