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Why Don’t I Get A Response? Ask Anne, The Pro Writer

question rocksHi Anne,

I am writing because I need some advice.  As a freelance writer with her own business (set up very recently), I am always applying and bidding for work.  At the moment, I am not getting responses back despite applying and for many of them.  Furthermore, I have been checking and rechecking my applications for spelling mistakes and checking to make sure I am qualified for the job, I am still at a relative impasse.

I know the recession has made things difficult but this is getting a bit annoying now.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Many thanks

Miss Ngozi Nwabineli

Hi Ngozi,

The first thing to know is that people looking for writers online usually reply only to those they think they might hire. Not polite, but certainly the way it is.

Although spelling etc. are important, it’s more important that you demonstrate you can solve their problem. They need a particular kind of writer. If you can show you’re that kind of writer you’re much more likely to get a response.

Addressing their problem is more of an art than a science and lots of ads don’t give you a clue. You just have to do the best you can.

I see from your phone number and website that you’re in the UK. You don’t say if most of your applications for writing gigs are going there or if you’re also applying ’round the world. If you’re using my job postings most of those are in the U.S.

U.S. employers tend to be quite provincial. You’ll have to make it super easy for them to hire you and pay you – a paypal account is probably the best known method.

I’m glad you’ve got a website. That’s the first step. But it’s more about you than about how you can solve a problem for a prospective client. As you say there, first impressions do count, so put your willingness and ability to help right up front.

It’s not clear if there’s just one of you or more than one – either is fine, but make it clear. If you can write in French as well as English say so clearly – and if you offer translation, spell that out.

A degree in Law may mean you have the ability to make the law understandable to the lay person, or that you have the ability to make sure lawyers get the kind of writing they need. Or both – show us. Same thing for Business Administration. Use your writing skills to demonstrate why that should make me want to hire you.

Contact info should be on every page.

Look at your website as if you wanted to hire you as a writer – what would you want to see.

Look for writing work beyond the postings. Job Postings Here Are The Tip Of A Great Big Iceberg!

Hope this helps!

[askanne] [sig]

Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • I have been freelancing full time now for more than 10 years and I do still respond to job posts, etc. And I agree it is very frustrating when you don’t get responses, especially when you know you are fully qualified for the job. There have been months when I’ve applied for forty or fifty gigs and didn’t get a single response, and there have been months when I only applied to ten and got responses from half of them. Unfortunately you just never know when your cover letter and resume will strike the right chord with the employer. Make sure your cover letter and resume do address all of the listed requirements in the ad and let the employer know you are confident you can meet their needs. After that, there’s not a lot you can do except just don’t get discouraged and keep at it. You will start getting responses, and I’ve found that the more experience (especially high profile experience) that I get, the more often potential clients/employers are interested in hiring me. So each time you get another client/gig, make sure to update your resume.

    Hope that helps!

  • thomas

    i am frist time writer how much should i charge for gov writing

  • T

    I think this is a question a lot of writers have, especially right now. So many people are looking for work–writing and otherwise–that employers are overwhelmed with responses to their ads. A month or so ago I read an article that said the biggest complaint most job seekers were voicing (and it applied to all job seekers, not just writers) was lack of response. I must confess that during one of my stints as an editor, I did, in fact, let one query go without a response because I was in the midst of transitioning out of that publication. Lack of response from an editor/publisher may be due to any number of reasons. Also, I think writers must keep in mind that many fields connected to professional writing have been hard hit during the recession, which means the competition for writing gigs is that much fiercer at the moment.
    .-= T´s last blog ..Thanksgiving & Other Writing Prompts =-.

    • Anne

      Good points, although I don’t really believe in competition… I’ll blog about that soon.

  • Kathleen

    Miss Anne and Miss Ngozi —
    Thanks for sharing this with us all. I found myself reflecting on how many jobs I have bid on and the number of responces I have received, even when I included “please let me know either way” in my cover letter.

    I also found myself doing a mental check to see if I was succfully hitting all of the pints that Miss Anne was pointing out. I found a couple of things I want to tighten up on the next letters!

    Again, I am thankful for finding this website, it’s been a great help, source of encouragement and source of useful information over the years.

    This is one thing I reminded that I am Thankful for.


    Best of luck Miss Ngozi!

    • Anne

      Kathleen, as you’ve discovered things like “let me know either way” don’t work – keep pitching and keep looking elsewhere for gigs. Work to not take the lack of response personally, it isn’t.

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