You know how to write, so we won’t waste your time telling you that you need to use active verbs and strong descriptors. What we will do is give you the structure and reasoning behind each part of your freelance writer resume so you can build your client base and grab those well-paying assignments!
The power of Resume.io is our resume guides and resume examples for 300+ professions, along with an easy-to-use resume builder. Let us help you build your portfolio and impress editors with a freelance writer resume that shines the on spotlight on your writing and research skills.
This resume guide, along with the corresponding resume example will cover the following topics:
- What does a freelance writer do?
- How to write a freelance writer resume (tips and tricks)
- The best format for a freelance writer resume
- Advice on each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional resume layout and design hints.
What does a freelance writer do?
Freelance writers build a list of clients and perform a variety of writing services for them. Many freelancers develop a niche and cater to clients within that niche, while others write for a range of businesses and media.
Freelancers may generate their own story ideas and then pitch them to different media outlets or they may work for clients who assign them pieces to write. They may specialize in marketing, business content, health and medicine, or any of hundreds of topics, but they key is building a portfolio of work and soliciting new work.
How much does a freelance writer earn? That’s a tough question to answer. Some freelance writers, especially when they are starting out, earn very little as they build their experience. Other accomplished freelancers may earn more than $100,000.
The median hourly pay for freelance writers is $23.90 per hour, according to Payscale, and as someone who works for themselves, you can choose how many hours to work.
Freelance writer job market and outlook
The market for freelance writers depends heavily on your niche. Freelance writing and editing fell in at No. 7 for most job listings on FlexJobs in 2020 and the company expects that trend to continue, CNBC reported.
In general, the freelance work style makes up more than one-third of the workforce. In the past year, 59 million Americans performed some sort of freelance work, according to Freelance Forward 2020 by Upwork. Of those, 17% describe their work as writing, journalism or content services. Another 33% classified themselves as creative.
Top freelance writing niches
Looking to make the most out of your freelance writing career? These are the niches that command high payment:
- Long-form blog posts
- White papers
- Sales or landing pages
- Video scripts
- Academic content
- Email sequences
- Press releases
- Business plans
- Case studies
How to write a freelance writer resume
We’re not talking about the words here, but the sections that structure your freelance writer resume. Your resume sample should contain the following elements:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
A successful freelancer resume entices prospective clients to read your clips. When you write, you sometimes maintain the voice of your client and at other times, you employ your personal writing voice and style. Choose the appropriate tone for each prospective client and follow it throughout all the sections of your resume. Make sure your message (I am the perfect person for this job!) comes through clearly.
Then, use the following strategies to make the most impressive statement you can:
- The editor or hiring manager is your audience; write specifically for that person.
- Give a professional image visually by choosing a resume template and design that adds a bit of flare, but projects efficiency and responsibility.
- When submitting online, optimize your resume with appropriate keywords so it won’t be filtered out by ATS screening software.
Don’t get caught by the ATS
When you make online submissions, you may be “seen” first by an Applicant Tracking System. This software uses algorithms to filter out candidates based on keywords, phrases and other data the employer has tagged to the job listing.
To help get your resume into the hands of the person who can assign you work, make sure you analyze the job listing and requirements and plug those keywords and phrases into your resume (when appropriate, or course).
Choosing the best resume format for a freelance writer
As a freelance writer, the final judgment on you will be your clips, so you make sure you choose a resume builder such as ours that allows you to link to your portfolio. That aside, you should use a modified version of the standard reverse chronological order format. For you, that means listing clients or publications from your latest on back.
If you are a freelance writer with deep technical or niche knowledge, you may try a functional resume format, but be aware that recruiters favor reverse chronological order.
For writers who have just taken the plunge into freelancing or are just beginning their careers, you may consider a functional resume format which doesn't list previous employers, or a hybrid format which begins with a skills or experience section before featuring a shorter work history section.
Resume summary example: your pitch
Working as a freelance writer means selling yourself over and over again, so you should have a great idea of how to develop this section. You want to start with your biggest client successes or most celebrated writing work. Then, use your writers’ voice to explain why you are the right person for this particular job.
