How to Get Hired Without a Resume or Published Writing Samples

53
charlie byrne

Charlie Byrne, Barefoot Writer

By 2003, Charlie Byrne had spent well over a decade working in information services for Fortune 100 companies. He wanted to switch gears – move into writing. But he didn’t know where to start.

Around the same time, a friend turned him on to Early to Rise, a free email newsletter on productivity and entrepreneurship. A few weeks in, Charlie started commenting on articles, including one by Mark Ford about how new customers are the lifeblood of businesses.

Charlie wrote in about a deli in town that he estimated was turning away $10,000 in new business a year because of a strict policy against providing change for nearby parking meters.

Charlie’s post generated a lot of discussion. And caught the eye of someone else…

“Not long after that post, I opened up my email and there was a message from Mark Ford himself,” recalls Charlie. “It read: ‘Charlie, would you be interested in writing for us?’”

Charlie worked his way up from researcher to senior copywriter of ETR. Today, he writes copy for one of the most prestigious financial publishers in the Oxford Club division of Agora Publishing.

Other Agora divisions have a history of hiring the same way. The editorial director of Stansberry & Associates Investment Research got his start as a writer there after sending in emails to the publisher about their stock recommendations.

Agora is not alone.

Political site Daily Kos hires its bloggers almost exclusively from the ranks of commenters. Popular gossip site Gawker.com has also hired commenters – including one who mocked a traditional job posting for writers the editors had posted.

That’s what’s great about being a Barefoot Writer. Clients don’t need to see a resume to hire you. They don’t care how old you are, where you went to college (or even if you didn’t), how many positions you’ve held in the corporate world, or where you live.

As media commentator Alysia Santo said in the Columbia Journalism Review recently:

“A well-written and informative comment can serve as proof of a person’s interest in a site and its content—a sort of audition, allowing a person to try out their ideas on other people.”

In other words, they’re looking for great writers and this process makes the task of hiring quicker and easier for time-strapped publishers and editors.

And by commenting on blogs, posting on online forums, or sending emails directly to editors and publishers, you can sell yourself directly with your writing skill.

All they care about is the quality of your writing. Because they know great writing is what gets results, whether those are website visits, sales, donations, or whatever. You can sell yourself with your writing directly.

So next time you’re reading your favorite online publication, treat it like an audition.

Here are a few tips:

  • Offer constructive feedback.
  • Don’t ask outright for a job. It might take a few emails or comments or forum posts … but the publication will eventually seek out quality writers like you.
  • Get to know all you can about the publication and the issues it covers so your comments will be well-informed.
Share.

53 Comments

  1. Michelle Catharina on

    This sounds like a very interesting concept overall. I live on Vancouver Island in Canada. I would like to read more!

    • Jessamyn Butler on

      This article gives me hope! I’ve been writing my whole life; it would be marvelous to get paid for something I enjoy so much!

  2. Thank you for this wonderful article! I just discovered Barefoot Writers today and I am looking forward to learning how to write for a living. I’ve been aiming toward this for the past year, ever since I quit my job back in 2013, but have yet to find the courage to actually follow through and write! But this article offers the best advice which I had never considered before – commenting on articles and blogs. Now I will be spending some time this week going through my favorite websites and doing just that. And while I don’t expect any response from those websites, it will help me break the ice and get comfortable with my written voice. I look forward to perusing more of Barefoot Writers articles and learning from you.

  3. I’m would love to be unemployed to my friends for the rest of my life. They would never have to know what i do for money. I think I would love it. I started writing books a year ago and just put one on kindle direct publishing. This sounds way easyier. I’m glad I took the time to look at something I thought was a waste of time . I’m truly exited about learning more.

    • So glad to hear it! I’d say you’re more motivated than most of the writer-hopefuls out there if you’ve already published on KDP. Best of luck as you move forward with your writing goals!

