4 Red Flags that Writing Job Ad is a Scam

  • Sumo

4 Red Flags that Writing Job Ad is a ScamScammers are out in full force this time of year. Not one, but two writer friends sent me messages this week telling of writing job ads that lead to nowhere.

No projects. No pay. No follow-up communication.

I feel their pain. They’re both looking to get more writing work, but wading through the job boards can be a tedious task until you’ve built up a roster of repeat clients.

As you browse writing job ads, watch for these phrases. They might just be a warning that you need to keep on scrolling.

“Send us two original writing samples!”

If the ad is requesting new, unpublished content, be wary. The job poster is probably looking to get some free text to post on their website, or sell somewhere else.

Most legitimate writing job ads will ask for links to published writing samples. If you’re just starting out, these can be from a personal blog, LinkedIn or a community writing website.

However, I have applied for some projects that require a fresh sample with very specific parameters, including a supplied topic, writing guidelines and often a tight deadline. These samples are paid and then, if they meet the client’s guidelines, eventually published.

“Good writer apply here in this form!”

I’m not sure that I’d want to apply or interview to write for a company that posts a poorly worded job ad.

Add to that a posted pay rate that seems too good to be true, and you’re likely looking at a scammer trying to get personal information from unsuspecting people. Just walk away.

“Send your application to applynow@writingjob.com.”

People hire people. If the writing job ad doesn’t mention a contact person affiliated with a business, it might be a scam.

Most real ads will name the hiring manager, editor, publisher or even an office contact person who is in charge of collecting applications. Many will also post links to the company’s website so you can learn more.

Even if a name isn’t listed in the ad, look at the contact email address. It probably reflects someone’s name that you can find on the company’s website.

“Please remit $20 to process your application.”

Nope. No writing job will ever ask you to pay to apply. Ever. Never share your bank account information or credit card number on a job application.

Take note: Writing contests often ask for entry fees, so read the listing carefully. Is it a contest? Can you find documentation of past contests they’ve hosted? Is a contest what you’re seeking?

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