You only have two or three sentences, but especially if you are in marketing or another writing field that requires quick attention-getters, you shouldn’t struggle with this. Just don’t sell yourself short. Talk up your ability to make tight deadlines or your technical expertise. You know you can do the job, so tell your prospect client!
If you need a little more guidance, check out our other relate resume samples, like this freelancer resume example, or if you’re a newsperson, our journalist resume example may fit the bill. Ever try your hand at the movies? We also have a screenwriter resume sample for your perusal. Our content writer resume sample may also get your creative juices flowing.
See the resume example text for a summary below.
Passionate Freelance Writer with several years of experience writing for a variety of businesses, platforms, and media sources. Adept in developing original content based on the needs of a client, and committed to writing with integrity and a dedication to craft. Bringing forth valuable experience serving as a content creator for high-traffic blogs and websites. Capable of writing about a variety of topics and skilled in performing research and achieving ultimate preparedness for a job.
Employment history sample: your career headlines
Your employment history section may look a bit different, especially if you have been at it for a while. Instead of listing employers, you should list clients and the work you have produced for them. They can click the link to your portfolio to read your clips.
You may want to rename this section “Client history,” “Client list” or “Publications,” depending on your exact circumstances.
You may think of this more as a publication history if you work for many different media outlets. The idea is to show who you write for and what type of writing you do. Offer a brief description of both your relationship to the client when appropriate and the actual writing.
See the adaptable resume example content below.
- Worked to deliver interesting and innovative blog content on a weekly basis.
- Performed interviews and compiled data in an organized way.
- Worked to foster relationships with people who provide information for articles.
- Connected with readers and monitored feedback from them.
- Remained in close contact with the website developer about needs and goals.
- Effectively managed my time and continually worked to deliver compelling creative content.
CV skills section example: where’s your expertise?
Why do you need a skills section? After all, these attributes appear in your summary and work history sections. You need this section of your freelance writer resume because it allows prospective clients to quickly decide whether you’re a great candidate without drilling further down into your document.
When you write, you may be asked to create a bulleted list of key points. That’s your skills section. It is here that you highlight the knowledge and expertise that you bring to the job. This section is easily tailored to help you get past the ATS and also to show that you understand exactly what skills are relevant to the assignment.
See the resume example text for a skills section below.
- Advanced Writing Skills
- Excellent Spelling and Grammar
- Time Management Skills
- Research Skills
- Interview Skills
- Content Creation Skills
Freelance writer resume education example
Freelance writers come from all types of backgrounds, so all your education is relevant. That’s especially true if you are writing about the subject(s) you studied in school.
List all your degrees and certifications here. Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. If you hold a degree higher than a bachelor’s degree, you may leave out your high school.
If you have room while sticking with a one- or two-page format, you may consider adding any of the following sections if they apply:
- Awards and accolades
- Professional affiliations
Steer clear of personal information such as hobbies. If you hobby gives you a skill that will boost your candidacy, put that into your skills section.
See the resume example content below for formatting.
- 2001-2005 Hofstra University, Associate of Communications Hempstead, NY
- 1997-2001 St. Peter's Academy, High School Diploma NY, NY
Resume layout and design: your lede
Writers spend a lot of time on the first sentence of their work for a reason: first impressions matter. They matter even more in the layout and design of your resume sample. You need to convey a professional, organized image visually as well as in words.
If your freelance writer resume is cluttered, unclear or disorganized (and certainly if it has any spelling or grammatical errors), your prospective client is likely to wonder if your writing or research are the same.
Here are a few tips to keep the look clean:
- Stick with classic, easy-to-read fonts.
- Use color sparingly or not at all.
- Do not include a photo or any graphics. If any of your work includes those elements, link to them through your portfolio.
- You have an editor (or use an editing program), so do the same with your resume. Make sure you have a friend or colleague proofread before you hit send.
- Consider using one of our resume templates, where the most tedious formatting tasks are a done deal.
Key takeaways for a freelance writer resume
- The freelance writing markets is one of the a top 10 hottest freelance segments in terms of job listings.
- You’re a writer, so apply your craft to ensure your tone, style and message are targeted to each prospective clients’ needs.
- Use keywords and phrases to your advantage to help avoid the ATS filter.
- Avail yourself of our online resume builder to make save time your time for your clients!