Let’s be honest: Not every client will request a CV from you.
Your profile on a freelance platform or your website is your resume, so it’ll be just enough for many people.
But not for everyone.
Many clients prefer a more traditional look at the experience of freelancers they hire. You might also need a resume to provide when applying for certification or attending a professional event.
So, you need to have a resume ready to save yourself some time and stress of putting one together in a hurry.
In this post, I’ll share five tips to create a brilliant freelance writer resume, regardless of how many years you’ve been in the business.
1. Go For Skills-Based Format
A traditional resume uses a work history to present your skills and qualifications. It’s a decent format, but it doesn’t always work well for freelancers. If you follow it, you might end up with a long list of similar projects that often describe the same responsibilities.
Go for a skills-based format instead, because it:
● Replaces workplaces with skills to focus the attention of the potential employer on your talents
● Removes unnecessary info like how much time you worked for a particular employer
● Includes projects to demonstrate your expertise.
For example, if you were a freelance copywriter, you could use the following skills to base your resume on:
● Adwords copywriting
● Landing page copywriting
● Social media copywriting
Choose your most important skills to list this way, and include descriptions and links to successful projects you’d like to share.
2. Be Specific About Your Accomplishments
Imagine yourself as a hiring manager. You’re reading a resume. Which one of these two sentences sounds more promising to you?
“I helped increase blog traffic”
“I helped to increase organic blog traffic from 3K to 4K in two months”?
The second one offers more details, so it’s much better.
Yep, show, don’t tell is the main idea here.
Instead of telling the client about your achievements, you should show them using specific numbers: stats, analytics, performance indicators, or results.
If you’re dedicating an entire section for accomplishments — which you should — choose up to five major ones to include there.
Here are examples of what you could boast about in this section:
● Wrote 300+ articles for 50+ DR websites that get 1M+ monthly readers
● Wrote 100+ articles for travel blogs
● HubSpot Content Marketing Certified.
Pro tip: Many freelancers track their career progress with benchmarks and milestones. Often, those are their biggest accomplishments. If you’re doing the same thing, choosing some options for your resume shouldn’t be a problem.
3. Provide Links to Profiles & Portfolio
A freelance writer's resume must include the links to your profiles on platforms where you work. Potential clients who want to learn more about you will find a lot of useful information there, so be sure they're included on your CV.
Also important: a link to your portfolio. You can make a simple portfolio site that just provides links to your published works, but you shouldn’t stop there.
Here are more suggestions for a portfolio that stands out:
● Links to the best landing pages
● Screenshots of best-performing ads
● Links to case studies, reports, and other complex documents
● Links to your best blog articles on the most reputable, high-authority websites
● Screenshots of awesome app copies with links
● Links to websites with impressive copy
● Links to the best knowledge base articles
● Links to the most complex software guides
If possible, try to include at least a few content types to demonstrate your versatility. For example, if you’re an academic writer specializing in coursework writing who also loves writing amazing blog posts, include at least two items from both areas. Just make sure to categorize your list appropriately.
Pro tip: Write a short story about each portfolio item. This can capture your reader's attention. For example, you can describe the issue that the client was struggling with and how you helped them:
“Mark has 10 years of experience in HR, and he wanted to share his knowledge. With my help, he was able to get his blog up and running, and reached 50K unique visits in just 6 months.”
4. Don’t add an Objective Statement
The career statement, or resume objective, is a thing of the past. It’s totally useless for the employer, because it just reiterates the information you've already given them.
Let’s look at a standard career objective:
“Objective: To obtain a position of a content writer in a fast-growing company where I can use my experience to create high-quality, impactful content.”
This is a total waste of resume space.
● It doesn’t say what experience the person can bring to the job
● It doesn’t explain what the person considers “a fast-growing company”
● “High-quality, impactful content” could be blog posts, case studies, white papers, industry reports, webinars, video scripts, interviews, and a hundred other things. What content, exactly, the applicant is capable of producing? This is unclear, too.
To avoid confusing your potential employers this way, don’t include a resume objective. The top of your resume — where it’s usually put — is prime real estate, so don’t waste it.
5. Create Multiple Resumes
It’s unreasonable to expect that one resume will fit every project, right? Your potential clients expect you to tailor your CV to the position they offer, so the one-size-fits-all approach won’t work.
But no worries, you don’t have to spend a week making lots of resumes. For example, a copywriter could create two versions for their favorite writing areas: copywriting and blog writing. If you can bring different sets of skills to the table, you should have a resume that highlights each one.
Aim to have at least two versions of a resume featuring the writing areas or sub-areas that interest you the most. You could even drill down to something as specific as “travel blog writer” or “cryptocurrency content writer” if you’ve got enough information and experience.
That’s how you create and optimize a great CV as a freelance writer. As you can see, there are some differences between the way traditional and freelance resumes are made, so consider them when creating yours.
When you’re done, your resume will save you a lot of time and stress. You never know when a client or someone else can request a resume from you. If you don't have one ready, you'll have to put one together quickly, and it won't be nearly as good as one you spent time working on.
So what are you waiting for?