Freelance writers come in all shapes and sizes from freelance bloggers to content writers, SEO writers, content strategists, freelance web content writers and ghost writers.
They offer a variety of services and types of writing.
When it comes to finding work, freelance writers are responsible for seeking jobs and making contact with potential clients.
This can be done by searching through job boards or cold contacting companies that may need a freelance writer’s services.
Usually a freelance writer will offer a portfolio or writing samples to potential clients to showcase their writing skills and area of expertise.
However, there are many companies that request a resume from freelancer writers applying for writing positions.
This may seem weird to you if you’re a freelance writer, since freelance writing is not a typical job.
Since writing is a skill you can easily demonstrate to clients, why would they need to write a resume too?
The answer is simple but to understand exactly how to write a resume as a freelancer, it’s best to understand what that kind of freelance writer resume looks like.
How to Write a Resume for a Job
How is a freelance resume different than a normal resume?
By definition, a resume is a document that summarizes your educational background, experience, skills and accomplishments.
It gives employers a chance to determine very quickly if you have the potential to be a right fit for the job.
A freelance writer resume gives you an opportunity to show a prospective client your expertise and experience in their niche as well as any association and experience you may have with other brands and companies.
It is also an opportunity for you to list the experience you have writing different types of content such as blog posts, white-papers and eBooks.
So there’s not a huge difference between a normal resume that you would use to apply to a brick-and-mortar type business and a resume used to apply for freelance writing jobs.
There is one main difference: when you write a resume for freelance writing, you’re going to focus your experience and accomplishments on your writing and who you have written for.
This can include paid jobs or guest writing you’ve done for big brands and blogs.
I’m going to go through how to write a resume step-by-step.
However, the important thing to know right now is that your freelance writer’s resume is going to focus on and highlight your skills and experience related to writing and any accomplishments or education related to the client’s niche.
Is It Necessary to Have a Resume as a Freelance Writer?
Freelance writer resume requirements depend on the client. Some only ask for writing samples and/or a portfolios but some may request a resume as part of your application.
You never know which jobs are going to require one so it’s a good idea to have one ready.
You can tell if a job wants a resume by, obviously, reading the job description to see if they request one. If they want one, they will straight out ask for one.
Yet, there are some freelance writing jobs that may not ask for one but will definitely appreciate one.
These clients will detail particular skills they are looking for in the job description.
Here are two examples of freelance writing job descriptions from Indeed:
This job ad asks for a resume and you can see why: They are looking for journalism experience.
This tidbit of information is not something they can easily glean from a writing sample, so they want to see a resume.
Here is the second job ad:
This job has a whole list of requirements (of which they’ve conveniently highlighted key words). In the rest of the job ad, there is no mention of sending a resume.
But you can see how having one would be beneficial.
They are listing all kinds of required skills that can’t be showcased in a writing sample but can be listed on a freelance writer resume.
You may, however, come across job descriptions that don’t ask for a freelance writer resume nor do they seem to require much beyond the ability to write.
Should you send a freelance resume in this case?
Look at the nature of the job – are they looking for long-term and ongoing work?
If so, they probably would like to see longevity of work experience.
This is something you can show on a freelance resume by listing your work experience and how long you worked for each client.
Overall, it doesn’t hurt to send a freelance writer resume along with your writing sample whether a hiring client requests it or not.
How to Write a Freelance Writer Resume
If you have been sending out freelance writer resumes and not hearing back from potential clients, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not qualified for the job.
It could be that your freelance writer resume doesn’t showcase your knowledge and experience in way that catches the eye of a hiring client.
When it comes to writing your freelance writer resume, there are 5 sections you should include:
- Links to your website or online portfolio
The overall tone of the resume should be straightforward and relevant to the job posted but also include a bit of your personality and creativity – which I’ll show you exactly how to do.
Let’s look at each section more closely:
Like everything you’re going to include when you learn how to write a resume, you want your experience to be relevant to the job posted, so there’s no need to include your tenure as a fast food employee during your college years.
That is, however, unless the client’s niche is based in fast food or the food industry.
In that case, your real-life experience would definitely give you an edge.
When it comes to detailing your experience, think about the client’s niche, the type of content they are looking for and the length of time they expect you to write for them.
You can then include writing and work experiences that match their requirements.
