As a writer, you may feel like you’ve already got this whole resume writing thing in the bag.

After all, it’s just another writing gig, right?

Not exactly.

Resumes follow a specific format and contain particular information presented in a particular way that can enhance or subtract from your chances of landing a job.

So, though you are already an awesome writer, this article will give you the information you need to produce a steller writing resume.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a writer resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best writer resume you possibly can.

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Writer Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Maude Cartwright
MCartwright@email.com
1 (575) 555-0055
123 Gibson Ln. Cincinnati, OH 41073
linkedin.com/maudecartwright

Summary Statement:

Professional Writer: An experienced and versatile writer with a background in marketing and copywriting. Excels in creative thinking, idea generation, time management and attention to detail, resulting in quality, high-value content on deadline.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Hootsuite
  • SEO Best Practices
  • Time Management
  • Mailchimp
  • Content Management Systems
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Content Curation
  • Google Drive

Professional Experience:

ABC Marketing | Copywriter
Cincinnati, OH | October 2013-Present

  • Participated as an active member of the marketing team, particularly in ideation of on-brand messaging
  • Wrote crisp, clean copy for a variety of digital platforms including web pages, blogs, and newsletters
  • Researched industry trends and presented findings to agency

Small Town Magazine | Staff Writer
Columbus, OH | October 20011-October 2013

  • Conducted interviews and adapted content in to long-form copy
  • Proofread every issue before publication
  • Managed many long-form assignments at a time, completed on deadline

Spaz Social | Social Media Intern
Columbus, OH | May 2011 – October 2011

  • Scheduled social media posts via Hootsuite on a monthly basis
  • Collaborated with marketing team to create fresh, engaging content
  • Analyzed and organized social media trends for high engagement

Education

Bachelor Of Arts In English
Marketing Concentration, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Class of 2011

Formatting

As a writer in the digital age, good formatting is already a part of your skill set.

You understand the basics of good readability, such as legible fonts, clearly visible headers, and well-aligned and organized information.

Apply those skills to your resume and you’ll be gold.

Avoid making any layout decisions that will make your resume odd, outlandish, or difficult to read.

Remember, you’ll have about 6 seconds to make an impression, so a sloppy or unprofessional looking resume will likely land you in the discard pile before you can say, “but wait, I’m amazing!.”

The Importance of Your Resume Summary

The top of the page is the first place that’s looked, and therefore the most valuable area of your resume.

This is where you’ll put your resume summary.

Your summary will be a succinct collection of your top selling points.

It should also grab their attention immediately.

How do you write this magical piece of copy?

Let’s dive in and look at some examples of summary statements for writers:

Yes!

An experienced and versatile writer with a background in marketing and copywriting. Excels in creative thinking, idea generation, time management and attention to detail, resulting in quality, high-value content on deadline.

No!

Experienced writer for hire looking for work in marketing and content creation. Good at grammar, microsoft word, and blogging.

The first example utilizes power words that really paint a picture of your skillset, in addition to specific examples of your competencies and experiences, using only two sentences.

The second example uses weak language, is overly general, and doesn’t list any specific skills or qualifications that can be considered impressive or desirable.

Key Accomplishments/ Skills & Qualifications

We know we have to catch the hiring manager’s attention quickly. And we know the resume summary is critical for summing up your best qualities.

The issue is–succinct though it may be–your summary is still text-dense.

For this reason, we recommend adding a second part to your resume summary section; your Key Accomplishments list.

Your unique skills are what make you particularly valuable and different from the rest of the applicants.

You may have a proficiency with a particular content curation tool or interface that the company’s blog is built on for instance, and having that experience could really tip the scales in your favor.

For the sake of maximum readability, your skills section should be formatted as a list of bullet points.

This ensures that, even if the hiring manager doesn’t read your excellent summary statement, they will still get an accurate snapshot of your skills.

Example:

  • Hootsuite
  • SEO Best Practices
  • Time Management
  • Content Management Systems
  • MailChimp
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Content Curation
  • Google Drive

Now you’ll want to think through your skillset.

“Skills” are usually put into two categories; Hard Skills and Soft Skills.

Hard skills are things that are teachable and easy to quantify.

For instance, knowing a particular CMS, or content curation tool.

Hard skills are usually things you’ve learned in a classroom or on the job.

Soft skills however, are harder to quantify.

They can also be referred to as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills.”

These competencies are more subjective and include things like problem solving, communication, and leadership.

Include the strongest and most relevant hard and soft skills you have on your resume.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested hard and soft skills to include in your resume.)

Writing Your Work Experience

Next up is your work history, the real “meat’ of the resume.

You may be wondering what exactly to include and how to lay it all out in your document.

The reverse chronological order format is usually a good choice.

If you’re a freelancer or your work has been more project focused, you may want to opt for a different format–one that will highlight the publications you’ve written for, the clients you’ve had, or the projects you’ve completed as opposed to a more traditional work history.

With the standard reverse chronological format , your work experience should begin with your most recent position first, working your way backwards through your work history.

Stick to relevant job experience whenever possible.

For instance, the summer you worked as a tour guide probably won’t be relevant, unless part of your job was writing promotional materials or something else that will build on your skill set as a writer.

You may have to include not-so-relevant experience if you are a new graduate or returning to work after a long gap, but keep it within the bounds of the content industry as much as possible.

