The job of a Freelance writer is never boring! You may be writing blog posts, researching your next article, or outlining a sure-to-be bestseller as a ghost writer. There's an abundance of opportunities, and to catch the shiniest stars you need a stellar resume.
In this article, we’ll discuss
- Which format is right for your resume
- How to write a resume summary
- Describing your work experience
- Listing your skills
- Including your education
- Naming your certifications
- Choosing the right template
Freelance Writer Sample Resume
- Published 3 articles on man-eating felines for a "Spooky Animals" series in National Geographic
- Created a 1-week lesson plan for the Girl Scouts of America on best writing practices
- Collaborated on a feature regarding sexual assault in Mormon communities for Cosmopolitan
- Edited clients' blog posts, covering topics from animals to beauty and health to food
- Assisted with writing a screenplay for a mini-series on the history of vampire lore for the BBC
- Researched and implemented social media strategy incorporating weekly polls which increased Instagram engagement by 27%
- Assisted with editing the company’s administrator manuals
- Created a style guide that specified the colors, fonts, and layouts of all blog posts
- Collaborated with Linda LLC to write 7 articles on management
- Interviewed 5 small business owners in the DC area for a feature on budgeting
- Edited 12 articles on the importance of product design
- Researched, drafted, and promoted a monthly newsletter on consumer trends
- Maintained a weekly blog that focused on business topics like the functionality of office decor, employee motivation ideas, and best social media practices
Author, When Angels Fall and Rise Again
- 450-page YA fantasy novel focused on a romance between angels during the Apocalypse
- Awarded New York Times Bestseller 2 weeks in a row
Creator, Baker's Dozen
- Self-published blog that is updated bi-weekly with healthy takes on favorite desserts
- 20k+ followers with average social media engagement of 24%
- Named Best Blog web site by Web Marketing Association
- Illustrated children’s book centered on Rudolph and his reindeer girlfriend, Juniper, as they save Christmas
- Awarded Best Christmas Children's Book of 2014 by Scholastic
1. Choose the Right Format for a Freelance Writer Resume
The first step to drafting your resume is deciding which resume format to use. This depends on your career experience and skillset.
You have 3 main options for your resume:
- Reverse-Chronological -- this is the most commonly used resume format. With this structure, place your most recent jobs first, followed by the next most recent job, and ending with your oldest position.
Tip: only include jobs relevant to the position to which you’re applying, so leave out any former jobs that don’t fit. For example, do include previous work experiences as a Blog Writer, Content Writer, or Magazine Editor.
- Functional -- this format is best for people who have been out of the workforce for a while, perhaps because they had to care for children or an elderly parent. This format will have headers like “Clients,” “Books” and “Experience” with their respective details listed in bullet points below. At the very end of the resume, include a brief snapshot of your work experience.
Tip: Read our advice on How to Explain Employment Gaps on a Resume.
- Hybrid / Combination -- this format is a mix of both Functional and Reverse-Chronological. It provides more detailed work experience descriptions that would typically be seen in the latter, while still offering a bulleted list of skills.
Tip: When in doubt, choose the Reverse-Chronological resume format. For more details, check out our guide on How to Write Your Resume in Reverse-Chronological Order.
For a Freelance Writer, hiring managers want to glance at your resume and get a sense of the following:
- Names of magazines or websites you’ve been published in
- The topics you write about -- science writing, creative content, social media posts
- The length of time you’ve been in the industry
The best format for a Freelance Writer depends on your amount of experience and if you've held any formal positions. Use a Reverse-Chronological resume format if, for example, you created, frequently contributed to, or managed a blog -- in addition to writing other things.
If you’ve written for a bunch of publications, then use a Functional resume format with headers like “Clients,” “Experience,” “Clips” and “Niches” or “Special Topics.” You’ll list your publications under the “Experience” tab while mentioning your types of content under “Niches” or “Special Topics” (e.g., science writing, writing about animals, food blogger, etc.).
2. Write a Strong Freelance Writer Resume Summary
Did you know that only 10% of job applications result in interview invites?
While this is certainly an optional section, your resume summary is one of the best ways to land that interview.
But first --- what is a resume summary?
A resume summary is one or two sentences at the top of your paper that summarizes your entire resume. It’s the punch line that gets the resume reviewer wanting to know more.
