Even the most talented authors can get stuck creating a writer resume. After all, resume-building is a whole different beast that can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before.
Fortunately, as a writer, you already know a thing or two about structuring your work and conveying information to the reader. All you need is a push in the right direction, and that’s precisely what we’re going to give you.
In this article, we will show you the ins and outs of creating a writer resume so that you can create a job-winning document without breaking a sweat. Let’s jump in!
The best format for your writer resume is the reverse-chronological format.
Mandatory sections of your resume include your contact information, a resume objective or summary, work history, an education section, and skills.
If you have more room left or more information to include, add some of the optional sections that will cover your certifications, languages, and hobbies and interests.
Write a personalized, position-specific cover letter and submit it with your resume to stand out among other candidates.
What is the Right Format to Use for a Writer Resume?
Most of the time, the reverse-chronological resume format is the best one to use when creating a writer resume. The goal of this format is to show off your most recent and most important work experience, achievements, and education first. From there, you can backtrack to give hiring managers more insight into the progress of your academic and professional careers.
Besides the chronological resume, you can also use functional and hybrid resume formats.
The functional resume format is great for writers with no professional experience, as it puts emphasis on their skills instead of their work history.
On the other hand, the hybrid or combination resume format works best for seasoned veterans or writers who have worked on many similar projects. This one is a mix of the functional and reverse-chronological formats. It shows off your skills first and then backs them up with relevant work achievements.
Once you’ve decided on your writer resume format, it’s time to think about your resume layout. Keep in mind that recruiters sometimes skim through resumes for no more than six seconds. A professional layout will make sure they see everything they need to see in that short period.
That being said, your writer resume should be one page long in most cases.
Use margins and be generous with white space to make different sections visually distinct. Then, pick a good font for your resume. Use 10–12 pt font size for the body of text and 14–16 pt for subheadings. Finally, keep the line spacing between 1 and 1.15.
What Sections Should a Writer Resume Contain?
Your writer resume should have five mandatory sections that tell hiring managers everything they need to know. These sections are:
Writer Resume Mandory Sections
Resume objective or summary
Sometimes, however, you could have more to add to your document. In that case, you might want to include one or more of the following optional resume sections:
Hobbies and interests
And if you don’t feel like starting from scratch, use our resume builder. It features ready-to-go templates that are easy to use and come with suggested sections. Simply fill them in with your information, and you’re good to go!
Writer Resume Contact Information
A contact information section is a standard part of every resume and should feature the following information:
Your professional title
Your email address
Your phone number
Your location (city and state)
Your professional website, relevant social media account, LinkedIn profile, blog, etc.
When listing this information, it's important to make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. One wrong letter or number makes it impossible for recruiters to get in touch with you. Plus, you don’t want these kinds of mistakes as a writer.
Also, avoid sharing personal information. For instance, you can omit your physical location entirely or just add your city and state. Similarly, don't put a photo on your writer resume, as anti-discrimination laws could cause it to be discarded automatically.
To ensure a high level of professionalism, use a proper email address and don’t get too fancy with your job title (avoid terms like “Word Wizard”). Getting the job title correct is also important for the ATS scan since the software looks for specific keywords, and you want to match them.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the good writer resume's contact information section:
Contact Information Example
Digital Content Writer
+ 123 4567 8912
Washington DC, USA
Writer Resume Objective or Summary
The goal of a resume objective or summary is to grab the reader’s attention. These are short paragraphs at the top of your document, and they should hook the recruiters in 1–4 sentences.
If you're new to the industry and lack relevant professional experience, you'll write a resume objective to highlight your key skills and your career goals.
On the flip side, applicants with a lot of professional experience use a writer resume summary to show off their most prominent work-related achievements.
Freelance Writer Resume Objective
You should show your abilities and creativity from the get-go by creating a captivating resume objective. This detail will give recruiters enough information to see how their company could benefit from your proficiency. Check out the example:
“Result-oriented freelance writer with a BA in English from the University of York. Conceptualized and launched the “Mail a Meal” blog while volunteering as a writer, which resulted in an 87% increase in funds raised for the [local food bank]. Seeking to leverage content writing skills to join [the company] and engage customers through blog and social media writing.”
Compare that to the following bad example of a writer resume objective:
“Creative freelance writer with a BA in English looking for a content writer position. Eager to learn and improve while focusing on social media and blog posts.”
The first candidate did their best to accentuate their skills through actual results. They were precise, and their goals were specific. The second candidate showed a willingness to learn, but apart from that, recruiters have no idea what they are capable of or what their goal is.
Copywriter Resume Objective
Copywriting is about research and attention to detail. It also often requires specific hard skills—such as SEO and CMS knowledge or similar—so make sure you show that through your resume objective:
“Research-oriented writing professional with experience in online marketing and product description. Has entry-level SEO knowledge gained through guest posting for Forbes. Seeking a writer’s position at [company] to help reach a wider audience through creative product copies.”
