Not all clients who are looking for freelance talent share their contact information when they post an ad looking for help. Not knowing exactly who you are responding to can feel a bit awkward. Some ads looking for freelance writing help are poorly written at the best of times, and when the client is not clearly identified, it is even more challenging to provide the information needed to show them that you are the right person for the gig.
It may be tempting to assume that blind ads have been placed by shady individuals who are either looking to collect personal information or collect free samples from the people who respond. There are legitimate reasons why a business may not want to advertise the fact that it’s hiring for any position, including bringing in freelancers.
For one thing, the company may be doing some restructuring and does not want current staff members to be aware of its plans. Some companies that hire freelancers prefer to keep that information confidential, and use blind ads to get the help they need without making it common knowledge.
If you have decided to respond to a blind ad, go through it carefully to determine what the client is asking for. In a case where the ad is “Writer Needed. Send Resume and Samples,” or something equally brief, I would say you may be better off just letting that one go. A client who isn’t able to give you at least some kind of idea of what they are looking for may not be someone you want to work with.
You could always poke a stick at one of these vague ads, if you were so inclined, by sending an e-mail asking for more information. If you get a canned response within a short time asking you to sign up for something, then you know that you need to just move on.
On the other hand, if you have read through the ad and decided that the opportunity is something you are interested in, make sure that you are providing exactly what the client is asking for. That means if you are asked to provide a resume and samples, do so. Some clients ask for samples only, so don’t send extra information. If you aren’t able to follow the instructions in an ad, a client is not going to hire you for a freelance writing gig.
If the scope of the project is a bit vague, as can definitely happen with blind ads, do put yourself in the client’s shoes and think about what kind of traits you would be looking for if you were hiring freelance talent. Tell the client about your reliability, attention to detail, great research skills, or whatever you bring to the table that makes you stand out from the other people who will be responding as well.
Responding to blind ads can be considered a bit of a gamble, but you can find some great opportunities in the mix as well if you keep in mind that a blind ad doesn’t necessarily mean that you should automatically give it a pass. If you get a response and it’s not what you are looking for, you can turn it down and move on.
Debra Stang says
I’m never sure how to start my response to a blind ad if I don’t know the name of the person I’m addressing. “Hi,” seems too informal. “To Whom It May Concern” seems too stiff. I’m about to say the heck with it and go with, “Hey, you!” Any other writers have any thoughts?