For example, a freelance writing job may be looking for a long-term writer in the fast food niche for a restaurant’s blog.
You would then list your employment at a fast food restaurant, your long-term writing experience with other clients and examples of blog posts you have written in the past or a sample blog post related to the food industry.
When you do write about your work experience, give a little inside information as to what your responsibilities for that position were.
This is an opportunity to tell the potential freelance writing client a little bit about yourself.
For example, you’ve been writing and managing your own blog for a couple of years. You can include it in your freelance resume with some personality:
Blog Writer, 2018 – Present
I write for and manage a personal blog that focuses on helping mothers earn an income by working from home.
In that short phrase, you’ve already told the client so much about yourself:
- You write blog posts.
- You manage a blog.
- You are a mother, which relates to the parenting niche.
- You know how to make money working from home, which relates to that niche.
Try to limit the past job experiences on your freelance resume to around 3.
Remember, you are highlighting the jobs you’ve had that relate to the one you are posting for – not sharing your entire work history.
Nowadays, many companies are looking for what is a called a “skill-based” resume instead of one that lists all of your past experience in chronological order.
They want a quick snapshot idea of whether or not you have the chops for the job they’ve posted.
On your freelance writer resume, list at least 10 skills. Half of these should be skills mentioned in the job description (that you actually do possess) and the other half should be skills unique to you and your experience.
When you include your unique skills, try to focus on “soft” skills.
Soft skills are non-measurable skills that relate more to who you are as an employee than what you can do.
For your freelance resume, you can include soft skills such as:
- Time-management (which includes organizational skills as well the ability to be punctual)
- Teamwork (demonstrates your ability to communicate with the client and their team)
- Self-motivation (you take initiative)
- Problem-solving (you can figure out issues on your own which means you can complete your work more quickly)
- Ability to work under pressure (you are comfortable with tight deadlines)
These are all valuable skills that clients appreciate – and ones that you can’t demonstrate through a writing sample or portfolio.
Listing your accomplishments when you write your resume isn’t simply a way to show off what you have done – it gives potential clients a chance to see that your work produces measurable results.
You can do this by including links to articles written for major brands and companies.
However, you can also use statistics to highlight your achievements.
For example, if you offer marketing services, you can mention how your services led to a % increase in conversion rates for your clients.
If you don’t have access to data like this, you can always quantify your accomplishments by including your overall success rate with clients or how often you have been re-hired.
When putting your education on your freelance writer resume, make sure you are only including anything that is relevant to the freelance writing job.
Your educational background is not as important as your work experience, but it can be helpful in demonstrating your expertise in the client’s niche.
For example, if you are applying for a writing job in the mental health field, a psychology degree or college diploma in counseling lends well to the position.
Alternatively, a degree in nutrition is relevant to the health niche.
Otherwise, if the degree or diploma or training doesn’t relate to the job you are applying for, it’s best to leave it off your resume.
Links to Your Website or Online Portfolio
Lastly, despite the fact that a freelance writer resume is used to showcase your skills and experience, you will want to include links to your website or online portfolio when you write your resume.
Once a potential client reviews your freelance resume and finds you a good fit for the position, they are going to want to see a sample of your writing.
You can also include links to your social media profiles here – just make sure that these are your professional profiles that are active and include relevant work.
It’s another great way to add some personality to your freelance writer resume.
Do I Need a Cover Letter?
It’s usually standard practice to attach a cover letter to your application and resume. Some hiring clients will ask for one while others will not.
A cover letter is a great way to really tie the information on your resume to the job you are applying for.
It allows you an opportunity to tell your story and demonstrate how your particular experience and skills will benefit the client.
Every cover letter should be unique to that job. You can’t just send out a generic cookie-cutter cover letter to every company or client that asks for one.
But, you can always try out a cover letter builder to help you find a template you can customize quickly when pitching to multiple companies for a freelance writing job.
How to Write a Resume – Examples and Templates
When you put together your freelance resume, you want to make sure the information is clear and concise with a format that makes it easy to read.
That being said, you can have fun with layouts and templates as long as they don’t distract from the information or make it unintelligible.
Here are some examples and templates you can use when you learn how to write a resume.
(FYI, these were made in Canva!)
This freelance writer resume has a nice clean look with a bit of color to make it more interesting. The layout is clean and easy to read.
