With the growing demand for creative content generated by companies, you can find plenty of writing jobs to choose from. If you’re a young writer who’s just starting out, you might be wondering how to get your foot in the door.
Here are a few tips on how to obtain entry level writing jobs and begin your career as a professional writer.
If writing is your passion, and you have strong writing skills and editing skills, but you’ve never worked in the field, you may be wondering how to find entry-level writing jobs.
It can be confusing to know the difference when looking through job ads, as far as the difference between being a freelance writer and a content writer.
This article is going to help you discern the difference between the different types of entry-level writing jobs, as well as what you may need to know to begin when you get the unique opportunity to write for a living.
Whether you are looking for part-time or full-time work, there is success and money to be found in the field of journalism, creative writing, and writing in general.
You just have to know what you want, what you need, and where to look. This article will give you tips for all of that. Writer jobs are waiting, and by the end of this article, you’ll know which ones may be right for you.
Freelance writers aren’t necessarily tied down to any one employer. This is a business that takes a lot of work to create a space for your work, a name for yourself, and to show your skills and that you can write well.
You are selling yourself alongside your work, and you are essentially a free agent who can set your own terms and demands for compensation, what sorts of things you are willing to write or want to write, and what sorts of publications you are interested in working for.
You may sign on to do one project with a company or seek a contract to do a set number of pieces or projects. All of this can be done alongside whatever you want to work on, and unless you choose to sign a non-compete document, you can write for several publications or companies at once as a freelancer.
Freelance Writer Job Description
Below we have outlined the job description and tasks involved for freelance writers:
- Write different articles or books in diverse niches/categories
- Construct ideas that match the client’s brand
- Write an unbiased work
- If necessary, interview people that are considered a resource
- Report difficulties encountered, if any
- Proofread and edit your written work
- Comply with the outlined deadline
- Provide a well-researched and original work
- Agree to be paid a specific rate per word or project
- Understand SEO (search engine optimization) and user engagement metrics
- Adhere to the client’s guidelines
- Record the time it took to complete each article
- Update articles based on new trends or demands
Have a Website
Bloggers are freelance writers, and while a website isn’t absolutely necessary, many bloggers now have websites. It is much easier to market yourself if you have a website.
You can direct any potential buyer of your work, as well as a potential audience, to your body of work via your website. You can also add people to a mailing list so that they know when something new is posted.
If blogging isn’t exactly your thing, or if you enjoy it, but want to break into the business of writing for a client in the hopes of making more income, then you have to start marketing yourself.
Having websites where your work has been published is a great way to direct potential employers on how to view your content. Readily available and accessible links will help you get noticed when you do mostly freelance work.
What is a Content Writer?
To be a content writer, you have to have strong writing skills, flexibility, and work independently to reach a deadline. Unlike freelance, you aren’t just selling your skills and the content that you choose to write.
Most of the time, you are assigned pieces and articles to write by a company or publication, and you create the content that you are asked to write.
The job is about giving the employer exactly what they ask for and is less about creativity than freelance work is. You can be a content writer part or full time, depending on what you prefer.
Content writers usually write and create pieces and articles about whatever they are told to write or assigned to write by the company or group that employs them. They are most often paid by the word but can also be paid by the project.
It would be best if you decided as a writer which you prefer, and you can then narrow your search when looking for jobs to get what you want while still providing your service and showcasing your ability to write well.
How to Write Articles as a Freelance Writer
There are various job ads online that are looking for someone who is an entry-level freelance writer. They may not want to hire you permanently, but if they are looking for freelance writing, they most likely want someone to fulfill a specific writing job and then move on.
These employer bids can be found on websites that can be found easily online by a quick search. Job details will be in the description of the job post.
Most writers have writing samples ready to prove that they are the ideal candidate for the job. If you are looking for entry-level freelance writing jobs, you can either keep your search loose to see more available jobs, or you can whittle it down and be as specific as you like.
Know Your Strengths
If you’re best at editorial content, you need to market yourself that way. If you want to create web content and you feel that that is your niche, then you need to market yourself that way. If you want to write copy and get into marketing or publishing, you need to market yourself in that way.
There are so many different writing opportunities and jobs that you can be a bit selective. Know what you’re good at, know what you want to write, and know what you’re willing to write.
Example: Sarah went to college for journalism and graduated ready and eager to show off her writing skills and ability. She knows her style is more along the lines of writing features and editorials, so that’s what she looks for when she starts looking for potential employers.
The local newspaper is looking for writers, and she sends in her resume. The editor, who is doing the hiring, is sent some of Sarah’s work so that he can see what her style is, as well as what sort of things she has written in the past.
He sees that Sarah is more of a creative writer than a straight news writer, but what they really need is a sports writer. He interviews Sarah and then offers her the job of sportswriter, telling her that she may get to move up at some point in the future to the things that she has more interest in writing.
Now Sarah has a decision to make. She would love to make money in the field of journalism, but she also knows that straight news writing is not her strong suit. She also knows that she has absolutely no interest in sports writing.
So should she join the team or leave the sports writing to other candidates and look for personal success elsewhere? These are the decisions you have to be able to make when you are looking for entry-level writing jobs.
Communication skills are essential to any job you pursue or have. With freelance writing, you have to be able to communicate clearly when looking for writing jobs. Your writing skills and content on your site may not be enough marketing materials to sell yourself to the right client.
