The deck can seem stacked against you when you’re just starting a freelance side hustle . You write every day — emails, documents, maybe even a personal blog — but you don’t yet have clips. You aren’t a pro. When you’re in this position, getting that first freelance gig that pays can seem out of reach. Yet it doesn’t need to be. Here are the sample resume freelance writing tips I’ve used, and advised friends to use, to tweak their resume for freelance writing jobs. If you need to get your first writing gig and begin earning income on the side, read on.
New Freelance? Here’s How to Tweak Your Resume With Writing Skills You Already Have
A resume and cover letter, you’ve got them… kinda.
You just need to update them to reflect your new freelance writing gig. But how can you update them to reflect work that you don’t yet get paid to do?
If you haven’t yet gotten paid to be a writer, how can you begin to call yourself one on your resume?
With freelance writing as with anything, your resume will change and grow as your skills develop. You are about to take steps to begin getting paid for your writing and getting the experience you need.
For now, your resume can reflect all the freelancer skills you already employ as part of your day job. If you’re freelancing fresh out of college or grad school, substitute your academic career for day job.
Freelance Writing Skills You Probably Do at Your Day Job
There are many common skills that translate well to a freelance writing career – skills you’re probably already getting paid to do.
Skills top freelancers use every day that you probably do at your day job include:
- Writing (of any type – memos, grants, blog posts, presentation text, emails, papers, reports, etc.) – What have you written as part of your job? Did you deliver top-notch content on a tight turnaround time, or overhaul old and outdated language? Did you write a weekly blog for your student group? Were you in charge of the team newsletter?
- Researching – How often did you need to research information for environmental reports, presentations, conferences, papers, or meetings? Are you skilled at researching for travel planning, parenting, or anything else? This counts.
- Editing – Did you develop a reputation for pointing out spelling mistakes in newspaper articles, blog posts, or personal writing? Were you asked to “look things over” by colleagues, your children, or your peers?
- Blogging – Did you write content for business blogs, or blog on your own time? Don’t be afraid to share your personal blog, with a caveat. Clients may peruse your blog. If there’s anything you’d be embarrassed to have them find, do not link to your blog.
- Promoting content on social media – Were you in charge of promoting business content on social media accounts? Do you regularly share content on your personal accounts, have thousands of followers in Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, or otherwise engaging in social sharing? Businesses want bloggers who can create and share content to wide audiences. If you have high social influence, this is absolutely translatable.
To illustrate what I mean, here are some bullets from my freelance writing resume:
Wrote documentation and maintained internal wiki on lab equipment, procedures, and resources.
This is a bullet from my position working in a usability lab. Since I do a lot of B2B technology writing for corporate clients, this bullet showcases my comfort and familiarity with tech terms – while highlighting my writing skills.
Here’s another example.
Reviewed, created and revised technology content for _____ course to generate user‐centric instructional content that covers core technology competencies for incoming students
This is from a freelance gig I scored revising e-course content for a college technology skills requirement. The copy shows my familiarity with e-learning and e-courses, as well as my ability to create user-friendly instructional content in the desired voice of the institution (my client).
You don’t need to copy these bullets. Instead write out detailed, thoughtful blurbs to these skills prompts that reflect your experience.
Feel free to brainstorm on your own about other skills that may apply. Be creative and expansive here.
Rounding Out Sample Resume Freelance Writing With Relevant Skills
If you’re targeting a particular niche, like legal writing, include other skills that are relevant to legal clients. For example, that LSAT prep, paralegal position, or political campaign work may be a natural tie-in for the niche you’re targeting.
As a general rule, add in anything else that makes you seem like an expert in that area.
If you want to break into a niche freelancing for sports blog and you’ve won the office March Madness pool for the last 4 years running, that’s an applicable and fun anecdote to reveal. Plus, working through this list can give you a needed confidence boost.
Write it all down, even if you aren’t quite sure how to tie everything into a cohesive resume. You’ll narrow down your ideas into a targeted resume or cover letter later on.
Yes, you’ll end up writing more than you need. But the extra information you generate can be a natural kick-start to your cover letter.
Crafting Your Freelance Writer Resume Position
Using your existing resume, your relevant skills, and the sample resume freelance writer language above, add an additional bullet point to your existing positions to include those writing-specific achievements you’ve done.
Then create a new position of Freelance Writer and list out your accomplishments writing, blogging, and editing content. If you don’t have a blog yet, start one and list your blogging skills. You may feel self-conscious as a new freelance writer, but don’t worry. You’re about to start building up your skills, and then you’ll have much more to add to your resume.
Use the results of your brainstorm to develop a cover letter or client pitch letter that you can modify as needed. At this point, you don’t have a lot of specific writing experience, so you’ll be drawing on the same core set of skills in each cover letter and highlighting your fit with the specific gig through a targeted paragraph.
Want to know how to write a great client pitch that showcases your writing skills and your familiarity with a given niche, and puts you on a client’s shortlist? Then you need this FREE pitch letter template with detailed examples.
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