How to Get Hired! 5 Things Clients Look For …

Graphic of chalkboard with the number five and five pencils

Put together great writing samples, and you’ll land great projects …


It’s a start!

When looking to hire a writer, clients inevitably will ask to see samples of your work …

Those samples demonstrate your ability to string words together … possibly your understanding of your niche … how well you present solutions … or how persuasive you are at getting readers to take action.

But that’s only the first step …

When it comes to deciding whether or not to hire you, clients are going to look at other factors too …

And those non-writing traits can mean the difference between whether or not you land a client. But even more importantly, they have a huge influence over how much repeat business you get.

In my 20 years in this industry, I’ve hired (and still hire!) a lot of writers, as well as help other companies find the ideal writer for their writing projects.

And today, I want to share five traits I look for when determining if someone might be a “good hire.”

These are traits you can cultivate that will make it easy for your clients to come back to you again and again. And give you a competitive advantage over other writers in your niche.

Get Hired Tip #1: Be Enthusiastic

Now, I’m not talking about “cheerleader” enthusiasm here …

But a genuine enthusiasm for what the company does, its audience, and the solutions it provides.

If you can demonstrate a desire to learn more about what your client does, his goals, and what’s been done in the past — as well as the results — you’ll stand out from any other candidates.

Get Hired Tip #2: Ask (the Right) Questions

Clients love hiring writers who are curious … it’s a trait many clients look for specifically when hiring a new writer. And even if they’re not “looking” for it, they will naturally be drawn to a writer who demonstrates it.

Good writers always want to dig deeper …

They want to find that “golden nugget” that can make their copy or content stand out.

That being said, there are a few caveats when it comes to asking questions …

You want to ask questions that can’t be easily found if you’d do basic research. Don’t make the potential client have to do a lot of extra work to continue the process with you.

The key is to ask questions that demonstrate your curiosity … not seem like someone who is going to be a challenge to work with.

Get Hired Tip #3: Offer New Ideas and Copy Suggestions

I always tell writers to be an idea machine, and don’t worry about someone “stealing” your ideas. (In all my 20 years, I’ve rarely seen that happen.)

As a writer, you want to be seen as a valuable asset … someone full of new ideas that can transform the client’s copy and content and impact the bottom line in a big way.

Just remember, it’s not about the client accepting all of your ideas …

Sometimes an idea can spark another idea, or with a slight twist can become an even stronger idea. So be open to input from potential clients. And don’t fear the word “no” …

When you keep presenting new ideas … you’ll eventually hear a “yes!”

Get Hired Tip #4: Receive Feedback and Effectively Implement

This one comes in to play more after you get the job … but it’s also important early on when developing relationships with clients …

If you put forward an idea or a proposal, and the client gives you feedback on how to revise it, be sure to do it.

This is a great opportunity for the client to see how it will be when you’re actually working on copy or content together.

Get Hired Tip #5: Be a Professional

This one may seem obvious …

But I can’t give you a “how to get hired” list without including it. You could have great samples, a perfect website, a strong marketing message, and a standout LinkedIn profile … and yet still lose the deal all because of an unprofessional misstep.

So, here’s my quick checklist of a professional copywriter:

  • Respect the client’s time. Your clients are busy marketers and business owners. Don’t make them work harder in order to work with you.
  • Keep all communication clear and focused. Ensure they can quickly grasp what you need, and easily send you the response you want/need.
  • Deliver error-free copy. If possible, have someone else review your website, samples, and correspondence. Otherwise, try reading it from the bottom up to catch typos.
  • Meet ALL deadlines. If you say you’ll have a proposal in by Thursday, make sure it’s in by Thursday. This is the client’s first glimpse into what working with you might be like.
  • Follow all specifications/instructions. If they say put Bosco in the subject line, put Bosco in the subject line. Again, it’s an insight into what it will be like to work with you — and whether or not you have attention to detail.

So, there you have it …

Five things you can do to improve your chances of getting hired.

Show prospective clients you are not only skilled — you’re also the writer who will make their job, and life, easier.

Now get out there and land some clients!

Do you have any questions about getting clients? Please share with us in the comments below so we can help.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: February 21, 2018

1 Response to “How to Get Hired! 5 Things Clients Look For…”

  1. Great advice, Rebecca. A little respect and professionalism go a long way.

    Cheryl McDaniel

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