A recent study conducted by the freelancers’ resource site Elance.com showed a very encouraging trend for the world’s freelancers. According to the survey, which was conducted last September 2012, 57 percent of the 3,000 independent contractors who participated in the study reported an increase in their income, with 67 percent sharing that they expect their income to increase some more in 2013. [Read more…]
Getting your resume online is becoming crucial for young grads or those looking to find a job. As our Presidential candidates have continued to remind us over…and over…and over again these last few months—the job market isn’t easy. Students do not want to have to move back with their parents and struggle to find a job just after school. And to that I say: No kidding!
As a 2011 graduate myself, I know that the job market isn’t easy, but I realized quickly that getting your resume online was key. You need to give yourself every opportunity to get your resume seen, and this entails putting it online in any way possible. After all, the Internet is one industry that isn’t struggling in today’s economy. Employers are online, sometimes looking for candidates, as much as the next person, so you want to make sure you’re easy to find.
One of the things that I hear from many of my friends is that they are unable to find a job in today’s economy. Most of the people that are complaining about not being able to find a job have college degrees, but they lack the experience that many employers require. Because of our relatively high unemployment rate, it should come as no surprise that any employer can pick and choose when it comes to whom they want to hire. Because of the vast number of applications for most jobs, many of my friends are passed over for other applicants that have more experience. [Read more…]
Data plans can be expensive, especially when you’re out of a job; but with the right tools, you can turn your smartphone from a liability to an asset in your job search. Here are a few of the best networking, job-search, and organizational apps for Android and iPhone.
1. LunchMeet (iOS)
This app is a brilliant extension of LinkedIn’s networking service, allowing you to set up lunch appointments with professionals in your area and industry. Sign in to LunchMeet using your LinkedIn profile, and tell the app when your schedule is free. LunchMeet will then find local professionals who are also free at that time, and provide contact information so you can set up a meeting. The app also displays restaurants, coffee shops, and other locations that would be good for a face-to-face meeting. This app alone might be enough to get your foot in the door; but even if you’re not looking for work, it’s a great tool for establishing connections in your industry. (Cost: free) [Read more…]
When you are communicating with a potential client about a freelance writing job, you want to present yourself in the best possible way. Unlike applying for a traditional job, you may not be asked to meet with the client for a face-to-face interview; your cover letter, resume and samples may be your only shot at persuading the client to hire you.
This is not a situation where you can hold something back and save it for the face-to-face meeting – there may not be one. Instead, make sure that whatever you submit gives the client the information he or she needs to make a hiring decision.
How can you stand out from the other writers who are interested in the same opportunity? Be specific in your cover letter and writer’s resume about your experience and how you would be a good fit for what the client needs. Here are some questions to help you fill in some details:
- How long have you been writing? (Number of years)
- What kind of writing have you done? List the different types of projects you have been involved in.
- How many articles, blog posts, e-books, etc., have you written? (You don’t need to provide an exact count but do share an approximate number.)
- What topics have you written about/are you most comfortable with?
Don’t underestimate the power of putting specifics in the materials you are sharing with clients. When you show, don’t tell details about your experience, you are giving the reader a frame of reference to determine whether you have what he or she is looking for. Offer the client something concrete and you will make an impression that could land you the gig!
I’ve seen a number of web sites recently that suggest freelance writing as a survival job for people who are in between employment opportunities. While I admit that I do find the idea that anyone who can string a couple of words together can get paid to write until they find something better to do with their time a little insulting, this post isn’t about that particular topic. I want to talk about people already working as freelance writers who may be faced with having to work for less than they are used to making.
Many of us are familiar with the feast or famine cycle that goes along with working for yourself. There are times when you are tempted to pull out your own hair because you have so much to do and there are other times when you find it hard to round up even one client who has work for you. During these times, do you keep looking for new work or do you take a freelance writing job that pays a lower rate than you are used to getting?
My advice would be to do both. Not every gig that you take on is going to be your dream job. If your priority is to (A) keep body and soul together, the lights on and not have to think about sleeping under the stars unless you choose to go camping, and (B) to continue to develop your skills as a writer, then taking a survival job makes sense.
Set aside some time every day to send out queries, contact prospective clients, apply for advertised gigs or whatever job search strategies you have decided to use and complete the project you have in front of you. It may lead to something better down the pipe; if not, at least you are working.
The valleys in a freelance writing business don’t last forever, but neither do the peaks (unfortunately). I’m all for doing what you need to do to keep bills paid and the money coming in, even if it pays less than what you normally charge until you find your next great gig.
Success can be kind of a slippery word. Like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder. We all want to be successful in our freelance writing career, and there is no shortage of resources telling us how to do it.
Some of the information is readily available online, including the posts that the team here at Freelance Writing Jobs brings you on a regular basis. If you are wondering, “how do I….” you can find multiple answers to your question by checking out freelance writing blogs and websites. You also have the option of going to your local library or bookstore to find more information about writing. There are even magazines devoted to becoming writer, how to become a better writer and how to find writing markets.
