Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Freelancers, Do You Ever Use a Resume?

It’s pretty common for editors to request clips from new-to-them writers. Many freelancers don’t wait to be asked—some automatically send samples along with queries and most almost always send them along with LOI’s. I’ve done the same many times. But twice in the last few months I was asked for something new for me—a resume.

I have a professional, non-writing-focused resume, but it never dawned on me to have one for freelancing. Awhile back I started a comprehensive CV where I list all of my clips, which now amounts to about 5 pages and is a little too lengthy to send to every editor that requests it (since most resumes are a page, 2 pages max.) But I update the CV as needed because it helps me to keep track of my clips and, should anyone ever want to see the beast, well, it’s right there if I need it.

I did some reading and, as usual, found mixed views on using a straightforward, traditional resume. Some freelancers use them and others rely more on their websites and samples to land work. It didn't seem like a bad idea to have one on hand, so I started from scratch and put something together for this particular editor. Instead of listing everything I’ve done from A-Z, I grouped my links by category and tried to include as many relevant clips as possible. Then a second editor requested the resume, so I just made some adjustments to what I had. I’m just wrapping up my first assignment for the second editor (still going back and forth with the first one), so I’d say it was worth it.

What about you? Do you have a freelancing resume? Has it helped to secure work? What tips or advice would you offer?


  1. If you’ve been unemployed for a while, you probably know how mind-numbing unemployment can be. Instead of just waiting around for the “perfect” job opportunity, you should just take a job that will get you by. A flexible part-time job means that you have the opportunity to check out new full-time jobs as they come up, but it also means you have something to stay busy and pay the bills. Delivering pizzas, mowing lawns, or walking dogs – none of these is beneath you. As long as you’re working to put food on the table and a roof overhead, you can be proud of your accomplishments.

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  2. Yes, I have several different versions of my resume depending on the context (for instance, for blogging gigs, copywriting gigs, business journalism gigs, etc). I published a blog post awhile back about why freelancers should have a resume, even though many clients won't ask to see it.

  3. What do you do when you have not had much work and someone asks you for this type of resume?!

  4. Jamie, if your portfolio is a bit thin, you can probably get away with listing your clips right on the resume, much as you would with any other type of professional experience. If you have other skills that might stand out to an editor (such as experience with photography or web design), add that info, as well. And keep in mind that most editors are perfectly happy to receive links to a few of your best clips, so you may not even need a full-on resume right now. Most editors simply want to know that you can write.