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Here are ResumeNerd’s tips on how to create an outstanding professional resume for your writing career using a writer resume template.
As a writer, you likely have a flair for writing about many topics – apply that same attention to detail and focus to your resume. Don’t risk rejection with a one-size-fits-all resume. A writer’s resume should address specific requirements from each job description to catch the recruiter’s eye. This is known as using keywords, which are critical for overcoming that first hurdle, the applicant tracking system (ATS). Employers often use ATS to scan your resume, and having the right keywords ensures your resume will pass and get transferred to a human for review.
The organization of your resume may vary depending on your format, but it will usually include the following sections. Before you start, decide on your resume format: chronological, functional, or combination. The chronological format prioritizes work experience, the functional layout focuses on your skills, and the combination structure covers both. Regardless of which design you choose, you will always have sections for your work history, skills, and education.
In addition to the tips below, consider using a resume builder or writer resume template to help you create your own, or review online writer resume samples to get an idea of how it should look.
Your header should include your full name, contact details, and a link to your online portfolio or a professional networking site, such as LinkedIn.
You can take it a step further and place the specific job title from the advert in your header (e.g., “Mark Smith, Financial Analyst”), linking you to the role you want. Of course this only works if you have some experience in that role or closely matching duties from current or previous jobs.
Your summary should give a brief overview of your most significant work experiences, skills, and qualifications. For more on how to write a summary, see these tips. Lead with the number of years you've spent as a writer, if this is your strong point, or your journalism degree if you have one. Include any specialized areas you have written about, from legal writing to gaming.
If you lack professional experience, use an objective, which states your career aspirations and recounts some of your best skills. For example, you could state your passion for writing or how you’re an avid researcher. In both cases, make sure to address requirements from the job description (“multitasking” or “works creatively within brand guidelines”), honing in on relevant keywords.
The Skills section is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate your competencies and show your recruiter how you have everything they need. You can put any relevant writing skills here, from copywriting to editing, alongside important soft skills, such as collaboration or a strong work ethic. List your skills using bullet points. For example:
The work experience section details your professional experience and should start with your current or most recent role. Recruiters are usually only interested in roles you’ve had over the last ten years.
Be sure to show your job titles and company names, including the locations you worked, alongside the start and end dates. If you worked as a freelance writer or contractor, note it.
Focus on the most significant achievements in each role rather than the boring details of day-to-day routines. If your work history is not directly relevant, then you can draw out specific achievements or responsibilities that match the job description. For example, perhaps you came up with creative content and story ideas in a marketing associate position, or were involved in writing content for PowerPoint presentations.
List some of your top publications and writing projects here, including the link to the content (if available), and details about the publication or employer you worked for. If you’ve received recognition or awards for your work, you can also include them here.
The education section should demonstrate how your knowledge measures up to the job. LYou should list your top qualifications here (e.g., college degree). There’s no need to include your high school diploma if you’ve already completed advanced education.
Even if your degree is not writing-related, there are many transferable skills from your university education you can feature here that can demonstrate your research and writing ability (e.g., special reports or writing-related projects for a different major, such as History).
A cover letter to the hiring manager is vital; you risk appearing disinterested without one. They also present an excellent opportunity to further explain why your skills, experience, and attributes fit the job description.
Don’t worry if you lack experience. You can display your educational certifications, such as a bachelor’s degree or completion of any writing courses, by placing them first on your resume. Start building a portfolio of work to complement your professional resume and link to them (e.g., WordPress blog posts and website articles).
Aim to create the best resume possible on every application by tailoring it to each job you apply for. There are many different types of writing and specialized niches, so you will need to adapt your writer’s resume by highlighting different skills and knowledge, using specific keywords from the job description.