Once again, being exact adds weight to your claims about your skills and competence. Now let’s check a bad and unfocused example that lacks any information of substance:
“Skilled copywriter looking for a position in the tech industry, with an emphasis on eCommerce.”
Sadly, the hiring manager reading this will have no idea what the candidate is capable of.
How to Write a Resume Summary
Resume summaries should be written by seasoned professionals who want to emphasize their most prominent accomplishments to pique recruiters’ interest and get them to keep reading.
Let’s compare two contrasting examples and start with the bad one:
“Proficient digital marketing copywriter with experience writing articles and landing page copy. Looking to leverage my strong writing skills to help your company attract more clients.”
The candidate mentioned their skills but failed to back them up with any kind of actual results. The whole paragraph features unclear information, making the whole paragraph vague.
Now look at the following example, which is considered good:
“Resourceful copywriter with 7+ years of experience in digital marketing. Proficient in writing copy for landing pages and top-ranking articles in the fitness industry. Wrote Black Friday copy for [previous client's] newsletter and landing page that resulted in 5k leads and 350 sales. Looking to utilize industry-specific knowledge and experience to help [company] increase online traffic and conversions.”
The applicant talks specifics, uses numbers, and displays quantifiable results, giving potential employers a good idea of what they are capable of.
Writer Resume Work Experience
The work experience section is usually the most important part of a writer resume. It directly shows your competence and efficiency, which is why recruiters pay the most attention to it.
When adding your former jobs to the work experience section, use the above-mentioned reverse-chronological format. Your most recent employment is usually the most relevant and important to the recruiters, so highlight it first.
Within each position you held, you should include:
The company’s name and location
The dates you worked there (in the mm/yyyy format)
A bulleted list of your responsibilities, accomplishments, and results
Adding numbers and percentages will make your results and achievements quantifiable and, therefore, much more impactful.
Action verbs and power words can also help you dress up your work experience section. Not only will smart usage of these words make you stand out from the crowd, but it will also show the creativity you possess as a writer.
No Writing Experience
We just went over how important the work experience section is. So, what happens when you’re making a writer resume with no experience?
As an aspiring author, you probably did all kinds of writing, even if none of it was professional yet. Some of that written work definitely warrants a place on your resume. Therefore, you can list experiences such as:
What to Include
For example, if you run a blog or write on Medium, you can add that to your resume, especially if you have results—like followers or reviews—to showcase.
Here's how one writer used their internship to make an interesting experience section:
No Writing Experience Section Example
Work Experience / Internship
Assistant content writer
Oracle Pvt. Ltd. Washington DC, USA
Achieved in-depth product knowledge and understanding of documentation requirements to create high-end content that meets the company’s standards.
Edited and updated written documents based on directions from seniors to meet quality standards.
Wrote user-friendly interface text, developer guides, and online tutorials.
Created manuals for end-users to help them use the company’s applications.
Freelance Writer Experience
Nowadays, many writers work as freelancers full-time, which is why freelance work can be on par with professional experience.
If you worked for specific clients as a freelancer, you can create the usual work experience section with your professional title, the client’s name, your dates of employment, and relevant accomplishments. Check out the following example:
Freelance Writer Experience Example
Freelance Writer - iHerb Co.
Generated 5+ weekly ideas for the company’s blog.
Created media materials (e.g., original graphic designs, photographs, sourced images, etc.) for the articles.
Composed 250+ articles that attract approximately 7500 readers per month.
On the other hand, if you had many clients, you could focus on different types of projects you did for them to show your versatility and competence, like in the following example:
Freelance Writer Experience Example #2
Self-Employed Freelance Writer
Wrote content for 15+ websites in relation to cancer treatment, fibromyalgia, allergies, addiction medicine, and alternative energy.
Took 80+ features through a complete production process—from the outline through copy-editing, SEO, and KW integration to the final draft.
If you’re a copywriter, you know that quality beats quantity. You don’t want to just list all the projects and jobs that you had; you want to show how well you performed. You can even use bold and italic formatting to make the most important bits stand out.
Check out the following example:
Copywriter Experience Example
Multimedia Creative Agency
Washington DC, USA
Conceptualized and authored copy and visuals for the Black Friday campaign that generated 6k leads, which resulted in 350 sales.
Increased Facebook engagement by 37% for two global fashion brands by using an innovative mix of text and video content.
Developed ideas for 17 seasonal campaigns and special offers for fashion eCommerce websites.
Writer Resume Education Section
Even though the work experience section does most of the heavy lifting on a writer resume, the education section is there to back it up with valuable credentials.
In most cases, you can simply add your latest and most important degree, the name and location of the institution issuing it, and your graduation date or your dates of attendance. That would look something like this:
Writer Resume Education Section Example
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, May 2016
Honors: cum laude (GPA: 3.67/4.0)
Just like with your work experience section, you’re welcome to add impressive achievements obtained during your academic career (a GPA of 3.5 or higher, for example, is bound to positively influence the recruiters). You can mention some of your extracurricular activities, student exchanges, honors, and similar.
