Do you use a resume when applying for writing jobs? Not every writer does. If you are mainly querying magazines, sending in short stories, or trying to get a book published, you may not be sending out a resume regularly. However, if you want to expand your repertoire a bit by including commercial writing, copywriting, and other writing gigs for businesses, you will need a resume. To create a good writing resume that will land you lots of jobs, consider the following tips:


1) Keep your resume simple and short. One or two pages, tops, is all you need. Use simple, action-filled verbs and short descriptions.


2) Put your strengths first. If you have an impressive education, put that first, especially if you are just building up your clips file and portfolio. If you have even some writing experience, put that first on your resume.  And don’t just list what you did – be sure to write accomplishments. If you won employee of the month, mention that prominently. Employers like to see go-getters.


3) A writing resume can include education and experience, just like any other resume. However, you may also want to include a section for publications or writing projects completed, to show employers that you are serious about writing.


4) Consider creating different resumes for different jobs you will want to apply for. For example, if you want to work for local businesses, you may want to highlight your experience writing brochures and white papers. If you want editing jobs, you will want to list your proofreading and editing gigs first.


5) Play around with your resume until you are happy with it. Get someone else to glance over it, too.


6) A good rule of thumb is that your potential employer should be able to answer the question “why should I hire you?” within the first few seconds of picking up your resume. At some companies, that is all the time that your resume will get. Therefore, the best arguments for your employment (whether that is a specific writing experience, a spate of writing awards, or a great education) should go first on your resume – right under your contact information.


When submitting your resume, keep in mind that many employers will want to see clips or writing samples as well as your resume. Even when I had little real writing experience out of college, I was often able to land decent jobs based on strong samples. If you are nervous about having little education or too little experience, work on your resume until it is as strong as you can make it and then send it out with strong clips or writing samples. You will find many businesses are willing to take a chance on you, and those writing gigs can land you bigger assignments and projects down the line.


1) — Marketing and media jobs.


2) — The Associated Press usually has plenty of jobs on offer.


3) — Jobs in the UK in the book industry.


4) — Lots of media and communication jobs.


5) — The California Journalism Job Bank has lots of recent jobs, mostly with newspapers.


6) — This job board lists j-school grad job options in Canada, the US, and overseas.


7) — This great job board is a general one, but usually has lots of writing jobs on tap if you search for “writer” or the like.