For a Freelance Writer career, include the following points in your summary
- The amount of time you’ve worked as a Writer
- Name drop a few publications
- If you’ve authored any books or if you’re a consistent contributor to a publication.
- Conversely, if you write about a variety of subjects -- from science writing to social media posts -- you could also mention those in order to show the employer that you can work with a variety of content needs and clients
- An adjective or two conveying your personality, such as “organized,” “dependable” or “creative”
Here is an example of a bad resume summary:
Experienced Freelance Writer with publications covering a variety of topics.
This is a bad resume summary because it is incredibly vague. How many years of experience do you have? What kinds of topics do you write about? What makes you stand apart from countless other applicants?
Here is an example of a good resume summary:
Enthusiastic and dependable Freelance Writer with 6+ years of experience. Skilled in content writing and social media strategies. Author of New York Times best-selling YA novel and popular health food blog. Published in National Geographic and Cosmopolitan. Seeking full-time staff writing position.
This is a good resume summary because it gives a sense of who you are -- dependable and organized -- while listing your accomplishments and years of experience. Lastly, the summary includes a resume objective, telling the employer that you want a full-time staff writing position.
A Resume Objective tells the employer what kind of position you are seeking.
While this is certainly optional, it can help employers understand what you want from them and what you can offer. Put another way, a resume objective clarifies your intentions to employers. Plus, it can help to show why you are a good fit for the job.
For more information, checkout our guide on How to Write a Killer Resume Summary. Or, browse our Resume Summary Examples.
3. Describe Your Work Experience as a Freelance Writer
The next step to drafting your resume is to list your work experience. This includes the name of your position (See: The Right Way to List Job Titles on a Resume), the name of the location at which you worked, and the length of time in which you worked.
Your work experience should include the following:
- Company name
- Job title
- Years worked
- Job description
Be sure to use strong action verbs in each of your bullet points. Here are a few to get you started:
Tip: Don’t start every bullet point with the same verb -- that will get old real quick! Instead, mix it up a bit. If you do use the same verb often (e.g., “wrote”) don’t put those bullet points next to each other.
You should also quantify your resume whenever possible. This means adding a number -- such as a dollar amount or percentage -- to your accomplishments. Quantifying your resume gives the hiring manager a more concrete idea of your workplace performance. For example, say that you “Wrote 3 articles a month for Science Daily,” “Developed and launched social media campaigns that increased fanbase by 24%,” or “Generated $30,000 in sales revenue from blog posts advertising the benefits of cotton shirts for athletes.”
Tip: One way to quantify your resume is by listing your accomplishments and awards. These can be awarded to you by your workplace (“Employee of the Month”) or from your industry (“Freelance Writer of the Year”).
For more information on how to format your work experience, check out our guide on How to Describe Work Experience.
Don’t have any work experience? We have a guide for Writing a Resume with No Work Experience!
4. List Your Skills
Skills show the hiring manager what you can do for the company -- without taking up too much space in the “work experience” part of your resume.
There are two types of skills -- soft and hard. “Soft” skills are those that are not quantifiable and are more indicative of your personality. Examples include leadership, problem-solving, and communication. In contrast, “hard” skills are those that are learned through formal education. Examples include computer technology, programming languages, and certifications.
While Freelance Writers need to, of course, be good at writing, be sure to include a variety of other skills in order to show employers that you are a well-rounded and adaptable employee!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Relevant Soft Skills
- Time Management
Relevant Hard Skills
- Content Writing
- Social Media
- Content Management
Tip: When completing this section on your resume, review the employers’ job requirements. Try to incorporate some of the language they use. For example, if the job description states they need someone who has “exceptional communication skills, good organizational skills, and the ability to work independently and within a team,” then be sure to include some of these keywords. List “Communication” and “Organization” under the skills section.
If you want a more complete list of skills, read our guide on 100+ Key Skills for a Resume in 2021 with Examples for any Job.
5. Include an Education Section
Freelance Writers don’t necessarily need a formal education. However, having a degree can help you stand out to employers.
When writing your education section, be sure to include:
- The name of the school — e.g. “Aurora High School” or “The University of Pennsylvania”
- The location of the school
- Your degree (high-school diploma, GED, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, etc.)
- Graduation year (if applicable)
- Major field or department of study (if applicable)
- Minor field or department of study (if applicable and relevant)
- GPA (If you're a student or graduates who held lower GPAs, this bit of information may be good to omit unless specifically requested by the employer)
Still uncertain on what to include in this section? Review our guide on How to List Education on Your Resume in 2021.
