Let’s be clear here. You should apply for jobs as a freelance writer if you want work. What you get out of freelancing is what you put into it, after all! But you shouldn’t fall into the trap of wasting time applying to tens of jobs and only getting a few replies.
Sound familiar? This unfortunate circumstance happens to just about every freelancer, so you’re not alone. But there’s a more efficient way to apply for jobs that not only saves you time, but gets you more and better clients.
What is this magic formula, you might ask? It’s not a formula at all! Just a few simple insights I’ve gained from all that experience applying to hundreds (yep, literally) of jobs.
1. Apply to the right job
When you’re in a rush, sometimes you’ll send a pitch/cover letter for any and every job you see (that doesn’t look like a scam, at least). But actually, taking a bit of time to thoroughly check out the job can save you time in the long run.
Is the job a fit for your skills?
I’ve talked to many clients who were absolutely astounded by the number of people without the required skills who responded to their job postings. Don’t let this be you!! It just wastes your time and the client’s time. Read the job description thoroughly and make sure it’s something you can comfortably do within the time constraints.
And while you should always be learning and trying to expand your skills, a new job is not the time to test out a new skill. Don’t think you can learn how to write copy on the go if all you’ve written is fiction; it won’t go well.
Does the budget match your pricing?
Even if you’re desperate, don’t undervalue yourself. Agreeing to a rate far under what you normally charge will only bring stress and unhappiness in the long run.
That being said, make sure you look at the client’s budget before you apply to the job. One big time saver I’ve discovered is this: if you see a low-budget job with a massive job description, skip over it. You’ve earned what they want to pay you by the time you finish reading through all their specifications.
Of course, negotiation is always an option, but keep in mind that if you charge way over the client’s budget, the client either won’t consider you at all or ask you to bring your price way down. Save yourself the time and don’t bother with super-low-budget jobs unless you’re absolutely sure you can come to a fair pricing agreement with the client (like if you’ve worked with them in the past).
Be honest about your pricing up front, too. It saves time in communication later on.
Is the client worth working with?
Does the client have consistently bad reviews? Move on. It won’t be worth your time to work with someone who has unreasonable demands or might not pay you. Yes, even if you’re desperate. There is something out there for you, I promise.
2. Have an “edit and go” cover letter/pitch
Check out this post on how to craft the perfect cover letter if you haven’t already! You need something short, sweet, and to the point. However, once you have this template, make sure you give it a quick personal touch for each job by addressing the client by name and including details about their project so they know you read the description.
The key is to have a cover letter that’s easily adaptable. Starting from scratch every time is one of the number one time killers when it comes to applying for freelancing jobs.
3. Look in the right places
Just because one job/freelancing site has worked in the past doesn’t mean it will always work. It’s a good idea to have a varied list of places you can turn to for clients. Here are some of mine:
- Google job search
Try looking for jobs across multiple sites to get a pool of the best jobs for you. It might seem like more work, but it’s likely you’ll find more quality jobs this way; otherwise, you’ll be stuck scrolling past bad job after bad job on a single site.
Make It Fun!
Searching for jobs can be a chore, especially when you’re desperate and it seems like all the jobs are trash. Don’t lose heart! In addition to these time-saving tips, play your favourite music and grab a cup of tea or coffee while you search. Job searching is much more fun when you choose to make it fun.
What’s your top freelance job searching tip? Let me know in the comments!
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