Communicate with potential employers and find out if the entry-level role offers a flexible schedule, or if you will be expected to attend meetings, submit outlines, ideas, and rough drafts, or just the finished product.
You will need to know if it will be a contract work job where your employment and income will be project-based and if you will be working alone or as part of a team that must collaborate.
If you have strong communication skills, you will be able to get more information about a job, which will help you make a decision.
Build Relationships in the Industry
Writers can’t always get a job based on ability and skills alone. In an online world where it seems like everyone is creating a business creating content, jobs can be incredibly competitive and hard to break into.
If you can rub elbows and make friends with another writer, or someone who can keep you in the loop about available jobs, then you will have a much easier time getting the job you want.
Join groups on social media and other sites that offer tips in the world of freelance journalism, save the contact information of the people you talk to who offer you feedback on your writing and save potential client information.
Even if you are passed over for an entry-level writing job, you can still check back with these people in the future once you have written more and improved your skills. In the business world, that old adage applies that it’s not always what you know; it’s who you know.
Content mills are companies that ask their freelance and content writers to create large amounts of writing for below the going pay rate. It’s a double-edged sword because writing for a content mill is a great way to get your foot in the door and build a large portfolio, but it’s also a job that requires you to write a lot for very little compensation.
A lot of experienced writers start out in content mills. It’s relatively easy to find work writing articles for these sites and businesses. The bad news is that you will most likely never get paid what your skillset says you are worth.
The good news is that if you can get a lot of articles written, you can make more money because the more you write, the more you make. You just won’t be making as much as another business that is hiring for a specific writing job will pay.
Working for a content mill isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s more of a personal decision that you have to make. Do you mind doing more writing for less money, or are you just trying to get a portfolio worked up, so you save your work from the content mill you work for and use that to seek full-time work writing for someone else? It’s a way to get free marketing while getting paid (although the income is usually low).
You know that most writing jobs that are looking for full-time writers are going to want to see a portfolio or, at the very least, samples of your writing.
If you don’t have anything to show someone, you can go to work at a mill and save those documents you create and use them as a marketing tool for yourself.
The subject matter doesn’t have to be fascinating to show a potential employer that you have strong skills when it comes to writing.
Do Your Research
No matter what kind of job you want to pursue as a writer, it is essential to do your research when you decide it’s time to get into the business of writing. Do you want to work for yourself as a freelancer, or do you want to work as a writer creating content for a company? Do you want to be a part of a team, or do you want to rely on yourself to get projects done?
Doing your research to figure out which business is the best fit for you is key to finding a job you will like. It will also allow you to see what is out there and where your personal preferences lie regarding whether it is something you can do full time and whether it will pay decently.
Other Entry Level Paths
Other entry-level jobs can offer you full-time, part-time, or freelance type work. If you want to get paid to write, freelancing and content writing are not the only available options. No one wants to work for free, and if you find that you enjoy writing in your spare time for free, there are plenty of ways to get paid to do it.
Ghostwriting, transcription writing and ad writing are all means of working full time and getting paid to be a writer. As mentioned above, always do your research into each potential employer before signing on, and never sign a contract unless you understand exactly what they are promising when you are signing it.
Ghostwriting is just like content writing, but you will never see your name on a by-line. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a writer, and it doesn’t mean that your work is not appreciated and recognized.
It only means that when your article, story, feature, or content is published, it won’t be your name on the by-line. Someone else, either a “writer” or a publication, will get credit.
People may be surprised to find out that some of their favorite autobiographies are ghostwritten works. A writer teamed up with someone who wanted to tell their life story but maybe didn’t have the time or the skills to get the job done by themselves.
So they search for a ghostwriter who will do the research necessary, the writing, and a lot of the editing, and they tell the story while the ghostwriter takes care of getting it written.
Small businesses sometimes employ ghostwriters to write for them to promote their business, take care of public relations via snippets of written work, and write ads for them.
Some people have the negative idea that ghostwriters are people who have no pride in their work, but that’s rarely the case. Ghostwriting can pay well, it can be fascinating and challenging, and it can provide industry knowledge that can help to catapult you into success as a full-time known writer at some point in the future.
Sometimes you need to get your foot wedged into the door before you can kick it open, and ghostwriting can provide that opportunity.
Transcription writing is an entry-level job opportunity that pays you to type out what you hear. This job exists for several different fields, including but not limited to law, media, and medical.
Doctors who give lectures or teaching hospitals that train on the job often record their lessons, and those lessons are then given as audio files to a transcription writer to type out.
This is tedious work that often doesn’t pay much. Unless you are very good at typing what you hear accurately and quickly, it can take a long time to transcribe a file, and there is no room for creativity in this job.
However, it takes very little training, and almost no experience is necessary to do it. It’s also a full-time job that can be done remotely, so it appeals to people looking for supplementary income or people who don’t want to work outside of the home.
Writing ads is another job that can be done full-time. It involves either working alone or with a team to write ads for companies or businesses. You have to research the products, listen to product pitches, and search for competitor ads to be able to do this job well. If you work as part of an ad team, you may be collaborating with people who represent the company, as well as other writers.
Small businesses may write their own ads, and after they start to lose business, they may seek out someone creative and talented to do the job for them in the hopes of boosting sales and growing their business.
Like ghostwriting, you may not get direct credit for what you write, but you will get compensated, and if you like to write and would like to work in the field of marketing, this might be right up your alley. Ad agencies also hire frequently on an entry-level basis for the job of writing ads.