1. You're Not Reading the Project DescriptionBusinesses, publications, and individuals want to hire competent writers, and the emphasis is on "competent." Displaying your competence starts with reading the project description very carefully.
The person writing the job ad has (usually) put a lot of thought into it. Other staff members have added their input too. This means that whatever they say they want in the project description, that's precisely what they want.
If you're not sure about anything in the ad, ASK for clarification. Tip: if you ask questions, you'll move to the shortlist. Most writers don't ask.
Companies know that 95 per cent of writers don't read the project description carefully, so they've become sneaky. They add a sentence to the project description which quickly weeds out all the incompetent writers. For example: "Your proposal must include the word 'defenestrate' somewhere within it." If you fail to include 'defenestrate' that's what they'll do to your proposal.
Another tip: rewrite the project in your own words, then ask the advertiser: "As I understand it, you want __________ (whatever you think they want.)"
2. The Buyer Isn't Worth Your Time and EnergyIf a job ad asks for anything ridiculous, pass on by. Some buyers of writing services prey on new writers.
You need to know what you're looking for in a writing gig: don't try to turn the proverbial sow's ear into a silk purse. For example, if a buyer's looking for someone to write 50 articles for $50, don't try to convince him you're worth $1000. He can't afford you.
3. You're Not Going the Extra MileOnce an advertiser has weeded out the writers who failed to include the magic word in their responses, he's looking for additional reasons to strike you from consideration.
No writing samples? You're gone.
Don't respond to a message from the buyer within 12 hours? Good-bye.
If you've asked questions, but sound as if you're a prima donna, or if you lack enthusiasm for the gig... Farewell.
You can become a "must hire" very easily. Ask yourself whether you really want the gig. If the answer's "YES!", put yourself in the advertiser's shoes, and think about ways you could demonstrate that you're eager, willing and able.
Going the extra mile can be as simple as sending a message saying that you really want to work with this buyer, and asking for a chat with him.
If you're missing out on writing jobs it can be difficult to understand that buyers want you -- believe me, they do. All you need to do is eliminate every reason someone has NOT to hire you.
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