Always include the name of the company you worked for, the city where they are located, and what role you performed there.

Next, the “meat” of your work experience should be outlining the specific tasks and responsibilities you had at previous positions.

Add 3-5 bullet points for every position, being mindful of space and careful not to repeat yourself.

Yes!

ABC Marketing | Cincinnati, OH | Copywriter

  • Participated as a member of the marketing team, including in ideation of on-brand messaging
  • Wrote crisp, clean copy for a variety of digital platforms including web pages and blogs 
  • Researched industry trends and presented findings to agency

No!

Copywriter, 2013-2015

  • Wrote Content
  • Experienced in Microsoft Word
  • Experienced in writing blogs
  • I have great ideas

The first example is specific and informative, starting each bullet point off with a different action word that conveys strength and competence.

The second is repetitive, general, and uses first person language, which is a resume writing no-no.

PRO TIP: Use the job description to determine which action words they are looking for and utilize them on your writer resume. These keywords will help both bots and hiring managers align your skill set with the job role.

More About Bots

It’s very common these days for employers to use what is called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) during the hiring process.

An ATS is an automated system designed to flag resumes for potentially good candidates based on specific keywords.

This is another reason why analyzing the job description is so important; the words they use to describe the job here are likely the same words the ATS is programmed to flag.

In an attempt to add more keywords, some resume writers suggest writing your work experience out as paragraphs.

You may be able to add more keywords this way, but it will make your writer resume significantly less readable.

You can gamble on your Key Accomplishments and Summary being enough to get the attention of the hiring manager, but you’re taking a risk if the meat of your work history is too text-heavy.

To break it down, here are examples of both formats:

Standard bullet point format:

ABC Marketing | Cincinnati, OH, | Copywriter | October 2013-Present

  • Participated as an active member of the marketing team, particularly in ideation of on-brand messaging
  • Wrote crisp, clean copy for a variety of digital platforms including web pages, blogs, and newsletters
  • Researched industry trends and presented findings to agency

Paragraph format:

Produced crisp, clean copy for a variety of digital platforms including web pages, blogs, newsletters, and product descriptions in addition to researching industry trends and participating in idea generation and on-brand messaging as an active member of the marketing team.

Ultimately how you format your work history is up to you, but we recommend going with the easily-readable standard bullet list approach.

Writing Your Education Section

Your education section lists your educational background and other relevant certifications or training you might have.

Include the level of your degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, etc.), what field of study your degree is in, and the institution you earned your degree from.

Also add your minors and concentrations if you have them and your graduation date.

Example:

Bachelor of Arts in English, Marketing Concentration
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Class of 2010

You should also make mention of any certifications, classes, workshops, or conferences you have gained knowledge and skills from.

For instance, if you completed an e-course in SEO or a certificate in Technical writing.

Example:

  • SEO Training Course, Udemy
  • Certificate of Technical Writing, Shawnee State University

Possible Sections to Include

If you have space left on your resume and/or other areas of interest that don’t fall in to the other categories, you can consider adding more sections.

Some of the sections you could include are:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

What if You Have no Experience?

If you are a new grad or making a career change in to writing, your relevant work experience won’t be as robust as someone already working in the field.

If this is the case, you’ll still want to begin your writer resume with a strong statement, but move your education section under your summary or objective as opposed to placing it after your work history.

At this point in your writing career, your education is going to be your strongest asset.

You’re a blank page, ready to be filled with a scintillating career in writing and are all fired up to show them what you’re made of.

When writing your work history, craft your bullet points to be as closely related to the writing job you’re applying for as possible.

For instance, if you worked at a front desk in college you likely have organization, data entry, and communication skills, all of which are relevant to a career in writing.

Spend some time thinking through your selling points and utilize them.

Were you part of any relevant clubs?

Did you write for your school paper?

Have you been contributing to a community newsletter?

Have people come to you for proofreading and editing needs?

All of these things count as valuable experience.

You likely have more experience with writing skills than you realize, so don’t sell yourself short.

Resume Points to Remember

Always include your contact information

This includes your LinkedIn profile and email address.

Use prime real estate wisely

Put your most important points in your summary at the top of the page and don’t waste valuable space.

Start each bullet point with a different power word

Display an array of skills by using different power words to start each bullet point.

Try to Avoid

Don’t use first person language

Avoid using “I” or “me” in your writer resume content, especially in your summary and bullet points.

Keep it to one page

We’ve talked about how little time a hiring manager will spend with your resume initially several times in this article, but truly, you don’t want to hand them a novel when one succinct, specific, well organized document will do the job. Stick to what’s relevant and trim out the rest.

Don’t repeat power words

Power words are your friend, but don’t re-use the same ones over and over. There are many strong, descriptive words at your disposal–don’t be afraid to use them!

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested power words.)

Don’t use outlandish fonts

Avoid making wild and outlandish formatting decisions unless specifically instructed to do so in the job application.

Helpful Tools:

Writer Resume Power Words

  • Administered
  • Founded
  • Adept
  • Formulated
  • Built
  • Implemented
  • Created
  • Improved
  • Consolidated
  • Initiated
  • Coordinated
  • Launched
  • Developed
  • Pioneered
  • Designed
  • Organized

Writer Resume Skills List

Hard Skills Soft Skills
HTML Flexibility
WordPress Communication Skills
Photoshop Problem Solving
Google Analytics Teamwork
AP Style Leadership