4 Things Better Than a Writer’s Résumé

Content marketing writer's resume

A writer’s resume means she’s looking for a job. That’s not what you want when you’re looking for a professional content marketing writer.

Do you ever ask for a freelance writer’s résumé? Think about that again — it may not be what you really want.

Résumés are what most managers ask for when we want to see where somebody has been and what kind of work somebody has done. But freelance writers who are seriously in business for themselves don’t usually deal in résumés. In fact, a writer’s resume from a freelancer is a square peg in a round hole.


In short, a writer is either:

  1. a full-time employee
  2. pseudo-freelance while looking for full-time work
  3. your cousin
  4. freelance (and serious)

If he’s #1 or #2, he’ll have a résumé because he’s in the mood for a job.

In case of #3, thank him but don’t hire him, or else you’ll be sorry by the next family gathering.

If he’s #4, you can turn to other vehicles to see what he does and for whom he has done it.

4 things better than a writer’s resume

  • Services page on a website – Most professional writers summarize their capabilities and services on the Web. Look for a tastefully executed Services page on a website or, better yet, on a well-maintained blog. It should readily answer your question, “Can you generate the kind of content that my prospects will trust?”
  • Portfolio of writing samples – Unless she’s been writing for the intelligence community all of her professional life, the writer should have samples and be prepared to display them. If you don’t see them on her site, ask for pieces that are similar to what you need written. Note that, if you’re selling artificial intelligence for robots, a well-structured paper on cloud computing is close enough as a match; a primer on stucco finishes is not. It’s up to you to assess the writer’s ability to digest a new topic and deliver good marketing content around it. Which leads us to…
  • Testimonials – Referrals and endorsements from any content marketing writer’s other clients should leave you comfortable that he will do what he says he’ll do. That’s the cornerstone of any business relationship and a good indicator that he will write the kind of content you need. If for some reason he has no references and you still want to work with him, you can always try…
  • Your network – The writer may know somebody you know and trust. There’s a lot of value in your network and the trusted relationships you have, so perhaps that’s enough of a marketing vehicle for you. Some writers don’t bother with a website, samples or testimonials at all. Their vast networks bring all the work they can handle right up to their door. These people certainly don’t need a writer’s resume.

In the context of hiring a freelance writer, those four vehicles go much further in demonstrating an ability to solve your problem than a résumé ever could.

photo credit: SOCIALisBETTER


Author: John White

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a content marketing writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Content Marketing Writer.”

3 thoughts on “4 Things Better Than a Writer’s Résumé

  1. Yes, thank you. I agree entirely (even if I DID just write a post about freelancer’s resumes). Because, frankly, the first time someone asked me for one, I couldn’t quite see the point…

  2. @Deb: It’s not that I think résumés are irrelevant. I’m just trying to convince freelancers to fish or cut bait, and when freelancers hand me a résumé, I assume they’re still cutting bait.

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