As a freelance writer looking to advance your career, you’re always looking for new work.
Your resume is one of the ways to showcase your skills, writing experience, and educational background. It’s also an opportunity to make a great first impression.
In this article, I’m going to guide you through the process of creating a winning freelance writer resume.
Why Does a Freelance Writer Need a Resume?
Although you won’t need a resume on every occasion, it’s handy to have a current version on file in case someone requests a copy. Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons to keep an updated version of your resume ready to go.
It provides you with an opportunity to rise above other candidates
If your resume appears modern, professional, and concise, it bolsters your credibility. On the other hand, if it is bland and filled with errors, your credibility might be questioned.
Look at it this way: Your resume is another arrow in your quiver. If there are three applicants for a gig and you’re the only one who has taken the time to assemble a resume, you’ve got a leg up on the other applicants.
You get to show off your skills
Apart from your job history, your resume should showcase your writing, grammar, and spelling skills. It also demonstrates your ability to describe your passion in the fewest words possible.
Many employers still ask for resumes
Humans are creatures of habit, and it’s not surprising that many employers still ask for your resume when you are applying for a freelance gig. Although most writers consider their online portfolio as their resume, it’s vital to be armed with all the requirements.
Even when applying for online jobs, there’s a chance you’ll be asked to upload your resume.
Freelance Writers Resume vs. Portfolio
Writer resumes typically highlight relevant skills, some of your writing experience, and your accomplishments. They are a great way to give an influential summary of the value you bring to your employer.
A resume also allows you to express the responsibilities you’ve handled in the past as a writer, your work experience and references or testimonials.
In most situations, a freelance writer portfolio is a page on your website where you showcase your work. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a portfolio because it helps you build credibility. Sharing a link to an article you wrote for HuffPost can carry more weight than just plain text mention in your resume.
Both your resume and portfolio need to represent your brand. Make sure they work together and support one another.
Tips on Creating a Freelance Writer Resume
Here’s a step-by-step guide o creating a resume that is professional and shows off your writing skills.
1) Format your resume for easy reading
Content managers prefer clean and straightforward resumes with a traditional organization. Your resume should contain the elements of a standard resume, including:
- Contact information
- Work experience
You can also add a section for a professional summary to explain your work history, the projects you’ve been involved in as well as and certifications or freelance writing courses you’ve taken.
The design should be simple and well laid out:
- Make plenty of room for headlines that precede the explanation sections
- Organize your points in bullet lists to avoid writing long or an excessive number of paragraphs
- Avoid using too many graphic elements, but feel free to add a little color to show your creativity
If you’re unfamiliar with how to write a resume, here’s a great example.
You can also grab an easily customizable template like the image below from resume.io.
2) Include a cover letter
Most content managers agree that including a cover letter in your resume is almost always a great decision. A well-written cover letter allows you to show your employers a personal side, especially in a world of automated applications. It’s also an opportunity to express why hiring you is a great move.
You should tailor your cover letter to the content manager and align it with the job posting. Be careful not just to repeat what you included in your resume. Instead, use it to tell a unique story about yourself that fits the job. You can be creative about how you do this, as long as you tie it to the requirements of the role you are applying.
Lastly, you can use the cover letter to address some potential concerns or issues. For instance, you can explain why you have an incomplete degree or some of the past irregularities in your employment. Clear all the doubt in the employer’s head because if you keep them guessing, they are likely to assume the worst.
It’s worth noting that some instances are not appropriate to send a cover letter. These include situations where the employer hasn’t asked for one or when the application software doesn’t allow you to attach additional documents. However, if the application allows you to attach a cover letter as “optional,” write one anyway.
3) Design your resume for niche or general freelance writer jobs
Instead of using the same resume for every job, rewrite it to match specific job requirements. If your resume fails to address what the employer is looking for, they will have no reason to hire you.
If you’re applying for a job in your niche, it’s a good idea to list clients in the industry that you have worked with. You can also include your relevant work samples. This will boost your trustworthiness and increase your chances of getting the job.
If you’re applying for a job outside your niche, your resume should outline your skills and experiences without making it obvious that you fall short in a specific area. It might be a good idea to have two or more that can be used depending on the type of job or niche.
4) Include the necessary resume sections
Below is an outline of the essential parts/sections of a resume.
It sounds obvious that your resume should have a header, but so many resumes are sent without contact details. The header is one of the most important parts because it contains your name, address, and contact details, which the employer will use to contact you.
Going by recent updates, your header should include name, your niche, phone number, and email address. You can also add links to relevant websites and LinkedIn account.
Whatever you do, make it easy for people to find you and get in touch.
Write a short, compelling description of why you want the job as well as your future ambitions. This is another essential section in the resume as it can help you stand out. By stating why you are the most qualified, you increase your chances of grabbing someones attention.
The next area should highlight your skills and abilities. You should list the skills relevant to this job, especially those listed as requirements in the advertisement or job posting. You can include both soft and hard skills, although soft skills are becoming more relevant in getting job opportunities.
Make sure you include all the software and computer skills that might be relevant. For example, you might be required to use specific software such as Google Slides for some projects.
The work experience section begins with the most recent positions you have held or publications you’ve created content for followed by the others in chronological order. Make sure you mention the name of the company or website you worked for as well as the position you held.
You can also outline your achievements and responsibilities in the job. If the list is expansive, you can split it into other sections, such as volunteer work, activities, and other associations.
When writing this section, remember that you don’t have to include all the jobs you have had. If your experience runs deep, there is no need to include every detail; focus on the last few years. This is what employers are interested in.
Only include the most relevant to your writing career. Nowadays, you might want to remove dates from this section to avoid the risk of age discrimination.
Quantify your experience as much as possible. You can do this by specifying the time you spent, the ROI you were able to produce for clients or the traffic your articles attracted.
If you were part of a content marketing team, don’t forget to mention that as well. The ability to work effectively on a team is a valuable skill to have.
In reverse chronological order, write brief details of your academic qualifications. Include the name of the university you attended as well as the degree you achieved. If this is the first job you are applying for after your education, this section should be at the top. However, if you’ve held a few jobs before, you can push it further to the bottom.
Personally, I have always placed more weight on job experience and results that education. If you have generated concrete results for your clients, emphasize those results first.
Courses & Certifications
If you have any niche certifications such as CPA or PMP, it’s important to list them. Also, list the seminars you have attended or courses you’ve taken to show that you are a continuous learner and that you’re willing to improve yourself and your skills.
What Not to Include On Your Resume
Don’t attach your portrait or any other unnecessary detail. You should also avoid including references from your previous employees or clients — unless requested.
Other Ways to Display Your Experience
If you’re looking to differentiate yourself from everyone else, you should consider displaying testimonials from clients on your website, social media platforms, and portfolio.
Social media platforms and portfolios are especially useful if you want to link your work samples and reviews. They are another way to highlight your competence and the skillset you bring to the table.
Samples of Freelance Writer Resumes and Layouts
If you are looking to find inspiration to help you come up with a winning resume that will land you your dream writing job, there are numerous online resources to help you out.
I have chosen three great resume/portfolios ideas that you can use as examples or templates:
- Joe Can Write has a great example of a freelance writer portfolio.
- Raj Chander, a freelance content writer and strategist has a detailed resume example
- Resume.io has plenty of beautiful resume layout templates that you can use.
As you write your resume, always remember that you are trying to compel the reader to hire you. Keep it simple and exciting to improve the chances of your application being picked.
I hope this guide has taught you a thing or two about writing a good freelance writer resume.
If you enjoyed learned something from it, tell us in the comment section below and share it with a friend who’s been asking for resume tips!