7 Ways to Hurt Your Chances of Getting Hired for a Writing Gig

November 1st, 2013


So you want to land a writing job and make some extra money?

Fortunately, finding a well-paying writing gig online is possible. But hunting for a writing job offers many pitfalls to the uninitiated. Without knowing it, your actions could be hurting your chances of getting hired for a quality writing gig.

Read on to find out how you may be sabotaging your application.

1. Ignoring application instructions

Employers, recruiters, and hiring managers are inundated with numerous applications, some of which may simply be from spammers. So when applying for a writing gig, read the job post carefully and take note of specific instructions from the poster.

Simple instructions such as “Write the word BINGO on top of your application” and “Use the word BLOGGER as your subject line” are often used by employers for two main reasons: (1) to exclude robots and (2) to test your ability to follow instructions.

2. Applying without qualifications

Again,  finding well-paying writing gigs is possible, even easy, when you know how and where to look. But while it may be a breeze to apply to respond to several job postings, select only the ones you’re qualified for.

One sure way to not get a writing job is to lie about what you’re actually capable of. Read the job description and requirements from the client or employers thoroughly. Then seriously ask yourself if you’re a “technical writer with in-depth knowledge of spacecraft engineering” or a “neuroscientist with 3-5 years of experience in the field.”

Find the writing or blogging jobs that you’re capable of doing. You owe it to yourself and those looking to hire writers to be honest.

3. Sending a lousy application email or resume

Misspellings, grammatical errors, vague subject lines, and boring or impolite introductions from a weird email address won’t earn you any points with someone who’s looking for a good writer.

Your email, query, or resume is like your pre-audition. Prepare it with care and customize it accordingly if you want to at least be considered for a writing job.

4. Taking your professional online profiles for granted

Signing up for one of the many free job sites out there takes less than 3 minutes. So is signing up for LinkedIn. But that doesn’t mean that you should only fill up your profile with the basic information.

Just like your resume and other application documents, your online profiles reflect how you are as a writer. Optimize your LinkedIn and job seeker profiles so that you’ll be easier to find and have more credibility.

5. Not building a credible writing portfolio

If you want to get a well-paying writing job, you have to show some proof that you can deliver. A writing portfolio composed of your best work around the web can help provide that proof.

If you’re completely new to online writing, start a blog and write about what you know and love. This way, you can have a place online to direct potential clients or employers. You can also use free services like Contently, Clippings.me, and JournoPortfolio to post your writing samples.

6. Not replying to emails right away

The application process often requires several steps. You send in your application or resume, the recruiter or employer reviews it, and then they contact you if you’re qualified. The whole process calls for some back-and-forth email conversations.

So be alert and respond to emails right away. If possible reply in less than 24 hours. Doing so will show your interest and reliability and will help you get hired faster.

7. Forgetting to follow up on a potential client

Another important thing to remember is to follow up on your applications, especially if the other party suddenly stopped emailing when everything seemed to be going well.

Drop them a gentle inquiry about the position and ask if it was already filled. More often than not, you’re email probably got buried, and they only needed a little reminder.

Boomerang is a great extension for Gmail that allows you schedule your emails and gives you the option to set up reminders when you don’t get any response. You can also use

Here’s what you should do next.

Now that you have some idea on the things you may be doing wrong, take a step toward the right direction and begin changing some of your job hunting ways.

Pay attention to details, follow up professionally, build your portfolio, and always be honest. Do the work and do it right. Eventually, your persistence will pay off and you can land that writing gig.

Got any juicy stories and tips to share about getting hired for a writing job? Share them below!


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