One of the toughest things for any professional writer, whether an experienced freelance writer or someone just starting a new freelance writing business, is to find new writing jobs. Even freelancers with a full project pipeline need to keep an eye on the future in order to ensure a steady stream of income from writing lest they find themselves evicted from the comfy work at home office and back into the faux-leather chairs of corporate America’s cubicles.
There are many ways to find freelance writing jobs ranging from using job boards and writing forums dedicated to freelance gigs and writing projects, to cold calling businesses and asking if they have any writing needs. Somewhere in between is using the major job websites like monster.com. (Here is your AP Style question of the day. Web addresses, or URLs, are not capitalized, but business names and trademarks are. According to the AP Stylebook then, should monster.com be capitalized [business name] or not [website address]? – I chose not to capitalize it because I am referencing it as the website and not the business and since this isn’t the Denver Post, I can do what I want.)
Find Writing Jobs CareerBuilder.com
One of the major job hunting websites is Career Builder. Career Builder came out after the success of Monster.com (that time it is the business name) and in many respects is simply an alternative service with approximately the same features. Think Google versus Bing, or HP versus Dell, or Coke versus Pepsi. With each of those examples, there are major differences between the brands and each company targets a different niche or consumer. Likewise, there are real differences between Monster.com and CareerBuilder, not the least of which is pricing for employers. Nevertheless, both sites work on the same model.
The problem with using big job search websites like Monster and CareerBuilder to find writing gigs is that they are not really tuned to the way writers, especially freelance writers, hunt for jobs. Just click on “Job Categories” to see what I mean. See “writer” on there anywhere?
This lack of attention to writing as a career means that writers have to do more than just type the word ‘writer’ into the search box and use the drop down boxes to limit the results. After all, writers can telecommute and work from home, and freelance projects are not always considered “contract” or “temporary”. Limiting a job search for writers by using those fields is a recipe for missing out on good writing gigs. On the other hand, just typing ‘writer’ with no limits is a one-way ticket to frustration.
The best strategy is to monitor the jobs posted for writers on an ongoing basis so that they can be quickly skimmed. A pair of human eyes is always a better algorithm than any computerized filtering. However, in order to not be a time wasting exercise, the once-over has to occur at short enough intervals. Fortunately, CareerBuilder offers email alerts with jobs for you based upon your searches.
For my small business, I set up two email alerts. The first alert email comes daily and limits writer jobs to the 30 miles radius around Denver. That way, I can pounce on local gigs. The second alert comes weekly and has no geographical limit. Obviously, this is a much bigger job list. I skim it ruthlessly to keep successful time management going.
Try setting a local and nation job posting alert for your writing business and see how it works out for you.
P.S. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post about what to do about “pest” employers who repost the same jobs over and over again clogging up your job search.