6. Mention Certifications Relevant to the Job
Certifications show employers that you’re expanding on your skills and diversifying your experiences. Not only are you more knowledgeable, but you’re also more employable.
While there aren’t certifications specific to Freelance Writing, there are plenty geared towards marketing that can help you land those kinds of jobs.
*Certification programs include:
- AMA Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) from the American Marketing Association. This certification requires either a bachelor’s degree and 4 years experience or a master’s degree and 2 years of experience. The application fee is $75. The exam fee is $650 fee for nonmembers, though AMA members receive a discount.
- AWAI Certifications from the American Writers & Artists Institute. There are a variety of programs like the Info-Marketers Training and Certification and the AWAI Web Copy Specialist certification. Prices range from several hundred dollars to a thousand plus dollars.
- CMI Online Training and Certification offered by the Content Marketing Institute. This certification requires an annual subscription ($995) to a variety of online courses like Content Marketing Strategies and The Heart of Business Storytelling.
- CopyBlogger Certified Content Marketer. This program is offered periodically by the content specialists from CopyBlogger Media.
- Marketing Certifications from HubSpot. Hubspot offers a variety of marketing certifications, though only two are open to everyone -- the Inbound Certification (free) and the HubSpot Design Certification. The other certifications are only open to HubSpot customers or partners.
- MediaBistro Certificates. MediaBistro offers nine different certificates, ranging from Social Media to Public Relations to Copyediting to Journalism. The cost for a certificate depends on the subject matter, but runs from $1650 to $3200.
- Medical Writing Certification Commission offered by the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). This certification requires both a degree and work experience. There is also a $150 application fee, which is discounted for members. The exam costs $375.
- National Institute for Social Media (NISM) offers certification. This certification requires an associate degree (or 64 hours of college credit) or two years of social media experience. The exam fee is $295.
- NRWA Certification Program. This program is only for members of The National Resume Writers Association. It requires continuing education classes. Candidates must submit a resume sample. (It costs $75 to submit the sample). The examination fee is $250.
- SEO Copywriting Certification offered by SuccessWorks. This certification requires that you take online classes. It takes three months to complete the program, but students have lifetime access to the lessons and updates. The cost is $769 (includes the classes).
- Udemy Content Marketing Certification. This certification only costs $99. It requires you to listen to 23 lectures totaling 17 hours.
For more information on certifications, check out our guide on How to Include Certifications on Your Resume the Right Way.
7. Pick the Right Template
Now it’s time for the fun part -- picking the aesthetics of your resume!
Here at EasyResume, we offer several different templates.
- Academic: these resumes are professionally structured with minimal aesthetics in order to provide a clear and concise glimpse of your experiences. This is best for current students or those looking to pursue a career in an academic field as a researcher or teacher.
- Creative: these resumes are bold and colorful with eye-catching fonts to help you stand out from the crowd. This is best for those in creative fields like marketing and art.
- Elegant: these resumes are contemporary and stylish in a way that highlights you and your experiences. This is best for those in fields that prefer austerity, such as the healthcare and finance industries.
- Modern: these resumes have sleek designs that are fresh and bold with tasteful fonts and clean lines. This is best for individuals applying to startups or to companies with a young audience or product.
- Professional: these resumes have a clean, crisp look that incorporates only one or two accent colors. The focus is solely on the text, pulling the recruiter into your experiences and accomplishments. This is best for individuals applying to straight-laced companies that mandate a suit-and-tie dress code.
Your resume template should reflect the job to which you’re applying. For a Freelance Writing career, almost any of these will work. We recommend our Professional or Creative templates!
If you want to create your own template, read how with our Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create a Resume Template in Microsoft Word.
We’ve done it! Almost.
Now it’s time to get down to business -- actually creating the resume.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Research the job description to locate keywords
- Use a Reverse-Chronological or Functional resume layout, depending on the trajectory of your career
- Write your resume summary, including the clients you’ve worked for and the topics you’ve covered. You can also add a Resume Objective
- Include your education and relevant certifications
- Write your experience section in a way that any outsider could understand. Talk more about the how and why of your responsibilities. Quantify your results.
- Pick a resume template that fits the position to which you’re applying.
Start from our resume example to save time.
Good luck and have fun writing your next piece!
*The certifications listed in this article were adapted from “Writing Thoughts”