      • Cathy Dupertuis on

        I have written a book and have had interest from a company called Page Publishing. They are asking me to pay a lot of money up front to publish and edit my book. I would love to find a source to send my book to that would give me constructive criticism. The only thing I have ever had published was a poem. I would like to know how to take the next step. Any suggestions?

        • If you want constructive feedback find a writer group. There are many groups across the country and often they arise from similar intersts at free gatherings at public libraries. If you aren’t close to an area where you would find such a group I know there are virtual groups growing today as well. These groups are great because you get to know one another as writers and you develop a relationship that can help you take the best advantage of constructive criticism.

          • Marie Squeeze on

            I agree about joining a writer’s group. When my kids were small it was a creative outlet. Writing pushed me to read more, which led me to research things that made me curious, which drove me around the vicious cycle to write more. Make sense?

        • Check into Amazon they help you get the book distributed on their website and charge a minimum amount of money per book. You will make more money there than anywhere else and they are widely known. You just have to write it as an ebook. That seems to be the way to go these days. Check them out.
          I am almost ready to do that myself. Researching a review of a new book so I can write how I feel about the subjects presentation. Haven’t written it yet, but thats coming soon.

          • Yes, I published both my books with Create Space and then, Amazon displays and sells it for me. Have not done Kindle yet. This was virtually free to do.
            Am excited to get started in copy writing. It is right up my ally! Want to work when I want and travel.

            Thank you for bringing this opportunity to light for me.

        • The next step should be considering your options and determining the direction you would like your writing career to head. Paying to be published is often considered Vanity Publishing. While some people can afford to do so, it does not make you a credible author. Sure there are exceptions to every rule, but consider why there is a several billion dollar industry in place to handle purchasing, printing, and selling manuscripts. Just like school, the best way to graduate is to attend. Take part in a writer’s group. Read comparable author’s blogs and look at their FAQs. Get involved in other types of writing and hone your craft. Hope this helps some, and remember to keep a thick skin.

          • Hi Daphne, i have started a Biography of my life’s journey , titled From the Valley to the Mountain Top. Would you mind looking at what I have written so far and give me your honest opinion. It is a story, of love, pain, grief, denial and finally victory., a story of my life, faith and love of family , now no matter how hard the journey there is always light at the end .

            Thank you,

        • Devon, what is your interest in love? Love is very broad. Love of…what? Ask yourself what about love? Write your answers down. Keep doing it until you can not find any more answers to that particular question. Let us know how that goes for you. I hope you will put the time into this . Believe in self and you can achieve. Hope that will spring forth confidence to start . Have a good day Devon.

      • Mindy. I’m looking forward to becoming a Copywriter! I do hope to meet you in person to thank you, because it was your email that got me interested!! Terry Burns

  4. I personally have thought life to be more about the quality of the ventures you invest yourself in. I could go out and comment on everything under the sun to put myself out there… or I could invest my time in topics or areas I’m already interested in and comment only when I feel it necessary to do so.

    As writers it’s our job to convey ideas and concepts using the least amount of words. Simple writing is elegant and stands on its own, breathing life into the image that is created or awareness into knowledge that is shared. Comments are an ideal conduit for a writer to demonstrate this ability.

    Happy commenting everyone ☺

    • Eloquently put. Thanks for your beautiful reminder to make every moment one of quality. One we can look back on and feel good about. This way of living is worth the effort and the fruit of our labor will provide exquisitely.

    • Well, Phil, it is almost a year since you wrote this comment, and, as a Barefoot Writer newbie, I have just now found it. I agree totally with your commentary, even to the word choices, and I think I will follow the comment conduit to success.

    • Jessamyn Butler on

      I completely agree with you. It is not Quantity, but Quality that counts. It is similar to conversation for me, an autistic with a writer’s voice, in that I find most people (speaking or writing) talk or preach AT me in a long-winded manner. My preference is straight and to-the-point, “just the facts, ma’am!” The fewer the words, the easier it is for readers to build a picture in their heads of what one is portraying. Ta for now!

