5 Reasons Why My Blog Has No Writer Job Ads

Carol Tice

Are Writer Job Ads Worth It?

Writer job ads: Helpful, or a waste of time?

Since this blog is all about helping writers earn more, it may seem strange to you that I do not provide any writing-job ads. I can tell you that I have no plans to add job listings, either.

I’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while, but let me share with you today the reasons why I don’t have job ads on Make a Living Writing:

  1. Most online job ads don’t offer good pay. Yes, there is the occasional real live, great-paying freelance writing job that pops up. I know because back when I was still scanning the online ads, I got a couple of them. But for the most part, the hours you have to spend sifting through the garbage (“Write us a sample for free!” “You’ll get exposure!” “We’ll pay you for traffic!” “We want you to post 10 times a week for $50!”) make trolling online job ads one of the least time-effective ways to find truly lucrative gigs.
  2. Writers already waste too much time on online job ads. Practically every writer I’ve ever worked with in my mentoring practice has confessed to me that they can easily blow four hours a day or more obsessing over these easy-to-find online ads, rather than turning to more effective marketing methods such as cold-calling, in-person networking, email marketing, using your social network, or sending well-crafted queries. It is so easy to fritter away the hours mooning over these ads, fantasizing about getting these gigs, and crafting submissions. I don’t want to contribute to this problem by listing more job ads here on the blog.
  3. Mass ads are too competitive. When you’re seeing a Craigslist ad, you know that 200 people are going to respond. Your simple odds of getting noticed and hired are tiny. Is this really the battle you want to fight? I try to encourage writers to seek out specialized, niche job boards such as Gorkana’s alerts on financial and healthcare-related writing jobs. I got a major gig off Gorkana this year, so I know this strategy works. Since I can’t possibly hunt up specialized jobs for everyone’s niche, I prefer to stay out of the whole job-board racket and steer people to good resources.
  4. Applying to online job ads is passive and often demoralizing. When you’re applying to online job ads, it’s a passive dynamic. You’re letting the universe tell you what’s available. Where with pro-active marketing strategies such as cold-calling, querying, or networking, you are empowering yourself to get the clients you want. This is the mindset I want to encourage writers to have — that you are in control of your freelance-writing career. Many writers have written to me about their feelings of despair at applying to jobs they know hundreds of others are going after. You can easily send 10 or 20 resumes a week and get not one peep. This does not help keep your psyche in a positive head space about being a freelance writer!
  5. Other writing sites have writer job ads already. If you still really want to troll the ads, you can head on over to Anne Wayman’s site, About Freelance Writing. She puts up job listings three times a week, and does a good job of compiling them from many sources. In case you’re wondering, I’m not recommending you look at her job ads because I’m putting on Webinars with Anne and like her personally, but because I think it’s useful that her ads are only three times a week and not every day. This performs a certain awesome triage in culling the ads, in that there’s usually a day or two of delay before her ads go up. That means all the really lame, mass ads will have dead links soon after she posts them — and that helps you avoid wasting time. Any professional company that needs something specialized and offers real pay will have their ad up for a week at least, so you miss nothing valuable. And it keeps you out of the cesspit of looking at online ads daily and wasting umpty-leven additional hours. If you commit to only looking three days a week instead of five, you’ve freed up two days for other marketing tasks that might prove more productive.

Do you think I should have online job ads? Leave a comment and let me know your experience finding work through the ads.

Photo via Flickr user an1m8or


  1. debbie

    No ads are fine. You gave very good reasons why not.and I don't believe there are enough reasons for you to be redundant.

  2. Stephanie Mojica

    Hi Anne,

    Definitely agree with you on all those points, especially #2, #3, and #4.

    One MAJOR problem with online job ads is the sheer numbers game alone is daunting even to the seasoned writer. The chances of getting noticed even if you have credits from "The Washington Post" and the link are so dismal, due to hundreds and even thousands of writers applying.

    Networking has been effective for me, as have job bidding sites like Guru (where the competition is usually 20 or less for one job, usually much much less).

    So I support your decision NOT to place ads on this site. The time-wasting and morale reduction potential are rather high, regardless of your level of writing ability and experience.

