How Not To Apply For Jobs Online

in How To Find and Get Freelance Writing Jobs

Deb Ng has posted an article by Jennifer called: How to bomb out all the time when looking for writing gigs

As a general rule I prefer affirmative rules like Be grateful that there seem to be lots of jobs out there rather than You spend most of your time whining about the lack of gigs out there but either way the point is well taken. Complaining doesn’t get much of anything but more complaining.

Regarless of their form, each of Jennifer’s points are good ones.

Here’s a challenge for you if you’re having trouble landing freelance writing jobs from online postings:

  • Take a look at these and get honest with yourself.
  • Which on the list are you guilty of, at least part of the time?
  • What will you do to change it?

Are you willing to share what you discovered here?

[sig]

Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Connie July 29, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Thanks a lot, Ron, for your point-by-point comments. I appreciate the detailed analysis, and will remember the tips in my next applications. Thanks a lot, too, Anne for this site. I have learned a lot.

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Anne July 30, 2009 at 9:47 am

you’re welcome ;)

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Cathy Miller July 29, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Some great tips, Anne. One of the things I love the most is learning new things and new ideas. Like I said in my earlier post, I have tried different techniques until I found what worked for me. But, you’re right, you have to be flexible because if I learned nothing else from Corporate America, it’s that life doesn’t always go exactly as planned.

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Ron Lewis July 29, 2009 at 11:55 am

Hi Connie,

In the off chance that the address was good, but the recipient choose to send that response because of your letter, here are some suggestions:

You wrote:
I would like to offer my services as Copy Editor. English is a second language to me and I have published articles and presented papers that have been selected for publication internationally.

Since the project post was for copy editing services, that second sentence would dissuade me from using your services. Grammatically, there should be a comma after “me.” However, I would not even create a compound sentence from those two statements; they aren’t logically connected. And if your prospective client were a nit-picker, she’d prefer “published” be replaced with “written,” since “publication” appears later in the sentence.

I have extensive experience editing corporate reports, papers and publications and have developed a keen eye for grammatical errors and sentence construction. I have also a deep sense of urgency to meet your deadline for the completion of work.

Again, your “keen eye” let you down. Read that first sentence again, pausing for the comma but continuing unabated since there is no other punctuation. At least, insert a comma after “publications.”

I would also insert a comma after papers, although opinion has become divided on the necessity for the serial comma when not absolutely required for clarity. Historically, the serial comma has been standard and was eliminated by the print media to save column space. When in doubt, I go with the historical standard.

If your client is in the US, “have also” will sound strange; we would typically reverse that usage. The remainder of that second sentence also comes across as overly emotional, as if it were a clumsy translation.

Since I have recently retired, I can work on your manuscript full time from home. I have a PayPal account so my location won’t be a problem.

From a marketing perspective, I would drop the mention of your recent retirement — the prospect may want a younger editor. Likewise, at this stage, the client has no concern over how you get paid — that’s your concern. All that last sentence does is introduce a potential problem — what if the employer does not use PayPal?

My resume will be immediately available if required.

Again, this usage is not standard in the US, and it is not accurate. How can your resume be “immediately available” if you have not already sent it before they require it? Change “available” to “provided” and “if required” to “upon request.”

Hope this helps.

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Anne July 29, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Some good points here Ron, thanks

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Cathy Miller July 29, 2009 at 11:39 am

I tried a lot of different techniques to planning my day. You have to allow time to market yourself, respond to jobs, etc. but on the other hand not get so sucked into the search that you don’t allow time for writing. I love your line, Anne, “Write well and often.”

I don’t waste my time with the high volume/low-paying gigs. I know some writers can “crank them out” to make it worth their time but that’s just not me. The best thing I did was sign up for LinkedIn and join industry-specific Groups. I am specialized and this has been a real boon to business. I have received a lot of referrals. I am writing more and more now from referred business and less and less from postings. I still respond to postings though because you never know when those gigs might go away-like one website where I submit articles 1x/month that just lost 2 major backers.

Thanks for all you do, Anne. I need to go write now. :-)

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Anne July 29, 2009 at 1:05 pm

http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/2009/01/discipline-and-persistence-freelance-writing-success/ – particularly the part about planning an ideal day. When I do from time to time I find it helps me with my focus.

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Connie July 28, 2009 at 12:08 am

I recently replied to a job posting for Copy Editor (Kalamazoo) but got a returned message saying that the address was not valid. Can you help me out? Here is a copy of the letter I sent to the address indicated:
===============================================
To : [email protected]

I would like to offer my services as Copy Editor. English is a second language to me and I have published articles and presented papers that have been selected for publication internationally.

I have extensive experience editing corporate reports, papers and publications and have developed a keen eye for grammatical errors and sentence construction. I have also a deep sense of urgency to meet your deadline for the completion of work.

Since I have recently retired, I can work on your manuscript full time from home. I have a PayPal account so my location won’t be a problem.

My resume will be immediately available if required.

Reply

Anne July 28, 2009 at 9:57 am

Connie, I’m sorry the posting has an invalid email… you might try it one more time just in case it was a tech glitch. If that doesn’t work, chances are the job is being withdrawn, perhaps because it’s filled. I don’t have any way to track it down either.

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Devon Ellington July 27, 2009 at 11:06 am

I’m happy to say I don’t fall into any of those boxes. Maybe that’s why I’m earning a living.
.-= Devon Ellington´s last blog ..Monday, July 27, 2009 =-.

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Anne July 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Of course you don’t Devon!

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