  5. Sheila Clevenger on

    I just started the “Barefoot Writing Program,” this morning and am desperately trying to read any and all articles to be able to hit the ground running. Thank you so much for this opportunity.

    • Mindy McHorse on

      So glad to hear it, Sheila! Welcome, and please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you as you move forward with your writing goals.

    • Good Day to you Sheila, welcome aboard Barefoot Writer. My name is Viola and I am a member of AWAI’s Barefoot Writer. I can resonate with you about the desperation in reading and learning the how to of writing. Learning anything that is new requires patience with ones self. Once you obtain the patience with self then and only then will the confidence to continue become more real to you. I am gaining in confidence to submit several articles on various subjects to publishers, etc. I gained in confidence by reading the articles on writing like this one in the Barefoot Writing Program. So, don’t despair just keep moving forward and the win will be yours. I hope this will help you in some way for that is my goal to be helpful and not hurtful. Hope your day goes well.
      Viola

      Sincerely,
      Viola

  6. Jose Gutierrez on

    My heart is pounding as I read these articles and I feel a bunch of creative ideas come to my mind as I continue reading. Writing is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, I actually started a few years ago but never got to finish. Sometimes I just grab a pad and pen start writing, because I feel if I don’t I might explode, there’s so much going on inside of me and I have this urge to express it. This may very well be the sign I’ve been praying for…I like it!

  7. After such a great post I expected to see hundreds of comments by readers following your wise advice. I would be remiss if I failed to comment. Thank you for sharing this with us, your readers. This may be the beginning of something big and exciting for those who heed your advice. Happy writing!

  8. Orlaunder Knox on

    I just order the program and Im so hiped and ready to get started; but Im reading so much information I can’t consentrate on my own Job; because my eye’s are filled with more info then I need; but this helps a lot. Still reading.

  9. dingigreton chimkhuzi on

    writing has been my life time dream ever! In two years i have written 3 books but the local publishing companies are demanding alot from my pocket. All have to do was to keep my manuscrips rotting and find a better publisher…

    • Mindy McHorse on

      Well, you’re in the right place! Congrats on getting three books done – that’s further than a lot of writer-hopefuls ever get. We’ll do our best to help you take them all the way to publication!

  10. Hello there, I believe your web site could possibly be
    having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your
    blog in Safari, it looks fine but when oening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.
    I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!

    Apart from that, excellent blog!

  11. Thanks so much for such wonderful advice!! I was wondering if someone could please tell me how do I find someone to write headlines, or e-newsletters for? In other words, how & where do I find someone to “write for”?
    Thanks again;
    Cindy Burns

  12. Karen Simmons on

    Hi. I have been writing for years,even as a child when I would write poetry and short stories,whether it was for school,or to just pass the time away,it has always been aspiring passion and dream to be a writer. Now I am finally taken steps to make my dream come true! I have even written three Children’s books(still unpublished d/t lack of funds), but I know I will get there soon. I am very excited about all the new information and so appreciative of all the support given by all the staff and writer’s here! Thank you again!
    Karen Simmons

  13. This is very useful and valuable information, especially for people like me, who don’t consider themselves as being a writer. Making yourself more familiar with something you’re already interested in makes it even more alluring and allows you to voice some ideas of your own.
    Businesses & publications want to hear what the pubic thinks … or their wouldn’t be so many surveys out there!! Still, with this information, I think I can step up to the challenge and just get out there and dive in with both feet! Thanks for the vote of confidence of not having to rewrite a NEW Resume….just to get a job…!!

  14. This article was one that I came across from reading another one from Facebook. It is good to know that you can get a writing job without a portfolio or anything else that shows your experience in writing. I spent a lot of time writing my early years before college and hope to start again. I must say that if I had known that there were ways of making a living writing then maybe I would be successful by now. Researching all my possibilities to succeed as a writer, which is one thing that is my passion.

