"The best freelance writing jobs are almost never publicly advertised." This is something I've pointed out countless times over the years. Yet one of the biggest questions I get from new writers is "where do I find gigs?"
The best gigs aren't usually advertised for a few reasons. Clients already have contacts that can refer qualified writers. They prefer to search for a writer on their own to find the perfect fit. Or they simply don't want to deal with all of the applications from unqualified freelancers a public ad can lead to.
That doesn't mean you should never look at publicly advertised job listings though. You'll occasionally find gems there. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't have a freelance writing job board here. And I wouldn't take the time to curate some of the better third party ads for you.
To curate those job listings, I have to search several freelance writing jobs sites for their latest listings on a near-daily basis. And over the years, I've come up with a very simple way of doing this. It allows me to find listings in a matter of minutes.
How to Quickly Search Freelance Writing Jobs Sites
For those of you who have asked where you can find advertised gigs, I'd like to share my process with you.
- Choose a bookmarking tool. I use a start.me browser start page (which gives me the same start page links in all browsers). I set up a section of my browser start page for freelance writing jobs sites. To access them, all I have to do is open a new tab.
- Next choose the sites you want to regularly check. I'll give you a few you can start with below.
- Add these sites (or custom search links, which I'll cover in more detail shortly) to your bookmarking tool.
- Each day, open up that tool and have instant access to all of your key job sites' latest listings without having to manually visit them.
It really is that easy. You could make it even easier if all of your target job sites have RSS feeds. Add those to your favorite feed reader, like Feedly, and you won't even have to visit each site directly to see the latest gigs.
Freelance Writing Jobs Sites to Bookmark
While I won't share all of my regular sites to check, here are a some to get you started:
- JournalismJobs.com Freelance Jobs
- MediaBistro.com Freelance Jobs
- ProBlogger.net Blogging Job Board
- CraigsList (Yes, CraigsList. -- more on this one below)
Adding Custom Google Searches to Your Freelance Writing Job Hunt
When it comes to classifieds sites like Craigslist, you'll find a lot of garbage before you come across a gem or two. And you often have to browse by location, which can become time-consuming. So don't bookmark these sites directly. Instead, bookmark some custom Google search results that let you dig deeper and avoid all of the "no pay" nonsense.
For example, one custom search I use for Craigslist is:
writer and "compensation: * per article" site:craigslist.org
This says the ad has to include the word "writer," mention some kind of pay per article in the compensation section, and be located on CraigsList's site. You can swap in similar things -- different classifieds site, pay per post instead of article, or other key phrases like "copywriter," "business plan," "resume writer," or "blogger." Beyond that, I limit results to those posted within the last 24 hours.
Enter that search string into Google. Then click on "Search Tools" to choose your timeframe. Click the link below and you can see the custom URL I bookmark. Try it out, and you'll see that article rates are often visible right from Google's search results page so you don't have to visit every job ad individually to see if it pays enough.
That's the kind of link you would add to your bookmarks to quickly access these listings each day (or week, or whenever you prefer). I actually have four daily custom searches I run for that site, and all I have to do is click one link for each and visually scan the search results page. I have more advanced searches that I use on days where jobs are even lighter than usual.
So there you have it. That's one way you can run a quick freelance writing jobs search to see what new gigs are being advertised. But remember, the best gigs are rarely found in these lists. So don't get caught up in searching so much that you run out of time for direct pitching and building your writer platform.
How do you simplify your job search? Tell me how you use job boards, social media, and other platforms where gigs can be publicly advertised.
2 thoughts on “How to Quickly Find Advertised Freelance Writing Jobs”
Great tips, Jenn! I’ve always had trouble searching Craigslist because it takes so long to look through different locations. I, too, curate jobs, and honestly a lot of them come from your job board, but I’ll definitely try this trick next time!
It’ll work for most sites. Just tailor it to however pay is usually mentioned there. For example, CL specifically has a section starting with “compensation:” — so you don’t need that to search sites with a different setup. You should be able to rule out certain things too. For example, you might do a general search of CL for the terms “freelance writer” and “writing gigs” but not showing results that include “no pay” or “volunteer.” It’s one of Google’s upsides. 🙂