When it comes to what defines freelance writing success, each person has a different answer, and that is how it should be. As you change and grow, your ideas about success will change. I remember working at my first full-time job in the early 1980s and thinking that I would be successful if I was able to make $200 a week. (I was making $150 a week at the time.)
Over the years, my ideas about success have changed, and I’ve changed and grown as well. I realized that one person’s success can look quite different from another individual’s notion of what that is like. I have two beautiful daughters, and one of them has special needs. What this means for our family is that how we define success will be very different, but no less valid for each one of them.
For your writing career, how you define success may be different at different stages. It needs to be based on your skills and abilities, your financial needs, and your values. Some people choose this type of work because they want or need to have a flexible schedule due to medical or emotional issues or because they are caring for children and/or their parents. Other people come to freelance work because they want to be experience the joy and challenges of running their own business. Both of these types of people are successful, because they are doing something that works well for them and that fits in with their values.
What do you value, and what does success look like to you?
Part of being a freelancer is looking for work. Even when we have a full plate, we are aware that our status can change very quickly. Clients run out of work, we decide that it’s time to move on, or we simply experience a dry spell.
Since a phone call or e-mail can change our work schedules (and have an impact on our cash flow) very quickly, getting into the habit of always being on the lookout for new opportunities is important. The “job” of a writer is not just about thinking stuff up; it also involves the functions of running a business, including marketing.
If this part of your business is not something that you always look forward to, let me offer this suggestion: make looking for work a habit. It should be a regular part of your routine in much the same way that showering and brushing your teeth are.
When was the last time that you gave any thought to whether you actually wanted to take a shower or brush your teeth? You don’t – it’s just something you do because you know that if you don’t look after it there will be consequences. The same thing is true when it comes to your freelance writing job search.
Get out your book, calendar or whatever you use for scheduling and block off some time to devote to applying for gigs, writing and sending queries, cold calling or connecting with previous clients. You can set aside time on certain days for different approaches if you like.
The important thing is to make an appointment with yourself for this necessary activity. Once you have it written down, keep the appointment – whether you actually feel like doing the task doesn’t necessarily have to appear on your radar. Just get started, and you are less likely to have a lot of gaps in your freelance writing schedule.
Do you make looking for freelance writing jobs a habit?
When you are talking to a client (either a new one or someone you have worked with before) about a gig, the question of a deadline and your schedule is going to come up. Some clients keep it really simple and will explain that they need a particular job done by such-and-such a date and ask if you are available. In that case, you can either say yes or explain that you can complete the project by “x” date instead and ask if they have any flexibility with the due date.
Unless the job is something that you have absolutely no interest in doing and you aren’t at all worried about offending the client, I wouldn’t recommend just saying No. A better response is to politely explain that you aren’t available and to thank the client for thinking of you or considering you, as the case may be. (It’s the professional equivalent to saying, “Gee, I’m really flattered but….” when you are asked out by someone you aren’t interested in dating.)
It’s a bit trickier when a client is asking more general questions about your schedule and how busy you are. “Are you busy?” can be an awkward question to answer.
When it comes answering questions about your schedule, a better approach is to answer the question the client is really asking, which is whether you have time to give their project the attention it deserves. Explain to the client that you always have time to talk to a client about their needs and that once both of you agree that you want to work together, that you will discuss the schedule for the project.
Talking about scheduling too soon is like sitting down with a prospective employer at a job interview and bringing up the topic of vacation time right away. It’s just not a good idea. If you commit to a deadline without knowing exactly what the gig entails, you may find yourself going without sleep or not giving the work your best effort because you are pressed for time, and neither scenario is a really good one.
How do you handle the issue of a client who wants to talk about scheduling before they have committed to hire you?
When you are looking for freelance writing jobs, it can be very tempting to apply for any and every opportunity you see – whether you are a good fit or not – especially when you are getting started as a freelancer. This type of approach could work and there are some people who do find gigs in this way. I suppose the idea is that if you put enough applications out there, sooner or later someone will respond. The issue with this type of job hunt is that the prospective clients who do respond may not be the ones that are a good fit for your skills and abilities.
Far too many people use the same approach to looking for work as they do when they are at an all-you-can-eat buffet. You would think that the words “all you can eat” would encourage diners to take their time and plan what and how much they want to eat because they can get in line as often as they want.
Instead, they take a linear approach to the buffet line, starting at one end and putting items on their plate. This works out really well in theory, but by the time they get to the good stuff (i.e. dessert!), they either don’t want to eat anything else or are so full that they don’t enjoy it anyway.
A much better way to approach the buffet table (without having to fight with your family members about who has dibs on the couch once you get home) is to take some time to do a little recon to find out what the buffet has to offer. Figure out which dishes you are most interested in trying and make sure you include them in your meal.
Keep in mind that since this is an all-you-can-eat buffet, you get to go up more than once. There isn’t one magic food on the buffet, any more than there is one magic freelance writing job and that once the opportunity has passed, you will never find another one. Just get back in line and see what else is available by conducting a focused search on the types of gigs and clients that are right for you.