Freelance Writer Job Hunting Mistakes to Avoid: Are You Doing Any of These? You Could be Losing Gigs

Many freelancers/job seekers fail to follow specific instructions. Although this may seem minor, it is the difference between getting your credentials reviewed, or not. And much like a headline that doesn’t get clicked on, no matter how great you/your credentials are, if they’re not seen, it means squat.

As an aside, this is why knowing how to write great headlines is muy importante by the way — especially for web (SEO) writers. But, back to the topic at hand.

For example, say you ran across an ad for a freelance assignment and it says send: a) one recent sample on this subject; and b) a professional profile pasted in the body of an email.

I can’t tell you how many times an applicant will send in 2 or 3 samples that are NOT related to the topic at hand and documents attached as Word, .pdf, WordPerfect, etc. This is one sure way to get your application tossed immediately.

Hiring managers make specific requests for specific reasons.

Going outside of what is asked for is almost never a good idea because the job poster knows that whenever they seek a freelancer, especially, they are going to be inundated with submissions. So, they set specific guidelines so that they can easily filter through submissions.

For example, if you attach a document instead of pasting it into the body of an email as requested, it may never get read because the person in charge of reviewing submissions may have a policy of not opening attachments because of viruses; or, they may not have the program you submitted your attachment in.

I know you may be applying for many different positions/assignments and that taking the time to cut/paste this resume, attach that one, send that one as a .pdf file can be time-consuming and frustrating. However, this is just part of the process of seeking jobs/assignments.

As a recruiter, I always disregarded applicants who did not follow outlined procedures.

My reasoning? If you can’t follow simple instructions, how can I trust you to give the client what they need/ask for? When you are reviewing 30, 40 or 50 submissions a day for one assignment (and this is not unusual at all), the ones you look at are the ones who make it easy for you by doing exactly what you ask.

You can always attach a short note offering to submit additional samples, or expound upon why you think you are qualified. But, please, please, please, always give the poster EXACTLY what they ask for.

Submission Tip

Keep an unformatted copy of your credentials on hand for ease of pasting. When you cut/paste your credentials from a formatted version, oftentimes the formatting unravels, making it hard to read (ie, the text appears as jibberish, the alignment is off, the font size changes, etc.).

Most hiring managers don’t care about how pretty your resume/profile looks; what we want to see are your credentials in an easily readable format.

Note: The original title of this past was “One BIG Mistake Editorial Freelancers Make When Applying for Jobs/Assignments.” Originally Published 2005; Updated and republished in 2016.

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