    Peace, love, happiness, and prosperity,

    • Katherine Swarts

      I've never met a job-search coach in ANY field who doesn't agree with you on the "numbers game" point, Stephanie. It's like entering a nationwide sweepstakes.
      My recent post Is Your Blog Making These 10 Common Mistakes

      • TiceWrites

        Well, there's an art to getting a response in those mass ads. I used to get quite a few. My tip: Target ONLY ads that mention something specific that you have great clips and experience in. You'll get a callback. But responding to all those general " you can write about any topic!" type ads I think is mostly a time waster.

  3. Karen

    I agree. Online job ads, on the whole, are a big, fat waste of time. And I used to waste plenty of time & energy on it. I do have to admit my longest term client is one I picked up from Craig's List, but it was one of those "diamonds in the rough" you mention. The rest of my clients have come from word of mouth, networking, or thru "closed" job listings, such as the American Independent Writers job market. With that said, one of my goals in 2011 is to do a better job marketing my business thru some of the effective methods you mention. Thanks for writing this blog – it's always the shot in the arm I need to stay motivated!

  4. Anne Wayman

    Hi Carol… well naturally I'd rather no one but me publish online ads 😉 And I'm up front about publishing them mostly as traffic bait. I do know from my email that folks do find gigs there and some even use those to launch a profitable freelance writing career. Others use the ads there to supplement income.

    The other thing I do is try to make sure the gigs I post are real freelance jobs – the kind that can be done at home in your pjs. My site is dedicated to freelancers so I try not to send them off chasing in-house jobs, although as you pointed out in our marketing seminar, sometimes those can be turned into freelance gigs.

    My recent post Freelance Writing Jobs For Wednesday- December 15- 2010

  5. lifespolitikin

    This is a tricky one. I have to say that I was exposed to paid online projects through online job ads, so the process just opened my eyes to the fact that making money online is possible. However, as you said, these gigs are very low paid, take too much time and the competition on these projects is very stiff.

    I've spent a lot of time crafting great (in my humble opinion 🙂 ) queries, sent the resume … and nothing. Is it me or the online job ad? For my motivational purposes, I'll say it's the job ad (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!). This is why I think building on real-human connections is best. BUT….if you're new to the field, it may be an o.k. place to start, it will give you an idea of what's out there, and in my opinion, is sort of a right of passage into the freelance writing business.

    I don't think you should add job ads on your site, they will only work as distractions to the great information you post. Thanks! — Ahlam

  6. Shirley

    You have just confirmed what I have long suspected.

    I work full time as a freelancer – mostly news stories and features- but occasionally when I’m having a slack day/week/month I troll through some of the job sites. I’ve followed up on one or two and received not so much as a “thanks but no thanks.”

    For me, crafting a well researched pitch or two and sending it to one of my regular markets seems a far better use of time but I can understand how someone new to the craft might be sorely tempted to chase these ads. You’ve performed a real service for them.


  7. Anita Cooper

    I'm ashamed to say that I've been among that group trolling the ads…
    It requires a shift in your mindset, from "employee" to "business owner" that can take some time, however I'm definitely working on it.

    I agree completely that it's a total waste of time, and that my time is better spent marketing my skills through networking and {gulp} cold calling, which is where I'm now directing my focus.

    Please, don't clutter your beautiful site with job postings…please just keep giving us the great info!

    Hope you had a great Hanukkah!

    • TiceWrites

      Thanks for the holiday wishes Anita!

      I don't think the ads are a TOTAL waste of time…but they are time-intensive, and even if they pay off, tend to not be the best possible clients. Niche job boards do get better results, though.

  8. laurieboris

    I'm guilty of trolling. (Sigh.) Ironically, though, I got my best client through a gig site. He saw a sample in my posted portfolio, and said, "I want YOU!" But I recognize this as a rarity. And thank you for not posting writer jobs on your site.

  9. Guest

    I think it is great that you don't have advertisements and agree that it would distract from your invaluable information. However, following the link you provided led me to the site where the first listing is for a content mill which you always say to run, not walk, from.

