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Is that Writing Job Too Good to Be True?

help-wanted-logo1Technology has made it easier than ever for writers to find writing jobs. Unfortunately, it’s made it just as easy for scammers to work the system and take advantage of our hard work. Some simply trick writers into working for free. Others aim to do far worse, like stealing your personal information in order to swipe your identity. Ask yourself these three questions to evaluate that job before you apply.

Are they buying or selling?

Remember when mama said, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”? That goes double for writing jobs found on the internet. Even the most reputable job sites can’t catch all the scams.

When a job listing catches your eye, read like a skeptic and ask yourself: Are they buying or selling? A legitimate job ad will spend more time telling you what the company is looking to buy. Scam ads tend to devote more effort to selling you a job. For example, “Earn up to $$$ per day!” As a wordsmith, you probably spotted the classic “up to” loophole in the phrasing. Trust me, if the earning potential was that high, no loophole would be necessary and, come to think of it, they wouldn’t have to advertise the job, because it would never be vacant.

Does this mean that any job ad that lists perks is a scam? Of course not. But as a rule of thumb, evaluating whether the ad is buying or selling can help you decide which ones are worth investigating further.

Are you giving or getting?

No doubt you know better than to pay someone to work for them, but scam artists are good at getting something for nothing. It’s a common practice among scammers to ask writers to provide samples that will be used to evaluate writing ability. Most legitimate employers will accept writing samples from your portfolio. If you offer to provide previously published clips and the company insists on freebies instead, you are probably being scammed. Think about it, one job ad could potentially net hundreds of free samples that the poster can then use, so why would they bother to hire and pay a writer?

What does the Internet say about the company?

This boils down to doing your homework. A little legwork can save you headache and heartache in the long run. Before you accept a job from any company, do a bit of research to learn about who you will be doing business with. You can start with a simple Google search using the company’s name and keywords like “scam” or “complaint.” Beyond that, search these sites for information about the company you are investigating.


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