If you’re an aspiring — or even experienced — freelance writer, you know that marketing for work is an art unto itself. If you’re new, you’ll spend the bulk of your time doing it in the beginning. If you’re more experienced and going through a dry spell, you’ll turn your attention there to get jobs flowing in again.
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3 Reasons Job Boards are a Great Way to Get Freelance Writing Jobs
1 . They’re All in One Place
Instead of bookmarking 10, 15, or 20 or more sites to visit, you can just log on to one site like Hubstaff Talent and find tons of gigs to apply for. This is a huge time saver.
2. Clients Come to You
Once you complete your profile, clients can reach out to you. This cuts down on the amount of marketing you have to do to start making money as a freelancer.
Additionally, employers save time in the hiring process. In business, time is money, and this is one reason so many of them are drawn to job boards in the first place. So you’re front and center for their immediate – and future – hiring needs.
3. Discover What’s in Demand in a Given Niche
One of the benefits of using freelance marketplaces that’s rarely discussed is that they are a great source for doing market research. Why/how? Consider the following.
In 2007, I’d been laid off (from the last full-time job I ever had, by the way). I’d been a freelancer since 1993, so I always had my toe in the freelance waters. When I got laid off, while continuing my search for another full-time job, I kicked up my marketing efforts for freelance writing work. On job sites, I kept running into ads for “SEO Writers,” SEO Article Writers,” SEO Content providers,” SEO Copywriters,” etc.
I didn’t know what it was, so I googled it, did some reading, learned it, and started applying for gigs. Luckily, I was able to delete my resume from my hard drive because I got so busy within the first few months that I had to hire help.I didn’t know what it was, so I googled it, did some reading, learned it, and started applying... Click To Tweet
I’ve been happily freelancing full-time as an online (SEO) writer since then. But if I hadn’t been on job boards and kept running into ads for “SEO writers,” I wouldn’t have added this skill to my writing repertoire.
Also, I used to own an editorial staffing agency. Here’s a little inside tip – one way to stay in the know about the skills employers are seeking is to scour job boards and read job descriptions. If you keep seeing a certain software, certification, etc., mentioned that you weren’t aware of, it may be time to update your skills.
Job boards provide a plethora of information like this that freelancers can use to get a jump on the competition – and start landing gigs quickly.
7 Do’s and Don’ts for Landing Freelance Gigs Using Job Boards
Now that you know why it’s a good idea to use freelance marketplaces like Hubstaff Talent, let’s turn our attention to what you need to do to land gigs.
1. Fill Out Your Profile Completely
I know this may sound obvious, but I’m always amazed when I see what I call “barely there” profiles. I mean, even if you’re busy as heck, you never know how many jobs you’re missing out on because your freelance profile is incomplete.
As I stated above, I used to own an editorial staffing agency. These days, I own/manage an online writing company. So I have experience using freelance marketplaces from both sides of the hiring desk, IE, as a freelancer, and as an employer who hires freelance talent.
I always, always, always skip over the profiles that aren’t complete and/or are so skimpy that you know the person was just trying to throw something up.
As an employer, I think if you’re not professional enough to put up a complete profile, how thorough will you be with a project I hire you for? So be sure not to make your profile live until it is 100 percent complete.
And proof, proof, proof. Then proof some more. FYI, here are some great tips on proofreading your own work.
2. Professional Profile Picture: Some Insights
Did you know that recruiters spend almost a fifth of their time (19%) on your online profile looking at your picture? Less time is spent on your skills or work history. This is how important a picture is.
Don’t waste this valuable chunk of time by getting it all wrong, or worse, not uploading a profile picture at all. This is one of the easiest places to impress and get potential employers interested in the skills you offer as a freelancer.
Use a professional photo. And by professional, I don’t mean hire a professional photographer. What I mean is upload a photo that doesn’t include pets, kids, clutter, inappropriate clothing, or anything else that screams “unprofessional.”
FYI, here is a complete list of online job profile picture tips to help get this part of your professional presence right – from the start.
3. SEO Your Profile
If you access the internet, SEO guides you whether you know it or not. SEO determines what pops up in search results when you’re looking for something online, what doesn’t pop up, where it pops up, and how it pops up.
What is SEO?
In case you don’t know, SEO is the acronym for “search engine optimization.” All this fancy term means is doing certain behind-the-scenes things to a piece of content before it’s published to tell search engines like Google how to catalog it.
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So you log onto a freelance marketplace like Hubstaff Talent. Your ideal client would be a SEO writer who specializes in real estate.
If this is you, this should appear prominently in your profile, ideally in your tagline, eg, Yuwanda Black: “SEO Real Estate Writer.” These are the exact words someone searching for a person with your talents is likely to key in.
Go a step further. Do your keyword research and sprinkle appropriate terms throughout your profile. This way, no matter what keywords someone types in, they’re much more likely to find you when they’re looking for someone with your talent set.
Why SEOing Your Online Job Profile Is So Important
There are two reasons: (1) Many freelancers don’t know a thing about SEO, so you gain a competitive edge; and (2) again, you give search engines the exact info they need to return your profile in search results when potential employers are looking for a freelancer with your qualifications.
4. Learn the Intricacies of the System
Every freelance marketplace has its own set of rules and regulations. Master these, and you’ll be able to stand head and shoulders above other freelancers in the database simply because you know how to “work the system,” so to speak.
