I recently wrote a post on what to watch out for in regard to freelance writing job ads, and reader Debra Stang left a comment that echoed what many of you told me.
I still skim the job ads. I’ve even gotten a couple of good gigs from them. But I’ve also come across some outrageous scams. My least favorite is the “sample” scam. The company contacts a writer about his or her job applications and says the writer has made it into the “finals.” Now all they need is for a writer to write a sample blog post about…
Well, I’m sure you can imagine what happens. The company receives enough “samples” to have content for their site for a year, and the writer never hears another word from them. Ick.
Ick indeed. So the question is, are freelance writing job ads even worth looking at? In my opinion, yes, but not for your main source of finding work. Every once in a while I peruse the freelance ads, and every once in a while I find a worthwhile job.
If they aren’t a good source of jobs, then, why do so many freelancers look to them as their primary place to find jobs?
I can’t speak for everybody, but I think when you’re a new freelancer, you aren’t exactly sure where to get jobs. Applying for gigs online seems like the right thing to do since that’s what you do for non-freelance jobs. Besides that, a lot of freelancers seem to be a bit shy, and applying for an ad is “easier” than calling up clients or sending out letters of introduction.
I still skim the job ads, but they certainly aren’t my main source of income. I look at them for other things:
- Trends in hiring freelancers
- Other “related” jobs (like editors and designers) so I have an idea of where I could pitch work
- New websites (because sometimes those hiring writers don’t know how else to attract writers, and they post ads instead.)
My advice? You should still skim the job ads if you want, but don’t use it as your main source of finding work. Instead, invest that time into making calls and networking. The more you skim, the better you’ll be able to breeze over the junky jobs and recognize a gem when you find it.