Authentic Job Sites for Newbie Writers

06 January 2011
Is work experience costly? You bet! It's the excuse that companies give when hiring newbie writers and paying them minimum wages. Of course, when the minimum wage is within the standards of Japan, Singapore or the United States, I'd zip my mouth and quit yacking. I wouldn't even dream of working from home....

writing classOne of my pet peeves is peanuts for pay. Peanuts are yummy, but hey, I can't live on them forever. Kidding aside, beggars can't be choosers, so as a newbie writer, I started with slave wages just like everybody else. I recall that the first abstracting project I took on gave me $0.25 for 250 words (P10). That was close to 10 years ago and it was for charity really. My best friend needed my help and she got it. (I don't know how today's writers are making ends meet with much less for more work. Good Lord!)

I did get my foot at the door with the help of a few resources. I'm going to list them here just so you know where you too can get started . Don't expect me to smatter around and drop names like "Get a Freelancer" and "Craig's List" -- all of which I heard nasty scam stories about and didn't bother checking out. These are the authentic sites that worked for me:

1. Istorya.Net - a great resource for all things Cebuano. You need to have a solid grasp of the dialect to make full use of the site though. Majority of the Istoryans hail from Cebu. The jobs board is definitely worth visiting.

  • From writing jobs to call center vacancies, you'll get the latest updates (and gossip) on the local job market. There are regular day jobs as well as positions that involve working from home.

  • The thread starter is most likely a forum member, so you can post your queries or contact the job poster via private messaging to get answers. Not surprisingly, the usual question involves the rates...

  • The pay generally sucks. On the average, most jobs offer $1.00 (P40 -- P50) for full-length original articles (about 500 words) with a 24-hour to 48-hour turnaround time. Rewriting pays even less. If it doesn't bother you to work for article farmers, then give Istorya jobs a try.

  • The site is NOT devoid of scammers. It actually pays to register as a member (free) so you can background-check the thread starter before responding to a bogus job posting.

Tip: With some caution, Istorya.Net is a great site to gain some experience with web content writing. I did some snooping about and came across a few members with fantastic online presence and convincing testimonials as article farmers... errr... outsourcers.... errr... employers: cyraxx, lejean and jackdi. Check them out!

2. Best Jobs Philippines - a meeting place for local and international employers and Filipino job seekers. Though not very popular with the local Cebuano crowd, the site is dedicated to let employers and employees find each other easily. 

  • The postings are categorized by geographic region and occupation, giving you a freehand in customizing your search.

  • Many of those looking for writers offer relatively better rates. (Case in point: I got my $110 short-term project through this site.) So, if you're good in negotiating, you can actually agree on the pricing.

  • In most cases, the complete employer details, contact address, job duties and salary information are posted. This translates to less research and less guesswork on the rates!

  • The competition's tougher as applicants whom you'll be rubbing elbows with are not just those from the Visayas, but also those from Luzon and Mindanao.

  • If you don't know how to navigate the site, you won't get what you want. Scour the "Arts, Media and Design" category for the most number of jobs that permit working from home.

  • The site is NOT devoid of scammers. There's no forum to warn you on which job posting is legit or not, and Google search may not turn up results if the errant employer uses a variety of aliases.

Tip: Landing a working from home opportunity at Best Jobs Philippines takes some effort. Don't just post your resume and wait for the employer to contact you. Initiate the correspondence yourself and contact the job poster directly.

3. Sun Star Daily - a local daily with an online version to boot. The Sunday edition sells like hotcakes to Cebu's job seekers because that's when volumes of job ads get lumped. You won't find the job postings in the site though, so be prepared to shell out some cash for the printed version.

Old school? Very. I won't delve into the details of paper-based application. It's slow and behind the times. Essentially, you'll find paid writing jobs that require you to go to a physical office and stay there from (gulp!) sun up till sun down (groan!). But then again, if experience is what you're after, I won't take it against you. In fact, my first "formal" work experience was a regular editing job that was advertised at Sun Star Daily.

On an end note, I'm itching to give unsolicited advice. If you're reading this blog, I gather you're a newbie. So please heed my words: These resources are meant to get your foot into the world of working from home. As they don't pay well, I don't advise sticking with the sites over the long term (which is a common mistake for many newbie writers). Learn as much as you can. Beef up your experience. Then, get ready to move on. Touche, baby!
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