There is some (much) debate in the freelancer world over whether or not you should have to submit resumes for freelancing jobs. Isn’t a resume for an employee? There are valid arguments both for and against the freelance writer resume, but is there a definitive answer?
Yes and no.
Arguments Against Creating a Freelance Writer Resume
The gig economy of freelance writing is different than the typical 9-5 business world. Freelancers tend to value a flexible work style and run their business on their own terms. Why should landing a job be any different?
It tells me the prospect may be inexperienced in working with freelancers. This can be problematic for several reasons. First of all, the prospect may be taking an “employer/employee” view of the relationship. They may be coming in with an expectation to specify when I perform the work, when I’m available to take their calls, etc. Second, they also may not understand the procedural aspects of working with a contractor.Elizabeth Hanes
Freelance writers are independent contractors who are sought out for their unique skills and talents that provide value and solve problems for clients. Because of this, many freelancers recognize and argue that these clients do not care about a freelancer’s education and past employment. What they do care about is what you can produce.
Many of those opposed the traditional freelance writer resume claim that this format does not truly capture the nature of freelance work.
Freelance writers are inherently creative, dynamic and innovative, they have their own unique writing style and voice. A resume simply doesn’t demonstrate these qualities, merely telling what they can do whereas a freelancer would much rather show you.
Therefore, many freelancers prioritize their portfolio over having a resume.
Whether or not you have a resume, as a freelance writer a portfolio is essential
An online writing portfolio is an invaluable tool that freelancers can use to display their best work, personality and services to potential clients. This type of platform lets these prospective clients get a close look at the freelancer’s style and abilities, giving a better indication on whether they would be a good fit for the gig than looking at a basic resume.
Along these lines, many believe that having a robust social media presence and LinkedIn profile will serve just as well if not better than a resume in the freelance writing world. Where everything is about connections, freelancers who prioritize building up their followings on various platforms and providing value to their audience will often find lots of work opportunities through followers, word of mouth and mutual connections.
Dare to ditch the resume for a portfolio and social media presence? Let’s first look at the flip side of the coin.
Argument For a Freelance Writer Resume
I don’t want to be an employee, why should I have a resume?
Well, many argue that a resume is not only valuable for people looking for a typical day job. A resume is a snapshot of your background, skills, experience and achievements all in one convenient place.
Long answer short—YES! A big yes! You need a resume to showcase your experience, education, and technical knowledge in brief and present to the employer or a prospective client that you are a professional who keeps on updating their resume.Viraj Mahajan
Every clients and assignments are different and in many cases, freelancers won’t be asked for a resume.
Do you want to give up a great opportunity just because it asks for a resume? Probably not.
Crafting a professional resume and keeping it updated does not take very much time or effort but can definitely come in handy. Then when a great opportunity arrives that requires a resume, you will be ready to apply and land the assignment.
A portfolio is undoubtedly valuable, but why not have both a freelance writing resume and portfolio? Don’t forget about the social media and LinkedIn profiles! You don’t have to make any sacrifices here, you can have it all!
The more tools you have in your toolbox the better.
Think about how can you leverage a simple one or two-page freelance writer resume to demonstrate the immense value you can offer in your area of expertise. Freelancers are creative and outside-the-box thinkers, so why not rethink the resume?
Instead of following a traditional format, listing past jobs and education in chronological order, try breathing new life into this age-old document. Focus on highlighting your skills and accomplishments to get potential clients excited to check out your portfolio.
Tips for Optimizing Your Resume, Portfolio and Profiles
Whether you choose to focus on your resume, portfolio, social media profiles, all or a combination of them, let’s look at some tips for optimizing these tools.
Freelance Writer Resume
Focus on experience, not titles: Instead of listing job titles in chronological order to fit the mold of a traditional resume, focus on your skills and experience.
Fill the bulk of your resume with descriptions of the various projects you have worked on to show your experience in your freelance writing niche.
Highlight achievements: Beyond the duties and responsibilities, what impact has your writing had? Be sure to shine a spotlight on any awards, recognitions, prestigious bylines and competitions you have garnered.
Be clear about your niche: To attract your ideal client it is important to have a specialized niche. Use your resume to show that you are an expert in your field.
Show off your best work: Your portfolio should be a carefully curated collection of your best bylines and writing samples. Having a range of high-quality work to show potential clients gives them a good idea of your voice, style and what they can expect when they work with you.
Include testimonials: Social proof is an invaluable asset in the freelance world. Reach out to previous clients who would be able to provide a glowing review of you and your work to give future clients that extra vote of confidence.
Provide context: Instead of simply having your work displayed on your portfolio, take the extra time to provide context. Offer some insights into your process and the goals of each piece to help create clarity for prospective clients.
Optimize your LinkedIn: LinkedIn is not only for people looking for 9-5 jobs, it is a fantastic networking hub for freelancers and job seekers alike. LinkedIn acts similarly to a resume where you should be highlighting any education, past employment, skills and experiences that are relevant to your industry.
Keeping your profile up to date and optimized will help people find and connect with you through mutual connections or in-demand skills that can land you gigs. Be sure to showcase your freelance writing services in your profile bio.
Compelling bio: Whatever social media platforms you use, having a stand-out bio is key. The bio is often the first thing prospective followers and clients will see. It is your virtual business card and elevator pitch all rolled into one small package. Make the most of it!
Make sure to include things like your niche, keywords, contact info, links and calls to action that are consistent across your multiple platforms.
Keep it up to date: Keep in the habit of regularly updating all of your platforms. This includes updating your bio, regularly posting and taking advantage of any new features that become available.
In the freelance writing world, the debate over the necessity of a formal resume. Maybe submitting a resume for each job feels right for you. Maybe you feel better having one in your back pocket in case it comes in handy. Or perhaps you don’t see the value of a freelance writer resume in your niche. No matter what side of the fence you are on, do what is best for you and your freelance writing career.