Even as the virtual ink was still drying on my last assignment, I was beginning to wonder what was next. I knew that I wanted to work as a writer, in whatever capacity I could find. And I knew that it was time to start getting active online if I wanted to actually find work, and market myself to the employers offering it.
I settled on freelance writing, as I already had plans to move to Lancaster and study for an MA, and wanted to find work that would fit around my study schedule. Freelance writing is also great for undergraduates, because you can take assignments when it suits you, and work them around your lifestyle. Here’s my experience of using social media to land those much sought after writing jobs.
Stage One: Blogging
I’d already been running a literature-themed blog, but my posts had gradually become more and more spaced out as I found myself struggling to find the time to fill it. When I decided to get serious about my hunt for writing work, I also got serious about getting that blog into shape. This didn’t just mean rustling up a bunch of new content, and setting a schedule for when it should be posted, but also revamping the theme and designing a new header.
If you haven’t had any writing published in the past then blog posts are an ideal way to prove to potential employers that you can deliver high quality content. Regular posts and a fresh, attractive theme also prove that you’re dedicated, and that you know your audience.
Stage Two: Setting up a Portfolio
Although the blog was a great starting point for showing work to potential employers it was strongly literary themed, and I could only post content that was relevant. This limited the breadth of work that I could showcase. Online advice suggested that I set up a portfolio, and there were a number of sites dedicated to helping do just that. These are aimed at a number of creative disciplines; Deviant Art, for instance, enables artists to create portfolios, while clippings.com is aimed at journalists and writers.
However, as I wanted to control the design of my portfolio I opted to create my portfolio as a WordPress blog. To do this, I set up a blog titled “Cleo Chalk Portfolio”. Then, instead of creating posts with the work that I wanted to display, I made each item into an individual page. This included excerpts from academic work, short fiction, and blog posts.
Stage Three: Social Networking
Like almost all of my peers, I was already using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter on an almost daily basis. However, this was primarily social use – it was time to start networking professionally. I launched twitter and Facebook profiles for my blogs, which enabled me to network with other bloggers and write a couple of guest posts, boosting my experience.
More importantly, I got hunting for potential employers, and responded to adverts for writing work with links to my blog and portfolio. A Facebook advert from Chily Digital landed me with regular blogging work, and a chance to get my work online for the first time. After several more applications, DJ Knight saw my portfolio and hired me for weekly blogging work – exactly the sort of writing job that I was after!