I liken this to being an Olympic athlete in training. Elite athletes train to shave milliseconds off their time or improve whatever skill they’re working on. They do it because they know that it can mean the difference between winning gold (and getting millions in endorsements), or missing out on being on the podium altogether.
Landing freelance assignments takes the same kind of intensity. The difference between those who earn six figures and those who can’t seem to make a go of it is that the elite take their “training” seriously. They:
- Learn how to quickly sift through hundreds of job listings to find the ones that are a good fit for them;
- Master how to quickly put together proposals that “nail it!” so clients can’t help but contact them; and
- Fine-tune their pitching process to reach more clients quicker so they always have irons in the fire and avoid a feast-or-famine freelance existence.
So whatever freelance platform you’re on, invest some time in learning as much about it as you can. Then, get busy marketing.
5. Follow Directions — to the Letter
As a former recruiter and current owner/manager of an online writing company, I can tell you that when employers are seeking candidates for a job, they put a lot of thought into what they ask for.
The reason is, depending on the type of gig they’re listing, they may be inundated with responses. One of the things they use to weed out candidates is to separate those who follow direction from those who don’t.
Those who don’t get immediately sent to the slush pile or deleted altogether. So if the job request says submit your credentials in Rich Text Format (.rft), NOT MS Word, then do so.
Don’t attach your resume in Word because that’s the format you have and it’s easier for you. Trust me, it will be deleted. Take the time to reformat if necessary and submit according to stated guidelines. Who knows? The reason the potential client wants it like that may be because they contracted a bad virus from downloading resumes in the past and vowed never to do it again.
So follow whatever instructions given as completely and thoroughly as possible.
6. Submitting a Resume Tip
I always advise freelancers not to submit a resume, but a professional profile. Why? Because as I wrote in this post:
When you freelance, you’re a business owner.
One of the easiest ways to start acting like a business owner is to revamp your resume into a professional profile. Not only does it showcase your skills in a more business-to-business manner (as opposed to employee-to-business), it allows you to make the mental shift from employee to entrepreneur.
And trust me, this way of thinking carries over into every element of how you operate your freelance business – from what you charge, to how you set deadlines, to which projects you accept, to which services you offer.
The sooner you start treating your freelance career in this manner, the more likely you’ll become successful.
7. Don’t Write a Book
Piggybacking on the last point, don’t send in a long explanation of why you’d be the perfect person for the job; or what you love doing about x, y and z; or how you’ve always wanted to freelance and would love to be given a shot.
Prospective employers likely don’t have time to read such a soliloquy, and honestly, they’re not interested.
Also, this pegs you as a newbie right off the bat. And while there’s nothing wrong with being new (we all have to start somewhere), you don’t want your status to announce itself in big, blinking neon lights.
Give them the information they requested in a succinct and professional manner, and leave it at that. It will be appreciated more than you know.
Humor never hurts, so inject it where possible. But keep it short, on topic and professional. And if it’s not your forte or you suspect it could be taken the wrong way, don’t do it.
Assume the Client “Doesn’t Know”
Remember when you first signed up to a job site? You probably had to tool around a bit to get familiar with it, right? Well prospective employers are the same way, and they’re much less likely to spend as much time on a site as you, the freelancer, are.
So if there’s a gig you’re interested in that you suspect may have a missing digit, EG, $5 as opposed to $50, fire off a quick email to inquire. Something like:
I saw your posting for a real estate writer with SEO experience. You stated that you want weekly 750 to 1,000-word articles for your blog at a rate of $5 per post. I was inquiring if that’s correct. I’m a real estate writer with extensive experience. Feel free to check out my profile and rates, and get back to me.
Notice how you don’t berate them for their rates — just in case that really is what they want to pay? And, you told them to check out your profile and rates. That way, they can see how much you charge and your experience.
And if you’re a good fit, they might get back to you. If not, then they know to move on.
Sometimes, clients don’t know what they should be paying, so many times they’ll go for the cheapest freelancer. They may or may not have a bad experience. If they do, they’re more likely to reach out to someone who’s contacted them in the past – even if your rates are higher – than go the “cheapie” route again.
Finally, don’t spend all that time uploading a profile and then forgetting about it. Check back regularly.
Many job boards allow you to set up alerts so you can be contacted when gigs within your area of expertise are posted. When you’re setting up your profile, make use of this.
The best way to start landing gigs is to apply for as many of them as you’re qualified for as often as you can. If you set aside a certain amount of time per day/week for prospecting, before you know it, you’ll be busy – and on your way to building a solid, fully-able-to-support-you freelance business you can be proud of.
If you’ve always wanted to freelance but are afraid to take the leap, don’t be. There’s never been a better time to make your freelance dreams a reality. Proof?
Freelancers now make up 35% of U.S. workers (55 million Americans) … Among those who quit a traditional job to freelance, more than half are earning more than they did getting a steady paycheck.Freelancers now make up 35% of U.S. workers (55 million Americans) . Click To Tweet
And, perhaps reflecting their improved financial situations, 53% of freelancers believe that having a diverse portfolio of clients is more economically secure than having one employer.
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Log on and create your profile today. Your next gig – and your new life — could be just a click away.