Last Wednesday, part 1 of this article described how to find potential freelance writing job leads. Today, we’re going to take a look at what to do with them once you find them.
Start with the company’s web site. Check the “Contact Us” and “About Us” pages for lists of company contacts. Sometimes you’ll even get lucky and one of those two pages will contain a link to a page with a title like “Work for us” or “Jobs”, or something similar. Ideally you are looking for the name/email address of a hiring manager, editor, or other individual responsible for passing out work assignments. Worst case scenario: all you find is an firstname.lastname@example.org address. That’s okay, you can work with that, it just adds an extra step to the process.
Let’s take a minute to talk about that Info@ address. If, after your research, you come up empty-handed for a contact other than that Info@ address, send a short note to that address requesting… information. (You saw that coming, right?) Keep it simple and to the point. You aren’t auditioning for a job here, you’re just fishing for a name. Hello, can you tell me who to contact about freelance writing opportunities with your company/website/publication? is enough to do the trick. Be sure to include your contact information. Then comes the hard part — waiting. Be patient, sometimes it can take awhile for a response.
Now that you’ve got the names, it’s time to make contact. How you will get in touch with your prospective clients will depend on the information you have gathered about them. For example, if you started with a set of writer’s guidelines or a job posting that clearly states you should send a resume, cover letter, and three writing samples by mail, then that is what you should do.
Okay, that takes care of one scenario. Scenario two: The Cold Call. If you are skittish when it comes to playing the self-marketing game, take a deep breath. This is simple and painless. All you need to do is put together a package to mail (or email) to potential clients.
Start with a cover letter. There’s a sample cover letter for a freelance writing job here. Of course, if you aren’t responding to a job listing, you’d need to change the first sentence to reflect accordingly.
Add your writing resume and publications list (from last weekend’s assignment. You did the assignment right?)
Now you are ready to include links to your writing samples (or hard copies if using postal mail). If you don’t have links and are sending an email package, it is acceptable to indicate in your cover letter that clips are available via mail on request.
In every case, you should tailor your cover letter, resume and clips to highlight things in your work experience that match the company you are contacting and the job you would like to do.
Now you are ready to send your package. If you are sending via postal mail, be sure your cover letter is in a business letter format. For email submissions, choose a subject line that is both specific and appropriate for the job you are seeking. For example: Information Request: writing opportunities at XYZ Company.
Attach or enclose your resume, publication list and clips. Then, drop it in the mail or press send and you are done!
Lather, rinse, repeat.
To keep a steady stream of new writing work coming, you’ll need to make time to do regular job searches as part of your writing schedule. You can choose how often to do this based on the amount of time you have available. The goal is to make marketing yourself and your writing part of the normal routine.