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Word of mouth: what hiring people want from writers who pitch for jobs
Do's and don'ts for your writing portfolio, straight from the source of people who hire!
This week I had a great opportunity to guest post on Words on a Page, Lori Widmer’s amazingly useful blog geared towards freelance writers. Lori is also one of our new affiliates, i.e. she gets a small kick back for any paid user she refers to Writer’s Residence for a writing portfolio. In this way, I’ve been enjoying building out our affiliate scheme as more than just an affiliation per se, but more of a collaboration. Our affiliates are generally people in the business of helping writers, so as they get the word out about Writer’s Residence, I’m also keen to share the great work they do, too. Hence it’s awesome to be working with Lori and sharing her resources with all of you! Including this nugget…
(Psst, if you want to get on board as an affiliate, get a kickback for referring WR, and also get a shoutout here on Substack and my other channels, check this out.)
Mistakes writers make when applying for gigs
My post is titled Crafting a Freelance Writing Portfolio That Gets You Hired and focuses on do’s and don’ts for your portfolio. But the real nugget here is the LinkedIn post I discovered via Lori… I will paraphrase…
The hiring person offered $1,000 per article, up to 4 articles per month. A potentially great gig!
44 writers applied. 95% made these 3 mistakes…
1. Pitches were too long and templated. It looked like it was just another role they were applying for. Very few emails were targeted towards the project. And very few emails included the samples I asked for.
2. No samples. The samples were missing in the majority of applications. It's OK to send a Google docs link or links to pages on your own website if you haven't had your content published. What I’m looking for: (1) That you can follow the requirements; (2) That I can quickly read your content. With 44 applications, I don’t have time to visit your website, find your portfolio and scroll through the list of articles.
3. Lack of relevance. The 3 that moved forward did something the others did not: They shared RELEVANT samples.
It’s well worth reading the full post which includes a great template for contacting potential employers. Keep it brief and relevant, folks!
And for more do’s and don’ts, check out my post on Words on a Page: Crafting a Freelance Writing Portfolio That Gets You Hired.
And finally, I’ve added a new perk to founding members of this Substack: founding members get a five point personalised critique of their online writing portfolio (be it on Writer’s Residence or anywhere else) with specific actions for improving their website (not to mention access to subscriber-only posts and my eternal gratitude!).