  15. I consider myself an optimist; however, I may need to reconsider. Is it possible to obtain a writing career that easy? I don’t doubt that it is possible, but I do have doubts about the likelihood. As a future psychologist, I tend to use my metacognitive skills to the extreme. Do I overthink things? Is it good to be a critical thinker? What about a critical writer? I need balance! I don’t want to waste my time or my words responding to the wrong articles. I guess I will pick and choose wisely, believing that the right word at the right time could change my life. I know I have a lot of wisdom to offer, but I don’t want to “cast my pearls to the swine.” By swine, I simply mean SCAM artists. Who knows? At least my writing skills will improve.

  16. Im novice and yet aggressive to dive headlong unto the craft. thanks for the wealth of advice and encouragement. I’m building and budding at the same time. coming uncorked at how deliciously complicated it all is. it like a big picture puzzle of myself and I”
    m not sure what I will look like when its done. Nothing , I’m sure, like I do now

  17. Thank you for showing me how valid my thoughts are. I’m starting a nightlife blog to obtain a following and drive patrons to my comedy show held once a month. The first step is to creatively write about an event.
    On a side note, Mama always said “You don’t get nothing without asking.” So can I write for you?
    -Robin 😉

  18. Hi there and thank you! I am a novice to Barefoot Writer, having just signed up to your e-resources and am already feeling how possible it is to create quality writing. I love engaging content, both visual in the way of images and in word pictures, puzzles, unwrapping thoughts. There is much to learn!

  19. I enjoyed reading your article. My comment is directed to the commenters.
    When commenting, be sure to proofread and edit your comments before posting. I realize this site is targeted at fledgling writers, but some of the grammar, word usage and spelling found in some comments is atrocious. You don’t need to pay an editor to check your comments, but do take the extra time to read and re-read your work. Responses with egregious grammatical errors and incorrect word usage do not appeal to those who are looking for writers. Take as much care with your daily commenting as you would on a resume. Your first impression should be flawless, at least in the basics.

    Here’s a couple of tips…
    1. Type up your comments in a simple Notepad text file. Go over it with a fine-toothed comb before copy/pasting it into the online response form. You won’t have to keep refreshing the page to make edits.
    2. Fill out the contact information LAST to avoid sending half written material. This is also helpful for email correspondence. Fill and check the addresses last.

  20. Great inspiration comes not from reading how to do something but reading about how someone else succeeded. For me, that means coming here to the Barefoot Writer, and reading tales of success from other writers whom I’ve met along the way.

    It’s easy to say: Submit articles, spec assignments, send emails to marketers… but it’s a long hard road when one isn’t familiar with the landmarks along the way. Touching base here with fellow writers and friends from AWAI keeps the dream alive. Adding tangible workable steps to my roadmap towards excellence makes it all real.

    Thank you for sharing your insights.

    • Although I agree with part of what you’re saying, I am getting tired of the endless testamonials and am ready to hit the ground running. At this point I am ready for someone to tell me how I can get started. I am not able to find the job board I initially read about. What I am also being bombarded with are endless emails from AWAI, offering me yet more classes and courses before getting started, all if cost for an exorbitant amount. Can someone tell me where I can actually find a paying writing job. I am very interested in travel writing, having been a tour operator in the past. Thank you for any help in starting on this new venture.

  21. Jacqueline Smith on

    Good morning everyone, I’m new to this but reading your comments it sounds promising. I haven’t written any books tho thought about doing one on my life, it’s a mixture life’s highs n lows, good/bad, but because I have been through nearly every situation I can relate to anybody. My life in New Zealand and my mid life crisis I guess, leave job and fly to Australia, don’t know anybody but backpacked around Australia alone, so any Travel agencies I can help with a great story, look up Oonadatta Track, I walked it n lived lol. I have a family of blackbirds that I feed outside my window so any Bird lovers, I have good footage of them frolicking in birdbath.
    Looking forward to seeing if I can really make some money…

    • Li Vasquez-Noone on

      Hi Jacqueline, there are a lot of ways to make money as a writer. Probably the hardest part is to pick which one to pursue. Let us know if we can help with anything, and good luck with your writing goals!