    • TiceWrites

      Sorry Alice — what link is that? Sounds like something needs fixing in my links! If you're talking about the link to Anne's job listings on About Freelance — yes, she has Suite101 as a sponsor. You can see her discussions about that, and about the writer feedback she's gotten from writers who find that a good option. Guess I'm trusting you have the sense to skip over that if it's not for you.

      We're all at different stages in our writing careers, and for some — especially moms with very young kids — getting a few mill clips can be their only real option. They just don't have marketing time right now.

      So you'll notice this post doesn't say "all online job ads should be abolished." I just think I don't need to run them on my blog.

  10. Lucy Smith

    I don't use job ads. I think I half-heartedly looked at them for a few months, but most of them were so vague about what they wanted that I hardly applied for any, and the ones I did apply for (that got a reply) usually asked for things like a 1200-word sample on a chosen topic – ha! – or, on one memorable occasion, my credit card details so I could download some very special video conferencing software – yeah right!

    Add that to the fact that I live in New Zealand and many jobs want US-based applicants only, and I won't send resumes to just any email address (they have a lot of personal information), I don't think that CL etc. are the right places for me to look. I do a lot of in-person networking instead.

    And besides, I'd rather do work for a client that has a contact list of freelancers, rather than having to advertise all the time. Shows they do things properly.
    My recent post <a href="http://www.butterflycopywriting.com/networking-vintage-clothes-shopping?utm_source=RSS+Feed&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Butterfly+Copywriting+Blog">Networking and vintage clothes shopping- I like ‘em both

    • Katherine Swarts

      I had a similar experience, Lucy. I inquired of a Craigslist ad that promised very lucrative (and VERY vaguely defined) writing work, and they sent me an "application" that asked for (among other identity-sensitive information) my mother's maiden name–and didn't even have a space for education and experience. And a Google search for the alleged sponsoring company revealed nothing but copies of the same ad on dozens of websites.

      Add me to the crowd that's become pretty soured on the whole idea of online job ads, particularly in the freelance writing field where there's so much chaff that the grains of wheat probably take three times as long to find as on full-time-job boards. I even asked LinkedIn Q&A if anyone knew of a freelance writing site that specialized in "living wage" ads; the virtually unanimous response was "no such thing."

      • TiceWrites

        Well, hopefully it goes without saying at this point that if a job ad is vague, you wanna run. I never respond to those.

        And that any ad that asks for free samples, makes you audition, or give personal information — run.

  11. Guest


    Yes, it was for suite 101. I didn't want to name anything myself. I am a mom with young kids and because of your inspiring posts I found a way around those sites to get my first clips. Function as if they aren't even an option and the creative opportunities can be found.

    Keep up the good work,


    • TiceWrites

      Alice — that's awesome! If you'd like to do a guest post and share your success story of how you moved into having your own paid clients, I'd love to hear from you. I think so many of my readers are in that exact spot, of wanting to move up from mills.

  12. Lee Lefton

    Carol, I would rather spend my time marketing myself through cold calling. It's real live people building relationships with each other that ultimately leads to work for me. Even if these folks don't have work at the moment, they often refer me to colleagues who do. Which helps me build my network.

    So I vote for no online ads on your blog.

    • TiceWrites

      Thanks Lee —

      I think the consensus is that people like that I'm not doing job ads…so that's the way it'll stay.


  1. JobEarner.com » Blog Archive » Why There are No Writer Job Ads on This Blog - [...] Here is the original post:  Why There are No Writer Job Ads on This Blog [...]

Related Posts

LinkedIn Round-Up

LinkedIn Round-Up

Successful freelancers use LinkedIn daily. After all, it's the only social media where it's socially acceptable to talk about work. In honor of our upcoming bootcamp, LinkedIn Profile Mastery, we wanted to give you a round-up of all our posts on the topic of LinkedIn....

9 Journalist Interview Tips from a Successful Freelance Writer

9 Journalist Interview Tips from a Successful Freelance Writer

Have you been struggling to interview sources for your freelance articles? Then these 9 interview tips are for you. These journalist interview tips will help boost your interviewing confidence and make you better prepared to take your freelance article to the next...