7 Tips to a Perfect Writing Resume

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One of the most common questions I get in the 30 Days or Less private Facebook group is this: How do I write a resume for a freelance writing position?

While not all freelance gigs require resumes, some employers still do. And the best strategies for writing regular corporate resumes may not apply to freelancing. Jenny Hutto, today’s guest poster, shares her best tips when it comes to tailoring your resume for freelance work.

Take it away, Jenny!

Your writing resume should be different from your traditional resume.

As you venture into the world of web-based income, your resume should reflect the modernity of the industry. The traditional, cut and dry resume from days gone by may have worked at your day job, but aren’t you trying to get away from that?

The perfect resume is just what you need to propel you forward in the biz!

Here are my top suggestions for both content and style to help you put your best foot forward:

The Content

Think of this as the meat and potatoes of your resume.

What have you done?

Why should you be hired?

You need to showcase yourself in the best way possible.

Your words are a powerful tool, especially when that is exactly what they want from you! Consider these four things when you’re crafting your writing resume for your next writing job:

1. Cut the Fluff

One page is more than enough to capture what you bring to the table.

Now, put the paper bag away – there is no need to panic!

Remember that this is your greatest hits album, not your complete collection! Would you list your high school job flipping burgers when you’re applying to be CEO?

Let me answer for you – NO! The resume you submit should only feature the relevant work you’ve done.

It is a good idea, though, to keep an updated page of all of your written work, and use that to build a strong resume. When you have all your work in one place, it is easy to copy and paste the important past work into your customized single page resume.

2. Tailor Your Resume to the Job

I know what you’re thinking, “This girl is crazy if she thinks I’m going to write a resume every time I apply for a job.”

You would be right, if that is what I meant.

You can easily draft several versions of your resume to suit the different general types of jobs you want. Those of us in the hustle game offer several kinds of work: writing, editing, coaching, social media, etc.

Some of us even have different kinds of writing we do, i.e. blogging vs. white papers vs. copywriting vs. magazine articles – the list is endless!

For each of these categories, write a resume that is relevant to that type of work. THEN when you apply, you can make the minor adjustments necessary to make your resume shine! See, not so crazy after all.

How to write a resume for freelance writing3. Results Talk

Employers want to know what you’ve done, but they also want to know how well you’ve done it.

Managed a killer social media platform for a client? Tell them how many followers, likes and shares you had (if it’s relevant).

Increased your client’s product sales? Give them the stats.

These are the things hiring managers are looking for in potential workers – they want to reap every benefit you can offer.

Anyone can say that they are great at something – you need to back it up! It will make a huge difference to employers and set you far above the rest!

Of course, be honest about what your results. They will be expecting the same kind of results, and nothing blacklists you faster than inflated expectations and negligible real results. Plus, with the advent of the almighty Google, it is WAY too easy to check up on you.

4. Grammar and Syntax

You are a writer, they are expecting you to use proper grammar! After all, that is what they are hiring you to do. Before you send it, check and recheck your grammar and spelling.

If you are unsure about a rule, say the Oxford comma, or the use of semicolons, look it up! Even if the reviewer doesn’t know much about grammar, they will be able to recognize the well-written piece of artistry that is your resume!

Grammarly (<- affiliate link) and Spell Check Plus are great online resources, but they won’t catch every last detail! Consider asking that grammar nazi friend of yours or a colleague to take a peek!

Style

Presentation matters just as much as content.

If you want to get noticed you need to stand out!

[Tweet “When you’re writing your freelance resume, presentation matters just as much as content.”]

Gone are the days of standard resume bullets. You are on the frontier of home-based work – your resume needs to be as cutting edge as your business. Maximize your resume with these tips:

5. Emphasize Your Brand

As a freelancer, you have a unique advantage – you are your own brand!

It’s okay to add elements of your branding to your resume. Matching colors, logos, etc. can make a big impact! They may not need all of your services now, but they might in the future!

Picturing your logo, plus the awesome work you’ve done for them, will have them coming back for more. Even if you don’t have a logo, it’s easy to add branding to your resume.

Black and white resumes are standard, so why not include some (no more than two) of your brand colors? Or you could use a fun and flirty font across the board? Small details will set you apart from the competition and keep you on top of your clients list in the future.

Side note: Trash the Times New Roman – in the minds of most hiring managers, it equates to thoughtlessness.

6. Keep It Clean

Don’t get too flashy when adding graphics and designs! I know, I know, I just told you to style it up, but don’t go crazy! Too much looks messy and unintentional.

