Not every freelance writing job requires you to submit a resume; however, many high-paying writing jobs do, especially in the fields of copywriting, public relations, technical writing, and professional magazine writing. A resume helps employers screen potential job applicants and narrow down their selections. At some point if you desire to procure freelance work from staffing agencies or temp. agencies, you will need to submit a professional resume because recruiters will use it to pass along to their clients.
A writer’s resume is your standard resume with more emphasis on your skills, previous clients, results you’ve achieved on specific projects, your education background, and so on. What you decide to include in it and how you decide to write it can mean the difference of being hired or passed over. To increase your chances of getting hired for a freelance writing job, you’ll need to put your writing skills to work and craft an exceptional resume. Make it topnotch because, in a way, it will reflect your writing and editing skills.
1. Make it brief
HR experts advise to limit your resume to one page or two pages at most. This makes for a quick and easy read. A employer usually asks for a resume because he or she is screening applicants, not making a final decision. If accepted as a likely candidate, the employer will request further information from you.
2. Look good at a first glance
Need we say that presentation matters? To make your resume work, keep it neat and organized. If you are submitting a resume at a job site, upload a professional photo of yourself so employers can match a face to your resume.
In hard copy, consider the thickness and texture of paper. The right texture and firmness of the paper add substance. Stick to the standard 8.5 x 11″ size. Go for a weight of 22 or 24 pound paper. Also, plain white looks best against black ink.
3. Watch your format
You may be tempted to add a lot of creativity and flair to your resume, but restrict yourself to the basics and focus on producing a professional document. Avoid
emphasizing words with underline or bold, and minimize your use of caps and italics. You may use bulleted or numbered points, but always in moderation.
4. Use headings
Aim for clarity and consistency. Use headings that tell the employer what information follows, and keep your headings aligned with the same margins. Use the same line spacing after each heading otherwise your resume will look awkward to the eye.
5. Choose your font
Again, restrict yourself from deviating from the norm. Amateurs use different typefaces in a resume; professionals stick with one font. A resume with the right wording sells you and your skills; using different fancy fonts may make your words pop out but in a negative way. Stick to the most universally-accepted fonts.
For the most formal, traditional serif fonts, use Times New Roman. For the most popular sans serif fonts, you use either Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana. All of these fonts look neat, appealing, and are easy on the eye.
6. Carefully select your content
Always start with your key objective. Instead of using the same resume template for every job, rewrite your objective to match the job description and requirements. If your objective fails to address what the employer wants from a freelancer, then he or she has no reason to hire you. The purpose (i.e. the objective) of your resume is to convince the employer that you can fulfill his or her needs.
Also, avoid personal information such as your age or marital status. Your contact information should include your physical address and your email address, along with your phone number.
7. Highlight outstanding achievements
The most important section of your resume is where you list your achievements and the results that you’ve achieved for past clients. Only mention relevant achievements that portray yourself as a competent writer who has the skill-sets to deliver an exceptional piece of work before or on deadline. You may also want to specify your niche and the topics you specialize in.
8. Specify through numbers and figures
When you mention your accomplishments, be specific as you can. For example, instead of stating that you wrote product descriptions for a mail order catalog, you can state that you wrote 100 tightly-written product descriptions on home furniture for a seasonal catalog that was mailed to 32,000 customers and generated $2 million in sales. Instead of stating that you wrote a bunch of feature stories for a local newspaper, focus on one or two of those stories and state the impact they had on the community. Again, you only want to mention accomplishments that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
9. Avoid useless jargon
Your choice of words plays an important role in making your writer’s resume even more effective. Always strive to express yourself simply and clearly to deliver information with meaning. You don’t need to use big or fancy words to impress; the employer would rather read a resume with common everyday words. Why risk the chance of creating confusion with big words and fancy phrases anyway?
10. Proofread your document
You already know that you need to self-edit your work. Check for grammar and punctuation mistakes. Double-check for misspellings and typographical errors. Eliminate extra white spaces between words that you might have accidentally added by typing too fast. Also, do more than an automated spell-checker. Do an actual read-through, word for word. If it helps, read aloud to see how the content flows. That way, you’ll be certain you’ve created one cohesive piece.