If you look at the work experience, Jane speaks in the first person when describing what her responsibilities for each role were. She also adds some “stats” about increasing traffic to her personal site.
The skills are laid out in a graph type style. You don’t have to quantify your skills to determine the length of the bars – just make them varied.
It’s more for visual appeal.
Here is another way on how to write a resume.
This is an example of a simple resume with no visual bells and whistles (although, if you look closely, you’ll notice the heading font is a little funky but not distracting).
All the same information is provided here with the addition of an “achievements” section that shows the major brands and publications Jane has been featured in.
Where to Create Your Freelance Writer Resume
You can certainly try to create and format a resume through Microsoft Word – or you can use one of these online platforms that do most of the work for you:
As I mentioned above, you can use Canva to create and design a beautiful and professional looking resume.
Simply visit the site and search for “resume.” From there you can choose a template (such as the ones I used above) and fill in the information.
Just be careful not to choose something too flashy. There are a lot of visually stunning templates on Canva but you want to make sure the visuals don’t distract from the information.
Also watch out for spacing as you replace the template information with your own.
Adjust the location of text and the size of the font to make sure your resume isn’t too crowded and is readable.
Google Docs Resume Builder
Google Docs has a template that you can use to write your freelance resume.
When you go into Google Docs, look under “Start a new document.” You should see a couple of templates for resumes.
To expand on this selection, click the button that says “Template gallery” and find resumes.
This are very simple resume templates that use font color and size to add some visual interest.
Simply fill in your information, removing any sections that do not apply to you. Just like in Canva, watch out for gaps and crowding.
You can save your resume as a document or PDF.
If you’re looking for a resume that allows you to plug in your information, you should check out Resume.com.
Simply enter your information and the site will build your resume based on what you enter. There are even a few basic templates that you can choose from.
While you don’t have much control over the layout of the resume, you don’t have to worry about repositioning the information.
Note: the second freelance writer resume was created using Resume.com.
Other Types of How to Write a Resume
Creating a resume for your freelance writing business doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to the standard curriculum vitae format.
You can use different online platforms such as LinkedIn, Contently and even your own personal website to showcase your experience and skills.
I would suggest that you use them all!
LinkedIn is a social platform that allows you to network with other professionals in your industry as well as a place to land clients.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you should seriously think about getting one.
Having a LinkedIn account gives potential clients an opportunity to learn more about you and also opens the door for networking with companies you haven’t even applied to.
To make the most of your LinkedIn profile, make sure it is complete and up-to-date.
You can even download your LinkedIn profile as a PDF file to use as a resume. To do this, click the “…More” icon on the top section of your profile and select “Save to PDF.”
You can then it out or send it along with your job applications.
Contently is a site that allows you to upload your writing samples (even PDFs) as well as showcase your published articles.
Whereas you can use LinkedIn to focus on skills and experience, Contently is a great place to build your portfolio to show off exactly what you can do. Think of it as a content marketing resume.
To get the most out of your Contently profile, make sure to tag your samples with skills and topics – this will come in handy if potential employers use filters on your portfolio.
Be sure to keep your portfolio updated with your best and most successful work.
Your Writer Website
Here’s where LinkedIn meets Contently meets your unique personality! Your writer website is your opportunity to show potential clients the whole package.
It’s a chance to build your brand and identifies you as a legitimate freelance writer.
If you haven’t already created a writer website, you should get started right away!
Here are some key aspects that should be included in your site:
- A compelling landing page
- A “Where I’m Writing” section
- A call-to-action
- Ways to contact you
- A “Hire Me” page
- A portfolio page
There’s no doubt that having a stunning writer website is going to increase your chances of landing freelance work.
If you’re not sure how to get your writer website started, you can always check out Writer Website in a Weekend!
How to Write a Resume as a New Freelance Writer
There you have it!
Your complete guide to how to write a resume that is sure to help you land more freelance writing jobs and make more money in your freelance writing career!
At first, resumes may seem pointless in this field – but I hope you can see the value in using one to demonstrate your awesome skills and experience.
Now the next time you see a job post asking for a freelance writer resume you don’t have to throw one together in a panic.
Over to you – Do you have a tip on how to write a resume that has landed you a writing job? Or perhaps a resume fail you’re willing to share?
Please remember to pin me!