Freelance Writing Jobs Follow Up


Question: Freelance Writing Jobs Follow Up

Should I check back on freelance writing jobs that I’ve applied for, or am I wasting my time? If so, how long do I wait, and what's the best way to follow up?


This is a great question, specifically for those freelancers who do indeed use the freelance writing jobs lists and apply to writing jobs via a writing resume and cover letter. In addition, I've counseled in the past that writers who do use these lists should consider applying to jobs in volume (although this doesn't mean in bulk you should only spend your time applying for jobs that you consider to be a good match). If you're going to spend a couple hours applying for several open projects, shouldn't you then guard your time investment even more by following up on those positions? My answer: possibly.

Should You Follow Up on Freelance Writing Job Applications?

As I'll outline below, part of the answer to this question may be in how you found the position. Now, we've established that (for this question at least) you used a freelance writing gig list such as MediaBistro or or similar. But, where, exactly was the job listed? This matters because some jobs list the actual employer and contact information. For example, MediaBistro often has this info lined up. However, places like Craigslist tend to encourage anonymity. Following up directly to a specific person at a specific company is probably a good idea. Following up to an anonymous email address is probably a waste of your time.

Another consideration in choosing whether or not to follow up lies in how badly you want the job. I may be a little biased in this department, as I am allotted only 6 hours per day to make a full-time living. I am therefore very careful of how I choose to spend that time. If the employer's address is made anonymous, that's some extra research time on my part- which of the 5 Craigslist anonymous emails was that job exactly? For me, more tracking and more researching mean less time available to complete paid work. However, if the position or project is with an employer who really grabs me, then I will spend a few minutes on their website looking for the head editor, head communications person, or an HR contact in order to follow up.

When Should You Follow Up on a Freelance Writing Job?

Employers are busy. Sending bothersome emails will not net you more work. Before sending an email, look for clues in the ad about their hiring timeline. If it's soon, send a follow-up email within one week. Otherwise, I would counsel you to wait one and a half weeks for other opportunities. For large companies and non-profits with formal HR departments, things take even longer. Consider waiting about two weeks.

How To Follow Up on Freelance Writing Jobs

Most job search experts do recommend following up after submitting a resume, but what exactly does that mean for freelancers? First,don't get on the phone unless specifically invited to! We are, by nature, telecommuters. Everyone works by email. Send a brief email to a real, targeted person (if possible). Don't be vague- mention the exact project, where you saw the ad, and why you're the best candidate. This is not the time to reiterate your entire qualifications list- simply mention your best qualification in one sentence. For example, "I know your project focuses on grades K-6 leveled readers, and I've previously completed similar books for Some Publishing."

In addition, don't use this opportunity to send more samples or another copy of your resume. These are items that should have been in the first email (if you were directed to include them). Don't overload your contact with more attachments.

Track Your Freelance Writing Job Applications

This is the perfect time to remind you that I am a proponent of tracking everything. Tracking your applications not only helps with finding emails and contact names, but it also helps you estimate about how many jobs you will get. Figuring out your applications-to-projects awarded ratio will help you figure out how to fill (but not overfill) your freelance writing hours.