One of the biggest complaints I get is that people responding to ads get no information back. Believe me I know that it often feels like your responses end up in a black hole. But consider it from the employer’s point of view. They receive 100s of responses every time they post an ad; they simply don’t have time to respond to everyone, even automatically.
That said, most of the ads you see result in someone getting hired to write something for pay. You can be sure that most of the responses get ignored for one or more of the following reasons:
- You didn’t follow the instructions. If that ad asks you to put a number or phrase in the subject line of the email and you don’t, your email will be deleted without opening. If you attach a document when the ad specifically says not to, you might as well have not applied at all. If they ask for a sample pasted into the body of the email and you link instead, you’re probably wasting your time. If you don’t want to risk a new sample, paste a sample of something else you’ve already published, and mark it as such.
- You didn’t respond to the ad. It’s amazing how many people don’t actually address the kind of writing the ad calls for. If they want SEO and you link only to consumer magazine articles, they assume you don’t understand SEO. If they want blog writing and you don’t mention blog writing in your response they will assume you didn’t read the ad. Read the ad and craft your reply using some of their words and phrases.
- You don’t respond promptly. Well, this is a mixed bag. A couple of times I’ve actually waited a week to reply, but I’ve stated the reason, saying something like “I’m sure you were overwhelmed with the response to your ad posted on (date). Just in case you haven’t found the writer you need I want let you know I’m a fit.” This works best with ads that have fairly sophisticated requirements. It also can work with ads that you know are repeated often. But on the whole, you have to throw your response in with everyone else and do good enough job to come to the top.
- You focus on you instead of them. If you don’t show the employer or publisher how you and your writing will solve their problem you won’t get hired. An employer doesn’t care about you beyond your ability to do the kind of writing they need. Period. Show them how you can solve their problem and you probably will get hired.
Avoid these mistakes, make sure you’re answering the ad and can help the employers solve their problems and you’ll soon be getting responses when you reply to ads.
What did I leave out?
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