I’m a stickler when it comes to my writer’s resume. Even though I’m happy where I am, I’m still putting it through some regular maintenance. As I research new ideas and trends, I’m noticing that some people think writers don’t need a resume.
Main reasons being no one reads them anymore, they’re boring and that your online portfolio more effectively shows you at your best. The strongest case I’ve come across for not having a resume is made by freelance B2B copywriter, Daisy McCarty, in her blog post Why You Should Burn Your Freelance Resume. To sum up her standpoint, by presenting a resume, you present yourself as a job seeker and put yourself in a weaker negotiating position.
All valid points.
I still think every copywriter — freelance and cube dwelling — should have a resume.
Now, not all writers market the same way. If you’re a blogger who networks online or a magazine writer who pitches ideas, a traditional resume may not be the best use of your time. My point of view is that of a professional copywriter who targets businesses.
I’ve freelanced and cube-dwelled. And in both cases, the benefits of having one outweighed my reasons for not.
1. It may be required.
Many companies, especially large companies, have an HR policy that requires a resume on file for anyone who works for the company, even freelancers (aka “contractors”). I’m currently a cube dweller, but our department still hires freelancers when the workload is heavy. When we do, our HR department requires a resume.
2. It’s not always about us.
How we want to market ourselves may not need to be our top priority at all times.
A traditional resume may not be your preference, but it might be easier for your prospect. Even if that person is blinded by your brilliant website, the overlords who give the green light to engage your services may still demand something printed to read.
A little flexibility on your part can go a long way.
3. It’s expected.
A resume is one of those things that are better to have and not need than need and not have. When I’d started freelancing, I was trying to be all online and progressive and stuff. Then I’d be asked for an up-to-date resume I didn’t have.
But what could I say? “I’ve evolved beyond the traditional resume. But I want the gig so please make an exception.”
Or, “Sure I can send that right over.” And then take five hours whipping one up in a tornado of panic. If I wanted to sweat, I’d take up jogging.
Not having an up-to-date resume cost me more than just a few opportunities.
4. It’s a SEO opportunity.
True, many people don’t read resumes. But databases do. And people search databases.
Depending on the circumstances, you can include a keyword section so that when your resume gets sucked into a database, it can be found by people looking for your skills. And that’s ‘set it and forget it’ inbound marketing.
5. It’s a cheap marketing tool.
A resume is a tool, not the sum of your marketing efforts. It’s not supposed to land you gigs, it’s supposed to get you some face time—so you can land the gig.
Your resume is just a tool, like your website. It’s a big business card to be used as needed. And putting one together should cost you nothing but time. In fact, you’ll probably spend more time, effort and money on your online portfolio than you would on your resume.
And as for the argument that resumes are boring…um…we’re writers. We should be able to make our resume sparkle.
What do you think?
This is a new topic of debate, one that I’ve only recently come across. And I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you think writers need to maintain a resume? Would it benefit you in your particular business? Share in the comments.