The freelance writer resume probably gets more use than all other career resumes combined. That's because freelance writers are constantly looking for new work. While many writers have contacts they can draw upon, for those new to the profession, a good way to find projects is to join a writer's association that posts jobs on its website and in email blasts.
Before you start looking for work, though, you need to know how to craft a freelance writer resume that will land you plenty of assignments.
Writers Do More Than Just Write
The following sample freelance writer resume (often referred to as a CV, short for Curriculum Vitae) is broken down into several smaller resumes including a writing resume, editing resume, and niche area resume. That's because some writers are straight out writers and some are writers as well as editors. Additionally, many writers are generalists and cover everything from applesauce to abacists, while some focus in a niche area, whether it be the culinary arts or the aerospace industry. Whatever your expertise, always start your CV with an objectives paragraph and then choose the skill set that applies to you from the sample resume below.
The first part of the resume is usually the objective or the summary. This talks less about what you want, and more about what you have to offer as a writer. In other words, what sets you apart from the competition? The importance of this one paragraph cannot be overstated. Note that the writer's summary below talks about their most impressive accomplishments (e.g., their book and radio show) in the lead sentence. In fact, most of this first paragraph is indeed a sort of "name dropping" in order to capture the reader's attention. This is not a place to be shy or overly modest. You'll also notice that the less important items, such as education, are presented later in the paragraph. This section must be kept short. It will only be skimmed over unless the words "magna cum laude" and "Harvard" pop out.
Award-winning writer and managing editor featured in "Example Book" and on the Example Radio Network. Offering over XX years of practice, including XX years of writing for a large online educational network. Additional clients include the Big Name Company, Big Name Company, and Big Name Company. Bachelor's degree awarded in English and Master's degree in process. Niche specializations in Latino issues, education, nonprofit, and health and fitness.
Note that if your college years are far behind you, you may want to move this section to the end of the resume so you can highlight more recent, relevant work experience toward the top.
- XYZ State University: MA in XX (to complete in Month of Year)
- XYZ State University: BA in XX
- Additional education, including seminars and conferences
- Applicable internships
Note that when listing published work in magazines (or other periodicals), you should list the names of the biggest publications first, followed by ongoing contributor work, then one-off articles. Be sure to mention anything notable, such as a cover story. That being said, you don't have to be a cover story feature writer to be of value. Include all work you are proud of including essays, reviews, blogging, social media, travel writing, grant writing, or film reviews.
- Most recognizable titles
- A regular contributor to XX periodical
- Title of the article published in XX magazine followed by the date
Because most copywriting gigs are done for ongoing clients, this resume lists copywriting efforts by client name. However, if it's a one-off, you have the option to list work by the title of the project, such as "Sales Brochure." Describe the basic nature of your work for each client and any significant benefits your work has provided to them (e.g., "email content delivered a 30% sales increase").
- XYZ Client (contract writer for over XX years)
- Project, Client, Distribution, Reach, Results
Proofreading and Editing
Note the format(s) in which you've edited or proofread, because sometimes publishers ask for specific experience in one type of editing or proofreading, such as Google Docs.
- Book title, author, publisher, date (beginning with the most recognizable)
- Publication title, editing role, dates
- Experience working in Microsoft Word, Pages, and Google Docs
Subject Matter Expertise
Listing targeted niche areas makes it easy for potential clients to pinpoint exactly why the writer or editor is a good fit. In fact, you should consider moving this area higher up in the resume when submitting to the niche publication or company.
- Published in XX magazine (beginning with the most prestigious)
- Long-term communications employment in XX industry
- Name, title, company, all pertinent contact information
This is completely a subjective decision and is not required unless specified by the client. If you do list your references, make sure you've checked and double-checked that they will give you a good review and that they will be accessible by phone or email.