  22. Hi. I’m old. I’m young. I’m every thing in between.
    As a child, I was inspired by the Nancy Drew Book Series.
    How cool was she? Green and yellow book covers
    that kept me hungry to see the next title, the next
    investigation, and the next plot line. Reading the
    actual story was a bonus. It didn’t matter, I was her
    co-pilot regardless if I knew what was going on.

    Now, in my early 50’s, I am still inspired to both read
    and write about the mysteries of life. I have so much to say!!
    So much to investigate and so much to continually learn.

    I would like to join the Barefoot Writers Club to explore
    the writing world in the same way Nancy Drew explored
    mysteries. What a mystery the writing world is today,
    with so many opportunities provided by the internet!

    The young me, wants to just dive in head first. The old
    old school me,wants some proof of a legitimate
    support group that is not just looking for an
    annual fee. I love the high fives, the meeting in person
    when its possible, the skype talks, the email support
    and good old fashion shoulders to give and lean on.

    I know I can write, I know I need support and I know
    that focus and determination are the prerequisites
    to a writing career.
    The pit in my stomach is fear. Fear about joining
    this club that looks like so much fun, so supportive
    and inspiring. The name itself, packs so much punch.

    And yet, I see those awful reviews that barefoot
    writing is a scam. That they do not deliver what
    they say they are going to.

    Tell me, its not true. Call me. Tell me to join the
    21 st century and get over it. There is always going
    to be negative press on the internet. Tell me your
    thrilled with the barefoot writers club and how it
    got you the support, the gig or the connections
    you were looking for. If I join, I promise to give
    back, support others, give high fives, and leads
    for good writing gigs.

    As some singer lamented ( can’t remember the
    song writers name at the moment )

    “Tell me it isn’t true…..” lalalalala

    Thank you ahead of time.

    • Hi Sandra,
      I found The Barefoot Writer earlier this year and I became a member. Simply because I love to write anything and everything. I am actively seeking my writing path. There is so much out there in this little known world of writers. The opportunities are endless. I am here to tell you that in my experience so far with Barefoot Writer, they do have an ongoing collage of information to steer you in any direction you want to go. They provide resources and have many ways to reach out and mix with likeminded people such as yourself. As far as a list of jobs to pursue…ehh ..it’s more like writing opportunities and if your writing makes the list, you could very well see your name published out there. I say go for it. (Wink wink) Although I have yet to find my niche, it’s only because there is so much to be had through them. I wish I could do it all and then some. It’s just a matter of time for me and I am absolutely happy to be a member. It’s definitely worth it. I can tell you without a doubt that you will be pleased. With a little funny on the side here…they probably don’t have a clue who I am or that I’m even a member, but do check them out. If you are serious about your writing, they will be serious about you. Happy writing! 😉

  23. I am also wondering how to find a list of the people that want newsletters written for them. I know how to write and have plenty of followers on marilynfriesen.blogspot.com but think it would be fun and profitable to get paid for writing newsletters.

  24. I found this to be interesting. I often send letters to the editors of my local papers stating my concerns about the USA. The main concern is for the children of this nation who will inherit the adults possible mistakes and errors of judgement.

  25. Jane Shafrin on

    Hi,
    Would it be possible to see a list of sites where I could leave comments other than the next door app used by my neighbors? I really doubt it would be worthwhile to comment on someone’s search for a babysitter. I know you mentioned a couple in this article, they will be overwhelmed with commenters just like a restaurant that gets a good review. Also it would help if I could find a publication in the areas I am interested in. Thanks!

Leave A Reply

Discover 9 Ways You Can Make
a VERY Good Living as a Writer!

We'll instantly deliver this FREE Guide to Barefoot Writer Living …

PLUS receive our FREE Newsletter The Writer's Life packed with expert advice on how to make a great living as a writer.

Get paid to write and build the freedom-filled life you’ve always wanted.