Too Junior, My Aunt Fanny!

Many freelancers realize at some point that freelancing just isn’t for them and they’d rather “go corporate.” No harm, no foul, right? Maybe not.

I have reached an interesting point in my career where finding a permanent job is getting to be extremely difficult, and it’s not solely because of the economy. Instead, I’m talking about my level of experience, or lack thereof, according to certain potential employers.

Case study #1: I had an amazing phone interview with a company that manufactures bath products. In fact, the hiring manager and I hit it off so well that she immediately invited me to come in for a face-to-face interview. I met with the entire team for a total of three hours and was sure that I had nailed it. Nope. Instead, I got a call from the recruiter the next day saying that they had decided to pursue other candidates because the team was “concerned about my lack of retail experience.” Apparently, while I can sell the beejeezus out of antidepressants and cancer drugs, I’m not qualified to sell lotion.

Case study #2: I have applied repeatedly for positions with a shoe retailer (if you know me, you also know that I have a slight shoe obsession) and was told today that I’m too junior for their senior copywriter position. Mind you, my qualifications perfectly match their job description, which is why I’m confused.


Ironically, when I apply for jobs that might be slightly junior, I get rejected because I’m “clearly a senior creative” and have too much experience. So, no matter what I apply for, I either have too much or not enough experience.

I guess what bothers me most about this is not so much being rejected—it happens. Instead of looking at the depth of a candidate’s experience, employers are looking for much more specific experience. Because the job market is so flooded with candidates, employers can afford to be incredibly picky in making hiring decisions. If you don’t fit the job description to a tee, don’t bother to apply.

So what is a poor (literally, poor!) freelancer to do?

One thought on “Too Junior, My Aunt Fanny!

  1. Casey says:

    To a tee, Sara.

    This couldn’t be truer for the majority of us mid-sr level creative freelancers (especially copywriters) who spent some (or a lot) of time in one or three specific categories.

    I think this can be applied to pinch hitters and hybrids too.


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