I know most freelance writers maintain a resume as part of their marketing package. They’ll email out a resume and a couple of samples for just about every project they’re trying to land — but I don’t. I respond to requests for my resume with a couple of my best samples and a few references. And, so far, I haven’t had a single client refuse to work with me on the basis of not offering up a resume.
It’s not just a whim that led me to abandon my resume, though. I have quite a few reasons why I don’t think it’s the best option for freelance writers looking to land work.
- My resume can’t show a client that I can write anything expect a resume. Instead, by focusing on offering up great clips — preferably those related to work the client wants me to do. And as long as those clips have actually been published by a reputable organization, that prospective client gets more proof that other companies like my work than a list of companies I’ve worked for in the past.
- I’ve been freelancing for long enough that the ‘work experience’ section of a traditional resume format looks a little sparse when I put in my information. Since the only way to pad that information is to list past clients, I think I’m better off just offering up a few references.
- In high school, I worked in a staffing agency. Between my own work and my discussions with HR professionals, I quickly learned that resumes are more often used to disqualify applicants and cut down the potential hiring pool. I’d much rather go a more positive route and wow someone with my past work.
- A lot of clients aren’t actually all that interested in resumes anyhow. Many editors aren’t particularly interested in looking at a resume when they receive a query letter — it’s just one more file they have to deal with.
- I work with more than one niche and I don’t really have the inclination to maintain separate resumes for each niche. I could probably pull it off, as I maintain a basic cover letter and a list of samples for each of the types of projects I take on, but I just don’t feel the need to do so.
- There’s certain information considered standard on a resume that I’m not just going to send out willy-nilly or post online. From my full contact information to my client list, a resume can easily contain information that I don’t want to share with a person who randomly posted a Craigslist ad or browsed my website. A list of my samples is just something I’m more comfortable sharing.
There’s no one true way when it comes to resumes. If you find that a structured document works best for you when it comes to landing clients, I say go for it. These are simply my reasons — this is what works for me. Let me know what works for you — do you have a resume? How do you prefer to share information about your past work with potential clients?