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Writer Resume: Examples and Tips

Professional writers produce engaging content for online or offline readership, in a variety of formats: sales copy, articles, podcasts, or text that accompanies graphics or animation. Success in this job depends on being accomplished with different writing styles, as well as being organized, goal-oriented and deadline-driven.

Take the next big step in your writer career by using these examples and tips to build the perfect resume.

Top 4 Characteristics of a Best in Class Writer Resume

  1. Summary The summary statement provides a quick overview of your work experience, educational qualifications, and most relevant skills. Your summary should clearly inform recruiters about why you are suited for the role. Mention your particular writing specialties (e.g., marketing, advertising, branding or creating content for manufacturing and engineering domains), as well as the top skills you bring to the table.
  2. Skills Incorporate a mix of technical and soft skills that are specific to the role you’re applying to. In addition to technical skills such as “knowledge of PHP and HTML” or “drafting brand stories.” Emphasize your ability to handle additional responsibilities like editing complex manuscripts or finalizing a copy to meet editorial or publishing guidelines. If you have expertise in specific areas of content (e.g., medical, legal or scientific subjects), mention it.
  3. Work history Share details about jobs you’ve held rather than just listing tasks. Stress your achievements, such as “Listed as one of the top 100 content moderators for lifestyle trends in 2019.” Mention any experience that quickly communicates your versatility and experience, such as “collaborated with art designers, content producers and website developers on award-winning sites.”
  4. Education Most content creation roles will require a degree in literature, english or mass communications. Always mention any related courses or programs you have recently completed or are on the verge of completing, in areas such as search engine optimization, business writing or advanced prose writing.

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Do’s and Don’ts for Creating Your Resume

  • Do include soft skills Recruiters prefer candidates who bring intangible skills such as being a team player, being adaptable to innovation, a can-do attitude and a strong work ethic. Mention these traits in your skills section, and show how you use them in your work accomplishments (e.g. to demonstrate leadership and flexibility, describe how you supervised teams of copywriters or journalists in remote locations).
  • Do prepare different resumes for different jobs Don’t use just one resume for all job applications. Tailor it according to the specific job requirements of each position you’re applying for. For example, when applying for a news agency role, mentioning your passion for politics is a good idea. If you’re applying for a contract writer position, focus on your ability to write persuasive content.
  • Do use action verbs When describing your work accomplishments, start each statement with a strong action verb. Use phrases like “managed content writing team,” or “delegated assignments and edited work for grammatical proficiency.” This presents you as a powerful candidate who takes the initiative, compared to a resume that has words/phrases like “was tasked with assisting the senior editor.”
  • Don’t make your resume over-long An excessively long resume increases the chances of important details about your career being skipped. Focus on highlighting the things that are most relevant to the role applied for. For example, when applying to a social media advertising agency, emphasizing your ability to manage social media accounts is more important than highlighting experience with scientific research from your previous job.
  • Don’t forget to proofread your resume Even if you include all the right information in your resume, a minor typo or grammatical mistake can lead straight to rejection — after all, you’re supposed to be a professional writer. Do a thorough check of your resume before you submit it.
  • Don’t just market yourself as a writer  Showcase particular interests that tie in with the potential job. For example, if you’ll be tasked with writing content about human rights and you have experience volunteering for an organization like Amnesty International, your interest in the field reflects well on your potential to write compelling, accurate content. By presenting yourself as a complete package, recruiters can gauge how you can add value to the organization beyond the job title.

Writer Resume FAQs

1. How should you format your resume?

Use a resume format that displays your best attributes up front. The chronological format emphasizes your work history first, and is a good fit if you’re an experienced writer. The functional format, on the other hand, leads off with your skills, and is a good choice for applicants who lack work experience or are recent graduates. The combination format features both relevant skills and work history, and is a logical choice for presenting your most relevant qualifications, and how you’ve used them in previous jobs (even if these jobs aren’t in the writing field).

2. What are the skills you should emphasize for this specific job?

Consider mentioning the following technical and soft skills:

Technical skills:Soft Skills:
Adept with content management systems (CMS)Ability to work under pressure
Interviewing skillsTeam player
Project managementAdaptable to new innovations
Drafting user manualsKeen learner
Managing article databasesExcellent communication and interpersonal skills
Ability to use different citation stylesCreativity
Turning analytical, numerical data into easy-to-understand reportsPersistence
Familiarity with industry standards (e.g., healthcare or medical insurance)Time management
Work ethic
Practical skills:
Adept with content management systems (CMS)
Interviewing skills
Project management
Drafting user manuals
Managing article databases
Ability to use different citation styles
Turning analytical, numerical data into easy-to-understand reports
Familiarity with industry standards (e.g., healthcare or medical insurance)
Soft Skills:
Ability to work under pressure
Team player
Adaptable to new innovations
Keen learner
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Time management
Work ethic

3. What are keywords? How should they be incorporated?

Keywords are phrases that you should glean from the job description that define the skills and tasks you need to excel in the job (e.g., proficiency in WordPress, or ability to use social media). Many employers and their applicant tracking systems (ATS) will scan for these keywords in your resume, so take the time to review each job description, match up these keywords with your abilities and qualifications, and include them in your summary, skills and work experience sections.

4. What are some examples of training and certifications that fit this specific resume?

Look to gain an advanced degree in English literature, Journalism or Communications, and look towards specialized certifications such as a Certified Grant Writer Credential by the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA), a Media Bistro certificate or an SEO copywriter certification. Such achievements show employers how dedicated and diligent you are to the craft. Also, look for a wide range of professional activities to hone your skills, across different platforms like blogs, social media and written publications.

5. How should you craft your resume if you’re looking to take the next step forward in your career?

To continue to develop your brand in this industry, look to add these activities to your resume:

  • Hone your skills in reviewing and supervising the work quality of other writers.
  • Take the initiative in activities such as assisting in publication or project planning, or collaborating with production managers and artists to discuss projects.
  • Look for opportunities where you can develop team team management and critical thinking skills.