A few weeks ago, I applied to write for one of the big online content sites. This site required that I submit a resume and a writing sample. So, I dusted off my old resume, tweaked it a bit to add my (at the time, somewhat sparse) freelance writing experience, and sent it out.
Unfortunately, the site turned me down, and I have to wonder whether it might have something to do with my resume. I did some research, and came across this interesting resource, written by Moira Allen at Writing-World.com: Creating a Writer's Resume
I hadn't really stopped to think that a writer's resume might be different from any other type of resume, but according to this site, it was. I thought back on what I knew about resumes, and specifically what I knew about formatting your resume when you're changing your career (which is, after all, what I'm doing). The thing is, companies hiring freelance writers want to know specifically that those writers can, well, write more than they want to know what jobs they've held over the past five, ten, or fifteen years.
Moira's suggestion to create a skills resume as opposed to a standard job history resume was enlightening. I'd done some research on resumes before, and I'd heard of the skills resume format. It's useful if you're just exiting college and don't have a long history of job experience, and also if, like me, you are switching into a new industry or entirely new career. The skills resume begins with a list of skills useful to the writing industry (such as writing, editing, business writing, technical writing, etc.), and a short description of how you have utilized each of these skills. You still include a job history section, to show that you have a history of employment, but you don't include any additional information about the duties you held at each of your jobs.
The article also mentioned that the writer could include a second page with a list of markets and publications. This was news to me, as I thought the resume could only be one page long. Including a publications page made things much easier, because at this point I have a decent number of publications to show off, and this is a great way to do it. I can send the resume as a Word document or a .pdf, and the links will be clickable, allowing potential employers to see my work.
There was some mention of including "clips" (copies of articles that you have written), but I'm not sure how important that is when e-mailing resumes with links to the articles themselves. I'll keep it in mind, though, if I send out hard-copy resumes.
Now that I've finished my freelance writer's resume, I can't wait to try it out. I'm trying again for the content site I mentioned earlier, because of a recent change with another site I write for. Wish me luck!
More about creating a skills resume from CareerBuilder: Basic Skills Resume