Writing tips for n00bs: Get a job!

Back when I was finishing up my writing degree and looking to land a nice “writing job,” I found myself a bit confused about where a writer might seek out these kinds of dream jobs. After all, everyone knows classified ads are dead and Craigslist is full of scammers and spammers. So where do the pros go when they’re looking for legitimate writing jobs?

Here’s what I learned from my J-school pals, who were infinitely more practically trained than I was in terms of searching out legit writing jobs:

  1. JournalismJobs.com – The go-to website for journalists looking for work, whether it’s in print, online or broadcast media. Find a job, post your résumé, or catch up on the latest media news. Just be wary of the Demand Studios ads and other content mill crap that seems to come up at every writing job board and you’ll be fine.
  2. JeffGaulin.com – At first glance, this site’s URL doesn’t seem particularly like it would help the media job-seeker, but if you’re Canadian, you’ll definitely want to give it a whirl. Gaulin is a Canadian journalist with an assortment of degrees, as well as experience in the field, and first started the job board in 1995 to help his fellow J-school classmates find work. Now the board’s a phenomenon; hit it for good quality full- and part-time jobs or to post your CV.
  3. MediaBistro.com – Aimed primarily at U.S. journalists, but also featuring perks for the freelancers of the world, MediaBistro has a pretty decent job board that can be sifted by industry, location, duration (FT/PT/freelance) or featured employers, which are typically the big boys like the NYT, Dow Jones and (unfortunately) Suite101. Steer clear of the content mills, as always, and hone in on the skills you’ve got to pay those bills. As an added bonus, you can purchase an AvantGuild membership, which offers special insights about breaking into those top-tier mags through their How To Pitch guides, as well as discounts on their online course offerings and other freelancer goodies (like health insurance).

Aside from those top 3 sites, you should also check the Berkeley School of Journalism’s excellent list of journalism job banks to see if any particularly fit your needs. They’ve got everything from general sites (including my top three) to freelance-specific to radio, TV and the ever-dwindling print media, plus a section for “new media” (i.e. web writing and multimedia).

You can still cruise the Craigslist writing section for your city (and any others with bigger listings, like NYC, LA and even Chicago), as there are occasionally some good jobs listed there, particularly for freelancers looking for new gigs. Of course, some of the best places to find new (and perhaps previously overlooked) markets to try, plus a regular source of job listings are Angela Hoy’s WritersWeekly.com and Hope Clark’s FundsForWriters.com. Sign up on their respective sites to get both of them delivered straight to your inbox on a weekly basis, with WW on Wednesdays and FFW on Fridays. Throw in a dose of FFW’s Small Markets for listings from the smaller markets that will get you some of your first published clips and you’re rolling.

What about you? Have you found any great job boards or e-newsletters with helpful tips, tricks or writing gigs? Feel free to share in the comments section; it’s good karma, you know.


  • CT Moore

    I think a career opportunity that most aspiring writers overlook are marketing agencies. Ad agencies always need writers to write, well, ad copy, and digital agencies always need writers to write web/blog copy and who know the web. If I’d known that coming out of college, my career would’ve shaped up very differently.

  • Laura Roberts

    Good point, CT. My only experience with an ad agency was rather negative, in that they wanted me to be “on-call” all the time, but wouldn’t actually guarantee any work, which didn’t seem terribly helpful to my bank account, but I’d suspect if you had a full-time gig at an actual agency (rather than working from home in your underwear), you could do pretty darn well for yourself.