You can also list your degree even if you’re in the middle of your studies or you have an expected graduation date. Simply add “expected” next to the graduation date or omit it and add “current” instead. And if you quit college entirely, state how many credits you earned toward a degree.
In the end, keep it brief and relevant. If you’ve already included your bachelor’s degree, there’s no need to add a high school diploma since it’s redundant.
Writer Resume Skills
Writing is a vast field with many skills to consider. That’s why it’s crucial to tailor this section to the job posting.
If you’re applying for a job as a copywriter, the ability to type 100 words per minute is probably not that important. You want to make sure that your list of hard writer resume skills is as relevant as possible.
Soft skills like accuracy, precision, communication, and attention to detail are much more transferable. Still, recruiters value some more than others, and we'll talk about the most sought-after ones.
This section should go below your education section, and you should list soft skills and hard skills separately since their purposes are different.
Hard Writer Skills
If you’re a technical writer, you might list some of the following hard skills:
Technical Writer: Hard Skills
Technical documentation essentials
Technical writing software proficiency
A content writer, on the other hand, could list some of these hard skills:
Content Writer: Hard Skills
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Editing and proofreading
Social media knowledge
Finally, specific job positions might require proficiency in particular tools or software. In that case, you can list the knowledge of the following programs/tools as your hard skills:
Software As Hard Skills
Answer the Public
Soft skills describe your ability to be more productive in the workplace, adapt more quickly, communicate better, etc. For this reason, you should include some of the following ones in your writer resume:
Soft Skills Ideas
Strong work ethic
Attention to detail
Optional Sections of a Writer Resume
Optional sections are great at showing that you have more to offer than the minimum requirement and making you stand out in a crowd.
Relevant certifications substantiate your skills and make you more competent in the eyes of recruiters. They also show that you’re a driven person who always strives to go beyond what’s required.
If you have just a few certifications that are tightly connected to your formal education, add them to your education section. If not, put them in their own section after all the mandatory ones.
Even though the language section isn't required, it might be if the job posting says so. Knowledge of foreign languages can be highly beneficial to your resume, especially if you have full writing proficiency.
You should place this section toward the bottom of your resume unless it’s a must-have for the job. In that case, it can be one of the top sections. Start by listing the language you speak best, and be accurate when stating your level of proficiency.
If you have relevant publications—books, studies, research papers, interviews, etc.—add them to your resume. Be precise and factual for greater effect. If those publications yielded impressive results—you sold many copies or received stellar reviews—include that as well.
Hobbies & Interests
Adding hobbies and interests to your writer resume is a great way to personalize it. As long as you have some room left after including all the other details that are important for the job, this section can help you show hiring managers the real you. On top of that, having hobbies and interests shows that you’re a person of passion, which is a valuable trait.
Should You Submit a Cover Letter With Your Writer Resume?
So, you want to be a writer, and you consider notwriting a cover letter? A snarky comment aside, a cover letter adds immense value to your application—so much so that it’s a must-have if you want to have the highest chances of landing the job.
The purpose of this document is to introduce you to the people in charge of hiring. Show off some of your skills and accomplishments and entice them to take a look at your resume, all in 3–5 paragraphs. Ensure that the cover letter is specifically tailored to the position, meaning you should write a unique one whenever you’re applying for a new job.
The good news is that it’s rather easy to write a compelling cover letter. You just need to follow these guidelines:
Cover Letter Guidelines
Start by listing contact information.
Address the hiring manager directly to show that you did your research.
Use the first paragraph to grab their attention with a couple of your most prominent achievements.
Expand on your professional career and why you’d love to work with them in the following paragraphs.
Finish the letter with a call to action. Express your interest in hearing from them and further discussing your application.
CoverLastly, here are a few expert tips to ensure your writer resume is polished to perfection:
Expert Tips for Creating a Data Entry Resume
Keep your resume one page long and ensure proper formatting and a clear structure.
Make sure there are no grammar or spelling errors. That’s important for any resume, but even more so for a writer.
Put your writing skills to work when creating a resume. Make sure that every section conveys relevant information in an optimal way. Use action verbs and power words for an even greater impact.
Keep mentioning some of your skills throughout your resume summary or objective and your work history. Recruiters will see them more often, and they will act as keywords for the ATS.
A professionally crafted cover letter shows a strong interest in the job and the company. The only time you shouldn’t write one is when the job posting specifically asks you not to.
It’s almost poetic how one of the most important steps on your way to your dream job as a writer involves writing a resume. You already have the knowledge, and we just made sure you figured out how to implement it correctly.
Follow the guidelines and study the examples, and you’ll be able to create a captivating document in no time. And if you want to make the whole process even easier, use one of our writer resume templates. You’ll spend less time creating a resume and more time getting that job and doing the writing you love. Best of luck!