I’ve been freelancing for more than thirty years. I’ve replied with job applications to hundreds of ads for writers posted online. Over the last decade and a half, I’ve nailed freelance jobs with AOL, Arthur Andersen, Forbes Investopedia, and many more print and online publications.
Some of the editors at those publications told me that hundreds of qualified writers applied for those gigs. Why was I selected for the job rather than some other writer?
I was told they hired me because they liked my cover letter, clips and resume. But, I think there were two other factors that complemented my application, and beefed up my prospects for getting hired.
First, in my cover letter, I repeated in context most of the keywords from the job description. Because so many job applications are run through a computer by prospective employers looking for likely candidates, the letters with the keywords will be flagged out for consideration.
So, for example, if the job description calls for writers with experience writing about personal finance for young adults, be sure to repeat that phrase exactly – “I have experience writing about personal finance for young adults” – in your cover letter.
Look for other words and phrases describing the job and hiring criteria, and repeat them in your letter. This will likely get your letter looked at before the many others without key words.
The other factor that I believe helped me get those good jobs with national publications was my website. A professionally designed website, with links to some of your best published writing, even though it can cost from $500 and up, is worth the expense. The cost is business-related and deductible from your income tax.
But, most importantly, a handsome website conveys to the prospective employer your professionalism and seriousness, qualities in high demand among publishers.
Good luck on your quest for freelance work!
Marc Davis is a veteran freelance journalist with more than thirty years experience reporting and writing on business, finance, corporate management, legal and medical subjects. His writing has been published online and in print by Adweek, AOL, Arthur Andersen, The Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Encyclopedia Britannica, Forbes Investopedia, Insight Magazine, The John Marshall Law School Magazine, The Journal of the American Bar Association, Rotarian, The San Francisco Chronicle, and numerous other print and online publications. Davis is also the author of three published novels and three children’s books. He is also a former licensed commodity broker at the Chicago Board of Trade. Website: www.marcdavis.net.