Application for Writing Jobs

Posted on September 26, 2011


In one of my early blog posts, I asserted that writers need to create a standard introductory email that’s ready to send out in a moment’s notice in response to writing job ads in which they are interested.

Not only do you need a standard introductory email ready, but have you heard the old cliché “the early bird gets the worm?” This is literally true in the freelance job application world. The first app’s received are the ones that get the most attention from hiring companies.

Increased competition makes it necessary to provide a stellar introduction and be one of THE first responses to a writing job ad that a company receives.

Introductory Email

The contents of the intro email are critical for the hiring company to quickly decide whether they are interested in your writing talent. Keep in mind, these companies receive literally hundreds of applications for each writing position posted. They typically peruse responses they receive to see if any peak their interest. You want yours to stand out.

Create a standard introductory email (see an early one of mine here) you will tailor for specific job ads as follows:

  • Begin your intro email noting your interest and where you found the job ad (include the link to the ad and modify for each response to a job ad).
  • Briefly define your professional freelance writing experience — include writing experience in jobs previous to freelance writing — e.g., if you wrote on technical topics or produced user manuals in a previous position, include that in your intro email.
  • Include three links to articles you’ve authored for other companies.
  • Include the link to your blog or website at the end of your closing (after your name) – subliminal promotion.
  • Try to limit your email to five paragraphs and 400 words — my standard intro email has 440 words.
  • Copy the entire intro email into MS Word. Do a thorough proofread and spell check. Correct all misspelled words and grammatical errors — the content must be impeccably articulated and punctuated.
This video gives you a great overview of how to write and what to include in a general cover letter (introductory email).

Modify Intro Email

Every writing job ad is different, so you’ll want to tailor your intro email to the writing job advertised.

Do the following when adapting your standard intro email to respond to a specific job ad:

  • If the ad includes a specific person to send it to, include that name in your greeting.
  • In the job ad, many companies include the website or blog on which the content will rest – visit the site and pay attention to the type of articles posted and the style in which they are written.
  • Respond to each of the job requirements in the ad – e.g., if the ad says experience in writing on a particular topic is critical, indicate the companies for which you wrote on that particular topic or your professional experience working in that particular field.
  • If the ad does not include specific job requirements, include your writing experience relative to the topics on which the company posts.
  • Includes links to articles you’ve authored that directly relate to the topic noted in the job ad or are similar to those found on the company’s website or blog – if gardening, then include gardening topics, etc.

Include Relative Past Experience

Don’t overstate your abilities, but don’t understate them, either. Many writers I know don’t take into account writing experience from previous positions, because it fell under a professional title not related specifically to writing. For example, as a project manager, I wrote about specific emerging technologies, created business cases and authored customer requirements. I include all that writing experience in my intro email.

Finally, allow your intro email to naturally evolve as your experience broadens. I think you’ll find it “matures” over time.

Tell us what tools you use to introduce yourself and apply for posted writing job ads.