You may think of freelance job boards as a place with work that doesn’t pay well. But recently, I saw my highest paying client post an ad looking for more writers on a job board. There were also other companies posting projects that could be worth thousands of dollars per month. Freelance job boards can have junk. However, there are gems you can miss. Besides the quality of work, landing a job from a job board can be a challenge in of itself. There are hundreds of people competing for a few jobs. Your pitch really has to stand out. Here are some tips to landing jobs from job boards:

Know that speed counts.

You should apply for a freelance job within a few days of the board posting. Ideally, you should send your pitch within 24 hours. Sending your pitch quickly can put you near the top of the list of freelancers the client considers. Think about scanning job boards quickly in the morning everyday or every other day to catch the good opportunities. 

Focus on the right ones.

My strategy is to only answer ads for jobs that I’m qualified for. There are tons of other people applying for the same jobs. If you don’t have the experience they’re looking for in the job description, there’s a smaller chance that you’ll get a response. Focus your energy on looking for jobs that align with your expertise. Your odds of getting the job are better.

Pay close attention to the directions.

Usually job board ads have directions on how to apply. Some ads ask you to send in a resume and cover letter. Other ads ask you to send samples or ideas. Sometimes they’ll ask you to use a certain subject line in the response email to prove that you’ve read all the directions. Being able to follow the instructions to apply for the job is the first test.

Show them what you’re working with.

Pitching for job board gigs isn’t a time to be bashful. List your greatest accomplishments. Compile some of your very best work to send with your pitch. Include how your experience makes you the perfect person to land the job. Don’t get too wordy in your pitch. Share your skills in a concise way to pique the interest of the person skimming your email.

Don’t give up.

Kudos to you if you get a response right away from your pitch! If you don’t get an answer right away, keep a record of places that you’ve pitched so you can send follow ups. Sometimes prospective clients forget to reach out to let you know the next steps in the hiring process. Following up isn’t a nuisance. It shows that you’re interested in the job. Don’t take it personal if you don’t get a job from a job board. Clients are trying to look for the very best person at the best price. It’s all business.

Final Word

Job boards can be great for freelancers who are just starting out. At first, it can be hard to figure out where the clients are hiding. Applying for job board jobs helps you practice pitching and can give you some experience working for clients. With some freelance work under your belt, you can make connections to start gaining referrals. The networking and referrals model of freelancing is a bit less stressful than constantly pitching for each new job you get.

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Taylor K. Gordon is a personal finance writer and founder of Tay Talks Money, a personal finance and productivity blog on hacking your way to a happier savings account. Taylor has contributed to MagnifyMoney, The Huffington Post, GoGirl Finance, Madame Noire, and The Write Life.

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