Does a Freelance Writer Need a Resume?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Recently, an editor encouraged me to apply for a freelance position opening within his organization.

My initial thought was Well, if you are encouraging me, then why don't you just hire me? :) (It's a large conglomerate of publications and websites, so I have to follow protocol.)

I received a list of required application pieces: a cover letter, writing samples, and a resume.

I opened my Word document to peruse my resume and make any necessary tweaks. But what should I include? Do I list my last ten years of work experience? Do I list only writing-related jobs? Should I submit only publication list?

It's a bit of a conundrum.

Here's what I came up with: a targeted skills resume and publication list.

First, I revamped my resume so it featured writing, blogging, and editing jobs. I've been lucky; I haven't had any lapses in my freelance work. Even if I had, I would have been able to include teaching positions since I instruct several writing, English and Journalism classes.

A skills resume let's me highlight my qualifications in multiple categories:

  • Blogging: I've written content for several blogs, including The Muffin. I listed and linked to several examples of my best blogs.
  • Business and Copywriting: I've developed, written and edited company newsletters and brochures. 
  • Editing: Editor of... In my case, I can include the stint I had as an editor of a literary journal, jobs editing for a publisher, my weekly self-syndicated newspaper column, and the previously mentioned company newsletter.
  • Writing: List the number of years I've been a freelancer with experience in newspaper, magazine, and website content; author of a one-act play. Include book publications and collaborations.
  • Miscellaneous: I have judged writing contests in the past. I can write in HTML. I'm proficient in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. It doesn't hurt to include all desktop publishing formats you can manipulate.
Under the education section, I listed my B.A. and M.A. concentrations, as well as writing workshops and class I've participated in.

Finally, I included awards and memberships: The Nebraska Press Association awards for feature writing and  editorial material, award-winning recipes I've written, coaching awards received for Speech and Drama activities, etc.

For the publication list, I used a targeted approach. Since the publication featured sports, I included sporting magazines and newspapers I've written for.

While many publishers and editors won't require a resume, it never hurts to have one that focuses on your credentials prepared.

You never know when you'll be encouraged to apply for a position.

by LuAnn Schindler


Joanie said...

I have several resumes to work for different types of clients. The best thing about sitting down and writing or revising your resume is it hammers in AT THAT MOMENT what a true professional you are, and how far you've grown in your writing business. Good advice. Thanks for posting.


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