Monday, January 26, 2009

Just How Brutal the Job Market Is Right Now

I send out my resume, generally, 3-5 times each day. Sometimes double that.

Rarely do I receive responses...and I know this is not because I have a poor resume or insufficient experience. This is just because there are that many people responding for these jobs.

How many people? You might ask.

Consider this: early last Thursday morning, I sent a cover letter and resume for a freelance article writing gig. The ad had been posted around 7pm the night before. Last night I received an email asking for a writing sample on a specific topic. The email also mentioned that they received over 500 responses to their ad. They want to hire 4-5 writers, so that means 1% of the respondees will actually land the client.

This is what the freelance job market is like right now, and why I get ecstatic when I receive a response. It's rare to receive even a 'thank you for your response' or 'thanks for your interest but we chose someone else' email when you respond to online ads, unless it's an agency or FTE ad. In three months, I've received two of these emails, and both of those were in the last two weeks.

So, I wrote my mini-article last night and sent it off. I didn't want to wait until today, because I wanted it to be one of the earlier pieces they read so that it would have a higher chance of being read and remembered.

Today, I received an email asking for a formal online application, since I've passed the preliminary screening for another potential client. This, too, makes me ecstatic. It means that someone read my cover letter and read my resume. This is notable because I highly suspect that when a lot of resumes are received, the reviewer will find the first one that looks like it matches their needs and go with them. In fact, I sometimes suspect this is what happened with my first major client.

I was meant to have an interview with a potential client today (who during our phone chat said several times how "very impressed" he was with my resume), but he's ill and our meeting has to be postponed.

Freelancing is like this. You can send resumes so often that it seems like putting coins in a slot machine that never pays out, and then you become confused when you actually do receive a response (that has happened to me). Then, seemingly out of the blue people will start sending preliminary responses and then it really does appear that there is a glimmer of light and hope in the distance.

I'm not counting anything before it's happened, but I am starting to feel reassured that I can actually find quality freelancing work.

1 comment:

Saver in the City said...

Good luck! I would love to get into freelance writing, but it is precisely that uncertainty of when the next job will be that keeps me from making the leap. At least in my 9-to-5 job (or rather, 7:30-6pm job) I can depend on a paycheck every two weeks!