February 9, 2016

Essential Ingredients for a Freelance Writing Resume

The essential ingredients for any resume — whether an architect, engineer, nurse, marketing manager or freelance writer career story — are the same:

  • Captivating, focused Summary or Profile that crisply touts your value and is punctuated with meaty messages targeting your audience
  • Metrics-enriched stories woven amidst a Performance Overview (Professional Experience) section that exude abilities in solving problems and fulfilling a void.
  • Nuance, injecting your differentiating personality flavors into accomplishments stories.
  • Several dashes of color, marketing to the reader’s eyes and ears, visually and auditorily.
freelance writing resume

Use your words to court resume reviewers.

Resumes represent career marketing documents, regardless of whether your audience is a corporate marketing manager, publisher, agent or editor, etc. You must use your words to court whomever will review your resume. This is the time to really sell YOU, employing the writing talent you have innately and rigorously refined and perfected.

Organize Your Story

While freelance writers may move from story to story, editor to editor and project to project, your resume needn’t appear to be disjointed or scattered. An essential key to creating career symmetry as a freelancer is to organize groups of your writing assignments beneath headlines with lead-in bullets or paragraphs that collectively introduce your topics. For example, if you wish to focus on the niche industries in which you write; e.g., finance, healthcare, politics, etc., then showcase sector-related stories and lead in with appropriate sub-headings. If you want to zero in on the type of content you write; e.g., blog posts, news articles, website copy, sales and marketing collateral, business proposals, grants, corporate and business writing, and so forth, then ensure you focus headlines and/or sub-headlines on those areas.

Create Strategic Marketing Communications

Think strategic writing, and include only those writing assignments that you feel will best sell your value going forward. Trim out stories and other writing work that you sense will not lift your career cause going forward. Think about what’s in it for the audience you intend to court while also bearing in mind what matters most for YOUR career advancement.

Full disclosure on your resume is not required. Think marketing document, not legal document. While you willbe truthful (of course!), you needn’t articulate every detail of your career. As in any courtship, this career communication should lead with and be driven by your most relevant qualifications and qualities that will drive a potential hiring decision-maker to speak with you further.

Show You Will Provide Return on Investment

Make it easy, through resume design and organization, for the reader to understand how your career promise measurably relieves his business pain. For example, let’s assume you write monthly articles for an online news outlet that expects a minimum of 1,000 page views per article. Assuming you typically meet or exceeded those goals, then you want to weave that accomplishment into your resume; e.g., “Achieved 150% of monthly goal, generating an average 1,500 pageviews per article on a goal of 1,000.”

Remember, your resume sells your value to someone by proving, through past similar activities, that you can provide a return-on-investment. In addition to well-articulated achievements stories, include an overview of publications, articles, blog posts and other content you have written, organized for easy scanning by the reader, and incorporating clickable links, where available. These resume success strategies and tips are designed to support your goals in creating a freelance resume that influences. You can differentiate your value and stand out from other writers by creating interesting, storytelling communications that entice the reader to know more, and ultimately, invite you to start your next writing gig tomorrow!

About Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Jacqui Barrett Poindexter provides expert professional resume writing and career coaching services to clients globally. Selected as a Monster 11 for 2011 Career Expert, Jacqui can weave your story into a resume that captivates hiring managers and lands those elusive dream gigs. Visit her website at CareerTrend or follow her on Twitter at ValueIntoWords for more info about putting the fabulous in your freelance resume.


  1. Good stuff! I include my logo and contact information in the top, right corner. I also don’t stress out about how long my resume is. I know most people say to keep it to one to two pages, but others have said that it’s okay to go over two pages. Usually, a CV is more than one page. Thoughts…

    • I’ve had the very same query about my freelancer resume. I want to makeover my res into something a bit edgier, totally digital, and sparkle-worthy.Jacqui’s answer to the conundrum quelled my worries. I don’t think I’m going to use a traditional printable resume. It’s just so passe for my purposes (i.e. I simply don’t want to do it, passe or not) *wink*

      • Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter says:

        “… a bit edgier, totally digital, and sparkle-worthy!” <– I love it! And, I'm so glad I could help quell your concerns. Your next-phase resume story is going to be a sizzler, I know!

  2. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter says:

    Good morning, Amandah,
    Thank you for your kind remarks and value-add information. Including your logo and contact information is great. In fact, I’d advise adding links to one’s personal or business website, LinkedIn profile and such in the contact area, as long as they are updated and targeted to the resume audience.

    I believe we are of like minds regarding resume length. The folklore around resumes needing to be restricted to some arbitrary length rule needs to be banished. As long as the first page, and in particular, the Profile section showcase key areas of value in a way that provides a snapshot overview of your career/USP at the top of the resume, then the story can continue onto a second or third page. It’s all about focusing the story and providing relevant information that will compel the reader. Context–including the ‘how’ and ‘why’–adds to the length. Like with other writing, stripping a resume of context, detracts from the overall impact.

    Thanks so much for extending the conversation, Amandah!


  3. Jaqui, I’ve noticed some applications ask for either a resume or LinkedIn profile, what are your thoughts on that? I love your dash of color suggestion to make it stand out.
    Lisa recently posted..Is Twitter Becoming More Like Google?My Profile

    • Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter says:

      Hi Lisa.
      Interesting that you’ve seen some applications ask for either/or. I’d always include a resume, and then weave the ‘link’ to your LinkedIn profile into the resume, unless they absolutely insist on LinkedIn ‘only.’ Because LinkedIn is so vital to job search/career expansion, I always recommend people keep it fresh, current and differentiated from their resume. In other words, to not treat it as a mini-me resume. I’ve written several posts on this; probably the one most relevant to this conversation is http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/writing-linkedin-profile-resume/.

      Are these the thoughts you were looking for, Lisa?

      Thanks for the kind remark re: dashes of color!


  4. Thank you for a most informative and eye-opener post which triggered some changes to my resume! I was going to apply for a couple of jobs and this was very timely. Today I started revamping my existing resume using some key words in red (why not highlight I once temped at Amex? Not bad as a first “real” office job) and added a brief profile / bio written in a kind of a creative way ~ seemingly spontaneous, honest but responsive to what clients need. In a few days, I will start spreading the spontaneous new-self when applying through jobs and see if I catch anyone’s attention! :):):)
    Samantha, I love your idea for non-printable resume!

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