I have been doing a bit of thinking about how to differentiate yourself from other applicants when you apply for a writing job. Recently, I applied to a company who was paying great rates for pretty easy work and when I sent a follow up to find out what they thought of my sample, I was told they'd had fifty applications that were invited to apply for the job so it would be a bit before they got back to me.
While I don't know yet if I will get the job, it got me wondering how many writers applied that didn't get invited to submit a sample for consideration. One of the things I make sure I do is to show my flexibility in my writing. While a niche can be important in helping you earn higher rates, so is flexibility when you want to ensure you have a wide net to cast out for regular paying work.
Many freelance writers have three buckets of work. They have the super easy and low paying stuff, the medium paying jobs and the higher paying work that you spend more time on and is not as free flowing as the other stuff. I try to find as much work in the medium range as possible so that I can afford to take the odd evening or day off and still feel like I'm putting forth reasonably good work. Let's face it, if I'm getting paid only a penny a word, I'm not going to want to spend hours researching my facts.
At the same time, if I want to have a good supply of work flowing in, even my low paying work has to have some merit.
When I apply for a job, I try to show several examples of successful work published online as well as include a set of examples of my writing. My blog has been excellent for helping me get work. I also don't think there's anything wrong with following up when you haven't heard back within a few days. Don't stalk the prospect but I once was about to give up but think that my follow up actually got me hired.
Show your abilities and that you are qualified:
When I applied for a higher paying job as a ghostwriter for a successful Naturopath, I pointed them to my blog index as I knew it had many articles about healing foods and alternative medicine. I also showed some places where I'm published as myself. I got the job.
When I wanted to apply for a generic low paying but high volume position, I pointed out several online places I've been published as well as to my blog which showcased the fact that I can write on a wide array of topics.
The same approach worked and netted me a steady flow of work.
Do you have a blog? Your blog can help you showcase your work for free, get yourself indexed in the search engines and can create a professional appearance for you when applying for work.
This blog index has gotten me a lot of work:
My WritingUp Index
Tomorrow I'll share some resources to use to help you find writing job postings.