The Problem With Job Boards

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Freelance gigs are posted and reposted like crazy on your favorite writing sites. Even we have posted jobs here when the mood strikes us. While we enjoy doing it when there’s time, we fully recognize one overriding problem with getting leads from “the usual places”.

If 75 people who are all looking for freelance writing opportunities look at a single job post, the editor is likely to get 75 query letters or resumes. That’s some pretty stiff competition.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t use the freelance writing job boards, just be prepared for a lot of no-reply situations unless you can get on the bandwagon early and beat the rush.

I have a dirty little secret I use for just such purposes, and it involves looking at the freelance writing gig sites, taking a few notes, and then not responding to ANY of the items posted there. My secret?

I’ve long railed against Craigslist as a good source for freelance work for several reasons–one of the main being that there are so many freelance writing sites that scrape or borrow CL ads from the writing section as to make CL near useless. Once “High Paying Writing Job for Starving Writer” has made the rounds on 20 freelance writing job boards, that job poster’s inbox has been flooded.

Here’s my dirty secret:

In spite of my feelings about Craigslist, I still check them from time to time for gigs. But there’s a twist–the REALLY dirty part of my dirty secret.

I wait until all the morning updates on the freelance writing jobs sites are finished. Once they are done, I use my RSS feeds from Craigslist to keep tabs on writing gigs that get posted AFTER the updates on all the websites hit.

Freelance writing jobs are posted at all times of the day and night. The freelance writing job boards can’t keep up with the “odd hours” postings. That means less competition for anyone replying to that job ad.

When I worked my managing editor gigs, I posted “writers wanted” ads at all times of the day and night, including weekends. Editors are very busy people. We work strange hours and eat weird foods. Posting calls for writers at midnight on a Friday? Just one of our goofy habits.

I still have a low opinion of Craigslist. I have found an OCCASIONAL good writing opportunity there. But I ALWAYS go direct to the source via RSS and avoid the jobs posted on the freelance writings sites. That poor editor is already wading through 50 inappropriate replies to find one diamond among the charcoal.

If you apply for a CL-posted job you find on a freelance writing website, you might just be that diamond. But me, I hate crowds.

–Joe Wallace

2 thoughts on “The Problem With Job Boards”

  1. I love your idea and was toying with crawling through CL on my own. Sounds like you have an easier way. Could you just say a few words on how to do that?

    “I use my RSS feeds from Craigslist to keep tabs on writing gigs that get posted AFTER the updates on all the websites hit.”

    I have Google Reader and use it for keeping up with you, for instance. It’s how I found this post.

    I’m a newbie, but I am tenacious. Thanks

  2. @Heidi,

    I have a few select cities I keep my eye on via RSS feeds–not too many, just the ones I’ve found have the most relevant gigs for me. I look at the feeds individually, which does indeed get a bit time consuming. Then again, I don’t need the RSS feeds all the time, just when things get a bit thin workwise. You can also use Google Alerts…

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