Tips for Writing a Writer Resume (With Template and Example)
Updated 29 January 2023
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Writing a resume for a writer requires a lot of the same practices as content writing, including attention to detail, consistency and review. When looking for a new job as a writer, it is important to know what hiring managers want to see and how you can showcase your unique skills and experience. Knowing what to include and learning how to create a writer's resume can help you start your job search in this field. In this article, we discuss what information to include on a writer's resume, how you format it and share a template and example you can use for creating your own resume.
Related: How To Make a Resume (With Examples)
What to include in a writer resume
There are four key components to include in a writer resume: a summary, skills, education and work experience. Here is how you can make sure these sections include all the necessary information:
The summary statement is typically 2 to 4 sentences that summarise your skills, experience and achievements. This area often gives the first idea of who you are and what value you might bring to an organisation. Mention your speciality areas that apply to the job. Later in the resume, you will include bullet points for experience and skills, but here you may include just a few of your most valuable skills to showcase.
Related: How To Write a Profile Summary (With Examples)
The skills section should include a list of all technical and soft skills you have developed throughout your career and education. You might highlight your proficiency in particular software, tagging, or other unique hard skills along with soft skills like communication skills and time management. Use this section to highlight any particular genre or subject you have specialized in like medical writing and blogging.
Related: Writer Resume Skills: Definition, Tips And Examples
Some skills you might include in this section include:
Social media writing
Related: 10 Best Skills To Include on a Resume (With Examples)
Include details about jobs that showcase your achievements rather than stating tasks. For example, you might say, "Wrote social media content daily that increased engagement by 20%." This shows what you did as well as the impact you made. Use this section to show your versatility as well. Besides what you achieved while writing, show how you effectively collaborated, met deadlines and applied resourcefulness.
Although required education can vary depending on the job and industry, it is important to highlight your degree on your resume. Writers often earn degrees in English, journalism or other humanities, but also may have degrees in marketing or another speciality area. It is important to include any other certifications or continued learning that can show different areas of expertise. For example, consider short courses or certifications on search engine optimisation (SEO), business writing or creative writing.
How to format your resume
Here are a few steps you can follow to format your resume:
1. Create the structure
When writing a resume, create the sections for your contact information, summary, skills, education, and experience. The contact information may be centred on top to highlight your name, but start the other sections with bold headers to show they are different sections. Start with a summary, skills, work history and end with education. You might rearrange this to highlight certain areas. For example, if you earned a master's degree but have little experience, consider listing education first.
Aside from centring the contact information, ensure you format the rest of the document consistently. Consider aligning the sections to the left, using a size 12 font and a common font. Try to fit your resume on one page.
2. List experience chronologically
Your work experience is often the largest section of a resume, so it is important to make sure it is organised. List each role you have held, starting with the most recent and working backwards. Include only relevant experience that can show why you are the right person for a job.
3. Use bullet points
When listing your achievements in the work experience section or listing your skills, bullet points can keep your information organised. Each may show what you did and what your actions achieved. Consider including 3-5 bullet points for each role you held.
4. Review your resume
Proofreading your resume is especially important for pursuing a writing career as this is the first writing sample they view of yours. Make sure every comma is in place and that you review the spelling. Re-read what you wrote out loud to see how it sounds.
It is also a good idea to review the layout. Print a copy of your resume out, make sure it fits on one page, spacing is consistent and it looks easy to read.
Tips for writing a writer resume
Here are some tips you might consider when writing your resume:
Define your role
Writing can be a generic career so it is important to identify exactly what type of writer you are. You might define this by genre or job type but it can affect what you include on your resume. Here are a few examples:
Content writer: content writers are specialised writers that typically work in advertising or marketing departments to write content for targeted audiences. Hiring managers may want to know if you have marketing experience, SEO knowledge, or how to create effective keywords.
Technical writer: technical writers are in every industry and they translate complex information or topics into easy-to-understand content. Technical writers might highlight their research, communication or problem-solving skills.
Grant writer: grant writers write and submit proposals for individuals or companies seeking financial help. As these are clear, direct and persuasive, hiring managers might want to see proven success in this area.
Keywords are specific skills, tasks or other words that companies include in their job descriptions. Often, companies scan resumes verifying the jobseeker's resume matches some keywords to the job description. Each job is different, so search the description of each role you apply to and substitute some words out to ensure your resume's keywords match.
Related: 10 Resume Writing Tips To Help You Land a Job
If you have them, include specific certifications on your resume. You might consider grant writing certifications or SEO certifications that can highlight your specialised skills. This can show employers how dedicated you are to continue to learn in your career.
Include freelance experience
Freelance writing can be a unique experience compared to applying for jobs at companies. If you have freelance experience, include that and share your achievements like any other job. When applying for freelance opportunities, you still provide clients with a resume, so it is important to show your past successes and your ability to work independently. Consider linking to additional freelance work directly from your resume so clients can see your previous work.
Use active verbs
Active verbs are important in writing compelling content and it is important to apply that to your resume. Consider saying, "Edited books..." rather than "I was responsible for editing books," to keep your content short and clear. This shows you know how important active writing is and can help the hiring managers focus on the content of your resume.
Add a website
If you have a website, portfolio or blog that applies to the position, include it. Hiring managers often request writing samples and if you provide them with some right away, they can see if your previous work is a good fit. Be sure it is updated with recent writing samples to show you are actively writing.
Here is a template of a resume that you can fill in when writing your own resume:
[First name, last name]
[2-4 sentences that highlight your skills, experience and achievements]
[List of hard and soft skills]
[Role, dates worked]
[List of tasks and achievements]
[Role, dates worked]
[List of tasks and achievements]
Here is an example of a resume with sample content you can compare when writing your own resume:
A self-motivated and enthusiastic content writer with experience in SEO. Proven success increasing website traffic and search rankings by authoring interesting content, keywords and metadata.
Online document writer
Personal Style, Inc.
Copywriter, August 2019–Present
Rewrote and proofread website content for home page and sub-pages
Pitched ideas for new blog posts and wrote weekly blogs
Increased click-through rate by updating keywords and metadata
September 2018–August 2019
Wrote advertisement content for over 20 clients with no turnover
Increased advertising clicks by 10% on average per client
Collaborated with marketing and sales teams to determine new content needs
August 2014–May 2018
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