You have the resume, now you need to find a gig. Before you start digging into the job boards remember to look over my list of Black Holes to avoid.
But if you see an awesome job you want to apply for, here’s a brief summary of what not do.
This an example of a job posting you might find for freelance writing (This one is expired and came from Indeed.com).
“My company is working on a comic book pitch for Marvel, and we need a script writer.
– Good communication skills – The writer needs to be able to tell things in a way that is too the point and clear.
– A visionary mind
– Strong grasp of grammar
– Flexible attitude
– Professional behavior –Not flaky. Do your best work. Get things done on time
– 2 + years experience
Job Type: Contract
Salary: $30.00 /hour
Required experience: scriptwriter: 2 years”
Don’t: Apply to every writing job under the sun.
Do: Apply to the jobs you could picture meeting your deadlines for with no hassle.
Let’s say I had no script writing experience and no comic writing experience. Why would I apply for this job? But if I did have interests in those things and a little experience I might include a caveat in my cover letter that covers my passion and interest and glosses over my minimal qualifications.
Don’t: Copy and paste your cover letter.
Do: Create a simple template and input the new info for every email you send.
Seems easy enough to copy and paste and just type in your information. But this is just an opening for a slew of grammatical errors and crucial missteps that show the client you don’t have the time to craft a well-written cover letter. Trust me I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. For example:
“Dear editor in chief of Elle Magazine,
Interested in this article for Cosmopolitan?!!!!”
Don’t: Be vague about your experience, passions, and qualifications.
Do: Mention specific expertise and interests that apply specifically to the job. If it’s a job that wants research, make sure you go over specific examples of what makes you a research expert.
Don’t: Forget to put required info in your cover letter.
Do: Reread the job posting several times and make sure you tick off all the required submission and application instructions as you go.
Don’t: Leave out your blogs, clips, samples, portfolio.
Do: Dedicate a well-worded paragraph to your clips, experience, and where the employer/client can find further samples of your work. It’s a great idea to have a website portfolio on hand.
Don’t: Attach your resume and samples (unless specifically instructed).
Do: Include your resume in the body of your cover letter.
Don’t: Send your cover letter without going over it a few times.
Do: Step away and come back to it.
Don’t: Put all your hopes and dreams in one job posting.