That attention to detail you were bragging about will be thrown right out of the window if your resume is cluttered, hard to read and over the top.

Simple, clean and classic lines make your resume reader and scanner-friendly. You only have so much space, so make the most of it with organized sections, headers and footers and bolded headings.

Consider making a template for your resume or buying one here to easily define sections and input your content.

Want to get even more tips on how to write a better resume? Click here and get Lesson 31 from 30 Days Or Less to Freelance Writing Success and create your stellar resume today!

7. Nix Traditional Bullets

For some of you, I probably just crossed into crazy-land, but track with me here.

An endless sea of bullets followed with a few overused descriptive words does not do your skills justice.

After all, you are a kick butt freelancer poised to conquer the world with your words.

Check out the difference in this bullet ripped from my own master resume:

I helped with a big fundraising campaign.

Planned and executed an innovative fundraising campaign increasing funds raised by 600%.

Which one would you hire?

Obviously this is an extreme example, but notice the key things here: using implied first person and action words create power sentences.

In Conclusion

Creating an effective and eye catching resume is scary, but it’s not impossible.

Make your words count and your style work for you, and you will land the job.

Using a master copy that you can pull from and a template to create a consistent look will make tailoring your resume to each job a breeze. Don’t forget that powerful sentences and proper grammar will showcase your skills as the awesome freelancer you are!

Have you crafted your writing resume? What other tips can you add to the list?

JenniferHutto on how to write a writing resumeJenny Hutto is a freelance writer and editor for hire, with a degree in Professional Communication. She is passionate about helping businesses and individuals put their best foot forward. For helpful tips on effective communication tune into her blog every Tuesday!

17 thoughts on “7 Tips to a Perfect Writing Resume”

  1. Perfect timing Jenny! Just yesterday, I got out some old copies of my resume to update in preparation for a meeting tomorrow…great tips and a boost in a better direction.
    Thanks!

  2. Great information Jenny! I just created mine from an Etsy downloaded and absolutely love that you included that because I think the style adds something important for freelancers. Definitely using your advice on creating a few resumes for different writing roles. Thanks again!

  3. Wow! There are a lot of ideas here that I haven’t thought about at all. I know my Writer’s Portfolio is dull but now I think my resume and portfolio need an upgrade! Oh yeah, LinkedIn is pretty dull too…. More to add to my list of things to do.

    I think writing your own resume is one of the hardest things ever!
    ~ Christie

    • I’m sure you can nail it! It’s always daunting at first, but just take it step by step!
      As a shameless plug, I do offer resume review/writing services! Head on over to my website to contact me if you think you need some extra guidance! I would be happy to take a look for you!
      Either way, I am sure you will end up with a quality resume!

  4. This was really helpful.

    Writing a resume, an attention-grabbing one in that matter does not require a special gift.

    All it needs is a bit paying attention to details. And writing what’s specific for the industry you’re going into.

    Nice one Jenny! You killed it gracefully.

  5. Any recommendations for a newbie like me who hasn’t really published much of anything yet? I’ve written a blog and have around 10 posts under my belt, but that’s pretty much it. Should I table the resume until I have a few articles published?

    • Hey Melissa – no reason you can’t start a shell now and just add to it. There’s also a full lesson in 30DOL (at the end of the course) that you’ll find helpful if you haven’t gotten to it yet.

  6. Hello Jenny,

    Well, I believed that it depends on where you’re applying to. Some of us says “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” and the same is true of your resume. It’s a tool with one specific purpose; to win an interview.

    If you’re gunning for a specific job, no matter how insane that it is you imagine landing, apply for it. Do your best not to lie or spin in your résumé but what you’ve done in the past but instead connect the dots between what you’ve done at past jobs and how it connects to the job you want.

    Thank you for this post. I’m sure my audience would love this tips.

    Tonya

  7. Very Valuable info! Have drafted my mini Bio yet needs some touch up still.
    Writing MY Resume and MY Linked In and My Mini Bio…are ones that I don’t like to write ( : Who knew? But thanks …again you’re coming to our rescue!

  8. Quick question: what if you have no degrees? I’ve studied the craft of writing for years and am well spoken and I refuse to lie on my resume (shocker). Would you trump up other qualifications?

    Thanks!

    • Hey James – exactly. No lies needed, just showcase whatever applicable qualifications you have. Published samples trump a degree in most client’s eyes anyway! Best of luck to you. 🙂

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