Business Writing on Craigslist

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Last week, I wrote about considering business writing as part of your freelance career--especially with the number of magazines and newspapers folding. I talked about external and internal opportunities and about contacting businesses and letting them know about your services.

But Craigslist ( is also full of business writing opportunities. The hope is that you find one, get your resume in quickly before the other one hundred writers, do a great job, and the business hires you again. I have applied for Craigslist jobs before--some have worked out; some have not. Once, I received a phone call from a business owner who was looking for writers who could write on a variety of subjects for his event planning business. While he quickly interviewed me and I translated his heavy New York accent, he told me he received over one hundred resumes for that job. So, the competition is tough, and you have to be quick on Craigslist. Let’s talk about some tips on using Craigslist, so you don’t get lost in the shuffle.

•    Many of the large cities that you first see listed on the Craigslist home page have the most job openings for writers—even telecommunicating jobs. Use the local angle, though, to make yourself more desirable to an employer. For example, if you live near Chicago, search for jobs there first and mention your location in your first response to the job ad.
•    Click on your state and find your city on the list. I live in Missouri; so when I click on my state, I am taken to a page that lists several medium- and large-sized cities. I look at the jobs in those cities first and again mention that I am a local writer or editor. If I am familiar with the business, I will also mention that in my first e-mail.
•    Don’t answer ads that are general and don’t give much information about the business. These are often ads for sites that want you to subscribe to them to view jobs or make a very small amount of money for a very large amount of work.
•    On Craigslist, if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. It won’t hurt you to answer ads like this if you are not sure if they are legit or not (and everyone has different goals for their careers), but don’t waste a lot of time on them. With Craigslist, I usually put a couple sentences about myself, attach my resume WITHOUT my address (just my phone number and website), and send it. If the company is legit, then they will get back to you.

With Craigslist, it is a good idea to set aside one or two hours once a week to look through ads and respond to them. Start with your state, and then move on to bigger cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Look for ads from businesses, so you can develop a relationship with them and get more work when they need a writer.

Post by Margo L. Dill;
Photo by semihundido 

For tips on querying and writing articles (for magazines or businesses), consider taking Margo's online course, Freelance Writing: Querying and Writing Non-Fiction Articles starting on August 19. For more information, check out the syllabus on the WOW! classroom page.


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