Article: Cheryl Paquin


The Small Business Library

September 1, 2000

Writer Makes $805 - With Clips 'To Go'

An exciting day! I sent out invoices for $805 dollars, for one article and three hours editing. But it did take time and effort to finally get my freelance writing career off the ground, with a few tricks learned along the way.

Before I began applying for work, I built a Web site for my writing business. I updated my resume, I signed up for a fax service, with free business cards as part of the deal, and I dreamed a lot about being a 'writer'. And then, when the inevitable could be put off no more, I began applying for jobs. There are scores of job sites on the Internet, and I trawled them everyday. Some of my favorites include:

  • http://www.Copyeditor.com
  • http://www.CraigsList.com
  • http://www.Sunoasis.com
  • http://www.JournalismJobs.com
  • http://www.Career.com
  • http://www.Monster.com
  • http://www.WritersWrite.com
  • http://www.InscriptionsMagazine.com

Another great resource is the Sunday classified sections of metro newspapers. Just type in 'freelance', 'writer', or 'editor', and see what comes up.

Once I see a job I'm interested in, I apply for it right there and then. If I bookmark it, I KNOW I'm not going to go back to it later, I'm just not. So fully aware of my ability to procrastinate, I made it easy to apply for jobs as soon as I found them - with clips to go.

Many jobs ask for a resume and clips in text-only format. This means typed directly into an email, or copy and pasted from another program. It doesn't mean sending Word attachments, or text attachments or any sort of attachment. It means TEXT ONLY.

Remember, your potential employer is possibly wading through hundreds of resumes. Does he/she want to open another program to read yours? Probably not.

So, to streamline the process, I set up an email template with a text-only resume, which I used ****** and ------- to separate sections. I pasted in three clips, with the headline in caps, and the date it was published. Because I had online clips, I added the URL using the http:// format, so even in text-only email the link could by clicked. Then, for each job, I open the template, write a brief 'cover letter' at the top; remembering to include the job reference in the subject line and the body, and VOILA, press SEND.

Oops, I omitted a crucial step here. I didn't SPELL CHECK. Please, please never overlook this, because I have, and spotted the glaringly obvious faux pas AFTERWARDS. It's not pretty, and it's not professional.

Not only do I keep my sent queries in a separate folder for easy reference, I also keep the job description. I've learned to do this, because one day, after I'd applied for five jobs, someone called about my application and I couldn't remember what particular job they referred to. So I have a simple text file, into which, I copy and paste straight from the job-site page. I really hate applying for jobs. I'd much rather sit and think about it than do it. But putting in some time with my resume and clips made it a quick, easy and PROFITABLE process.

You can, too.

Cheryl Paquin is a former reporter and news editor, now establishing a freelance writing career. For more information on growing and establishing a writing career, visit the Read My Diary section of her Web site.