Get Writing Jobs from Search Engines

How To Best Use Job Search Engines as a Freelance Writer

Why should we use job search sites and job search engines for freelance writing jobs? Seems counter-intuitive, right? Well, we know that large companies often lean on the Monster.com and Indeed.com-type of sites, right? And we know, as freelance writers, that we want those jobs with those big names. Therefore it is in our best interest to know how to best mine and manipulate these sites for freelance writing jobs, despite the fact that they are more often used for more traditional work.

Here are seven tips for finding and getting freelance jobs from traditional job sites.

Follow the Expert's Advice on Job Search Engines

How to get writing jobs from search engines.
How to get writing jobs from search engines. crispyicon / Getty Images

Even though you're going into this with a different kind of (non-traditional) job in mind, you should still be sure to use, interpret, sort and respond to job search engines and job search listings in the ways that are going to get you the most bang for your buck. Remember, there are millions of people searching these sites. Putting together a scannable resume, avoiding scam listings, and the best ways to sift through thousands of openings are all things that many experts and gurus have written extensively on. You may as well let their expertise work for you, right?

Leave "Location" Blank

Job search sites and job search engines often sort based upon location. Both you and the employer that posts the job are prompted to enter a location. If possible, leave the space blank. Chances are that the employer who doesn't care about location has also left the space blank. Alternatively, you can also enter location keywords such as "telecommute," "open, "or "anywhere."

Use Multiple "Writer" Search Terms

Companies will call their writers by many different names: writer, content writer, journalist, marketing writer, copywriter, editor, and so on. When using a job search site or engine, be sure to try out each of these different search terms. In addition, insert "freelance" in front of each. This will ensure that you cover as many different potential jobs as possible.

Use Multiple "Telecommute" and "Work At Home" Search Terms

Industry hiring managers know and use many different terms when it comes to virtual work. Be sure you know and use the same vernacular. Enter various terms into the proper search areas, such as: virtual, telecommute, remote, independent, independent contractor, home office, home worker, 1099 worker, 1099 employee, work-at-home, and freelance.

Automate Your Search

This is a lot of searching, right? Who has time for so many non-billable hours? You need to concentrate on pleasing your current clients, and you don't have hours to waste playing with Monster's multiple ways of saying work-at-home! Don't worry, there is a solution. Many of these traditional job search sites will allow you to save your searches so that you can simply re-visit once or twice a week, and see what new possibilities have popped up. Others allow you to save the search and send you an email when matching positions are posted. Automating the search process in this way allows you to better manage your time, and focus on your current client load.

Interpret and Convince

Even jobs posted as "freelance" sometimes end up being located in specific offices in certain cities (a common pet peeve of many freelance writers!). It may take writers a couple weeks of reading and analyze before being able to sort out the truly freelance (i.e. telecommute) positions from those jobs that are simply temporary or otherwise misnamed, but it will come. Clues to look for include mention of "self-directed" or "independent" qualities, lists of software and programs required to have, or the mention of 1099 arrangements. In addition, look for jobs that have limited hours or are temporary. These tend to be much more freelance-oriented.

However, even those jobs that are supposedly locale-based may not be a total loss. Writers who find office-bound jobs that are otherwise "perfect" should not give up entirely. Many companies are open to the possibility of telecommuting, especially when it comes to temporary or part-time projects. Put your powers of writing to use, and get to convincing that employer as to why they should consider a telecommute arrangement, and, more importantly, why you're the best fit for the job.

Avoid the Old 'Scam and Spam'

In addition to pulling in the biggest and most well-known employers, the traditional job search engines also pull in another notable element: tons of spam and scams. If you've used a traditional job site like Indeed, you know what I'm talking about: the positions that promise you pie in the sky, with a lot of exclamation points (!!!!) that just happen to be available in every city nationwide. These postings are rarely legit and are more often MLM opportunities or other scammy positions. But what concerns us, writers is that they love to target the work-at-home and virtual job seekers. As with any job, be careful in interpreting the ad, and follow my advice in this article on avoiding freelance writing job scams.