Technical Writing – Downside of Some Online Job-Bidding Sites For Technical Writers

This is what I personally think about some of the Online Job-Bidding Sites out there that offer “writing opportunities” for budgets mostly as low as $35 or $50 dollars, and going up to $250 for some gigs:

The kind of

that I recommend to my readers will be difficult to build with those kind of writing assignments that I see posted every day on such job-bidding sites.

If, for example, you need to be employed as a copy writer with an advertisement agency (what I call a “serious” copy writing position), you really need to produce a few marketing campaigns, write a few print and TV ads, a few online marketing web sites; all the kind of assignments that you cannot deliver (and would never be asked from you) for only $35 or $50 dollars.

Or if, let’s say, you’re trying to build a portfolio as a hi-tech technical writer… Then you need to have produced a bona-fide user guide, a system administration or installation guide, a few release notes, in short, something that proves your credentials as a mainstream technical writer. Press releases, a few office letters, 100-word web articles, that is, the kind of jobs that are mostly advertised for on such job-bidding sites, won’t cut it as a technical communication portfolio.

That’s why I think you’d be much better off spending the time to develop a portfolio that would really count when you apply for a position that really matters. That’s my honest personal opinion.

: “Do I want to work for a whole year, bidding for one $50 gig after another, and end up making perhaps $10,000 total, if lucky? Or, do I want to build up a serious portfolio and go for a job that would pay anywhere from 3 to 10 times as much, with benefits?”

In other words: what is the monetary value of your one hour, one month, and one year? Who knows, depending on your answer, these freelancer sites may indeed turn out to be worth your while. But only you can determine that for yourself.

If you answer that question truthfully and make your decisions on the basis of that answer, I believe you can build your career along more productive and satisfactory paths.