10 Application Tips For Freelance Writers

by WorkFromHome on August 8, 2011

When you work from home as a freelance writer, either as an employee or a contractor, you will be required to go through an application and interview process that is similar to regular employment. Potential employers want to screen remote employees as carefully as they do ones that work onsite.

When a freelance writing position is posted it is anticipated that several hundred applicants will respond. With the world economy being in a constant state of flux, employers have seen an increase into the amount of respondents to advertisements for work-at-home positions. With this in mind, freelance writers should consider the following 10 tips to make sure their application makes it into the interview pile and not the circular file.

  1. Read the Instructions and Follow Them Carefully. There is a high response to positions that are offered at home, especially for freelance writers. Employers realize that they must narrow the hiring process right from the start, so they often include very intricate directions in their advertisement for the application process. They do this to see which writers are able to follow the directions perfectly and which do not. The ones that do not follow the instructions are the first respondents to be cut from the consideration list. You must carefully read and review the instructions and follow them exactly. One employer stated that he listed which size of envelope to use when submitting the application and writing samples. If the application arrived in the wrong envelope, it was never opened. Freelance writers must work independent of their bosses, it is important that they can follow instructions without supervision.
  2. Have a current CV that is written in Internet style. Your CV should be current and formatted to current Internet style. If you are unfamiliar with this term, it means that your CV should be written in brief paragraphs, with important information in bold so that it can be easily scanned by the reader. As a rule, people no longer take the time to read everything on a page; they scan for relevant information and only read what interests them.
  3. Short and Sweet. Do not overload your potential employer with too much information in your application. Keep your application, CV, and any required attachments simple and to the point. You must remember that they have placed an ad for help because their workload is too much for their current staff. You must assume that they are busy, and respect that fact. The employer will appreciate this, even if it subconsciously, and it will help your application make it to the final interview stage.
  4. Be honest. Your writing samples will reveal your talent and experience. If you have never held the position before, show samples from things you have personally created. Never use work that was written by another person. Employers are often willing to give new writers a chance if they like the style and format of their writing. However, if you have writing samples that are clearly not your own, you risk never working in the profession.
  5. Proofread your application, and then proofread it again. You are applying for a position as a writer; your application cannot contain spelling, grammatical or syntax errors. This is very important. You will not receive a position as a writer if you cannot effectively use spell check.
  6. Use proper language. If you are applying to an English speaking company, make sure that you have mastered the language. This is true for any language. Do not use broken sentences, slang, or Internet jargon in your application or CV. Very rarely will any of these things be acceptable in your final product, so there is no purposeful reason to use them in your application.
  7. Meet the company needs. When you are creating your cover letter inform the potential employer how hiring you will directly benefit their company. Again, keep it short and simple, but very precise. If, for instance, you are applying to a web design firm, state your prior experience in writing web content as opposed to your passion for poetry.
  8. Do not follow up before 7 days. Many people will submit an application and call the employer the next morning. While it would be wonderful if applications could be processed so quickly, it is doubtful that this will happen. If you wish to follow through, give the employer at least a week.
  9. Do not ask for writing critiques of your samples. Once you have been hired, this is appropriate; prior to being hired it is not. Honest reviews are time consuming and a hiring manager is trying to fill a position, not educate possible applicants.
  10. Never offer to work for free to gain experience. Unless they are offering apprentice programs, most good employers are not interested in this type of situation. Companies with less integrity may take advantage of this offer, leaving you working for a considerable amount of time for no pay.

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