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Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Writer

When you need a quality writer that will do exactly what you’re asking for, you may think it’s a simple task. But in reality, there are millions of writers around the world, and choosing the right one for your project could be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

The job can certainly be made easier if you’re using a freelance site to find writers, as these types of sites offer much in the way of tools you can use to communicate with prospective writers. But there are still several important questions to ask your would-be freelancer that can help make which writer to choose a much less stressful experience.

Ask Yourself First

The most important question to ask is what you need your writer to do for you. Does the project require design in addition to writing, or technical skills that not all writers possess? If so, these are important items to list in your project description. If not listed, much confusion on both sides could result if expectations aren’t clearly outlined prior to project start.

Communication

Working virtually means that more communication may be needed than if you were working with your writer in person. So ask your writer how they plan to communicate with you, and how often. If the writer’s plan is to only communicate once or twice per week and you don’t feel this is enough, ask them if they would be able to communicate with you more often. If they refuse to do so, this writer may not be the right one for your project.

In addition to the frequency of communication, enquire about how many modes of communication are available to the writer. For example, in addition to email, a writer may have access to voice or web cam chat. Knowing all of the types of communication they have available can allow for more productive conversation in the event you find one type isn’t getting your message across in the manner you desire.

Who Is The Real Writer?

While this question may seem like a no-brainer, it’s important to be aware that there are teams of freelance writers who may work on one project together, and then split the payment between them. This could mean that your project contains different writing styles, something that may not be desirable to you. If you prefer the style of one writer, then knowing beforehand who will be doing the work can help you avoid mistakenly hiring a team of writers.

Payment

Find out how your prospective writer expects to be paid. Freelance writers often have their own payment terms. If you find a writer whose style you like, but whose payment terms could be better, ask them if they would be willing to alter their terms slightly for your project. And don’t be surprised if you get asked by your prospective writer to slightly alter your terms. Being able to come to an agreement in a logical and civil way is crucial if you plan to hire a writer long-term.

Track Record

If your writer is an experienced one, they will have a portfolio of their previous writing projects. Looking at these will not only allow you to assess the industries they have written for in the past, but you may also be able to get information about what their other clients thought of their work. Some freelance sites offer statistics about each writer, including comments from their other clients and ratings for their work. All of this information can give you a good overall picture of what your writer may be able to accomplish for you.

Citations:

Guest author Ruth Suelemente is a seasoned freelancer, and has hired several for her company.  They generally focus on technology topics such as who the best internet providers are available in Houston.

 

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Building a Professional Portfolio

Many professions require a portfolio of previous work in order to get the position. When you send a portfolio to an employer, you are basically packaging yourself up in a binder and sending yourself to analyzed and judged. If your potential employer doesn’t like the packaged up version of you, they aren’t going to be likely to give you a chance in the interviewing office. Applicants can talk and talk about how good they think they are, but it takes a portfolio to back up words with evidence.

Here are a few ideas for making yourself more appealing to your dream employer.

Have a backup copy

You never know when you’re going to get your portfolio back. Never send out your only copy of all of your work. Have at least one (if not several) backups just in case the worst case scenario becomes reality.

Go digital

Make sure that you have digital copies of everything that you hope to use in your resume. This goes to the backup copy policy. This may mean scanning documents into your computer. Our world is experiencing a dramatic digital trend. Some people predict that within 10 years we will have become a virtually paperless society. Keeping your portfolio up-to-date is a good way of ensuring that you yourself stay up-to-date with current trends.

Keep a copy of everything

Make sure that you make a copy of everything you produce for college and each of your jobs. This is especially important in college. You never know when that article you write for your sophomore English class will turn into a portfolio piece. Don’t be afraid to keep editing and improving upon projects that you’ve already completed.

Get permission

The work that you do as a paid employee of a company or other organization legally belongs to them. Be sure that you get permission (preferably in writing) prior to using any materials that may contain sensitive information.

Clearly identify portfolio pieces

Make sure that with each portfolio piece, you explain the context within which it was used. Your role in each piece should also be clear. For example, in a brochure, you should explain who you made it for, the need that it was addressing, and your part in its creation—did you take the pictures, write the text, design the layout or do it all?

Proofread

Very little is more embarrassing than a typo in a portfolio. If you can’t get your spelling right in the piece upon which your employment hinges, then how can an employer expect you to get your job right several months into the job after it becomes a boring routine?

About the Writer

Stephen Sharpe has worked as a web writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com for almost a year. My Colleges and Careers is a career and college database with information about the best online colleges.

 

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