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Hidden Job Markets for People Who Love to Write

Sally is a business communications coach who gives workshops on how to keep your professional reputation squeaky-clean and drama-free.

Are you ready to retire your freelancing office on the go in favor of permanent, salaried work in an office?

Are you ready to retire your freelancing office on the go in favor of permanent, salaried work in an office?

Not everyone can make it as a freelance writer. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t cut out to be writers; they just need a different kind of employment arrangement. After all, it takes persistence to continually put yourself out there, send out query letters, get accepted (or rejected), and write new articles hoping that any out-of-pocket travel expenses will be recovered once the article is published.

Then there's the feast-or-famine nature of freelancing. Jobs and assignments could be piling up on your desk for weeks on end, keeping your finances in the black. A month or so later, all those lucrative writing assignments could dry up for a while until new contracts start appearing again.

Perhaps your life situation has changed and you’re ready to settle down into a more permanent employment situation that offers medical and dental benefits, paid vacations, sick leave and maternity leave. The good news is that there are permanent jobs available for writers.

The writing and publishing industry can be quite competitive and not everyone can make it. If you have ever wanted to know how to find writing jobs that might not have as much competition, seek out hidden job markets to gain an advantage. Here’s a sampling of some different publishers that often need permanent staff writers to keep their publications rolling off the presses. You could find yourself writing school textbooks, owner's manuals for cars, or a newsletter from the gas company.

Research Your Options in Today's Job Market for Writers

Put your research skills to good use by working for an educational publisher writing school textbooks.

Put your research skills to good use by working for an educational publisher writing school textbooks.

Educational publishers always need new authors. Educational publishers publish text books, workbooks, study guides and reference books for primary schools, middle schools and high schools. Some even publish text books for vocational schools and community colleges. If you have thorough research skills, a University degree in science, math or the liberal arts such as history, English literature, geography or the humanities, then you may be able to find full or part-time work writing school textbooks. On top of impeccable research skills and a strong attention to detail, you also need to know how to writing using plain language. You'll need to make sure that the language in each textbook your write is appropriate for the reading level of the intended audience.

Consider earning a living writing corporate and organizational communications. Corporations, national charities and community associations publish a wide array of documents: from brochures and newsletters to trade magazines and even full length books. Corporations constantly send out press releases, create product user manuals, and write ‘special advertising supplements’ which look like short articles inserted among a national magazine's regular features.

  • Health charities with a strong educational mandate are regularly publishing health guides, information brochures and patient and caregiver instruction pamphlets.
  • Community associations produce articles, magazines and booklets that provide a free benefit to the community; articles and publications may include information on environmental issues, crime prevention, urban planning, parks and recreation and public transit and traffic control concerns.
Someone had to write all those reference books at the library. That's a job market for writers that is hiding in plain sight!

Someone had to write all those reference books at the library. That's a job market for writers that is hiding in plain sight!

Use your research skills and write reference books. Reference books such as encyclopaedias, dictionaries and atlases require writers committed to doing a tremendous amount of research and fact checking. If you enjoyed seeking out detailed information for your freelance articles, you may enjoy writing for reference publishers.

Write for government publications. Every level of government publishes new material on a regular basis: service directories, public health advisories, disaster plans, legal documents, information booklets, court records and so on. Given the number of times the general public calls on the government for assistance and information, it's not surprising that governments are some of the most prolific publishers in the world.

What skills are required for most full-time writing jobs? The skills and aptitudes needed for the types of writing jobs discussed above include:

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  • Impeccable spelling, grammar and punctuation skills
  • A strong eye for detail
  • Ability to follow external or house style guides
  • Ability to take direction from senior managers, editorial teams and head writers
  • Able to meet or exceed deadlines
  • Ability to write in plain English, with an understanding of how to assess and address diverse reading comprehension levels
  • A commitment to doing detailed, accurate and defensible research
  • Strong ability to cite references and sources accurately
  • Technical writing skills (for some jobs)
  • Commitment to confidentiality
  • Understanding of copyright and plagiarism issues
  • Knowledge of basic layout and graphic design principles

How Much Can You Earn as a Writer?

Data from May 2013 on mean annual salaries for various writing and writing-related jobs. Figures may include both freelance and permanent salaried workers. Salaries may vary by region, educational level, etc.
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job TitleAverage Salary in US $

Technical Writers

$ 70,290


$ 66,160


$ 35,300

Newspaper, Periodical, Book and Directory Pubishers

$ 52,810

Advertising, Public Relations and Related Services

$ 77,780

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

$ 111,260

Charity Fundraisers

$ 56,270

Are you ready to find permanent employment as a writer?

  • Spend some time at the library reviewing government publications and find out how to contact the managing editors of those publications.
  • While you're at the library, visit the reference books section and find out the names and contact information for publishers of atlases, dictionaries and encyclopedias.
  • Find out where the nearest regional office of your favorite national health charity is and then visit them to read and gather a sampling of their most current publications.
  • Update your resume with an emphasis on your educational background and credentials, put a writing portfolio together and gather some references that you can use once you start landing job interviews. There are full-time, permanent writing jobs available if you are willing to put in the time and effort to look for them.

If writing full-time appeals to you, why not start looking into a career shift from being a freelance writer to full-time staff writer?

(Image credits: Pixabay)

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Sally Hayes


Mary Craig from New York on September 24, 2014:

I'm sure there are writers out there who will find this very useful. I found it interesting but have to admit at my age it isn't for me. Now, had I thought about this thirty years ago, maybe....

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

breakfastpop on September 23, 2014:

This is a very useful and informative article and I am voting it just that way!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 22, 2014:

Very well done with great information and references. Some day maybe I will follow this advice.

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