I have seen a bit of debate on whether a freelance writer needs a resume. So what’s my take on the subject? You should absolutely have a resume. And with some freelancers not bothering to take the time to put one together, you come out on top looking prepared and experienced.
I’ve had plenty of freelance writing jobs that require a resume. This is
particularly true in the medical writing space. If you’re vying for a spot as a regulatory writer, I can almost guarantee the hiring manager will need a resume before they schedule an interview. These are highly competitive roles. If you’re not prepared or you’re not willing to meet the basic requirements of the jobs, they’ll just move on to someone more prepared.
Like me. I’ve actually gotten multiple freelance writing jobs, in part, because I had an up-to-date resume and cover letter ready to send. I could have argued and said why I believed my portfolio was sufficient. But why would I want to start off my work relationship with a debate? Wouldn’t it just make more sense to send in the document that shows you’re a highly-qualified medical expert? I think so.
Why Should You Send in A Resume and Cover Letter?
If you’re a nurse or healthcare professional, that means you’re a field expert. You’ve gone through years of school to obtain a health or life sciences degree. On top of that, you’ve spent a solid chunk of time working in healthcare. No one knows the field like you.
Why wouldn’t you want to showcase that experience? Especially if you’re a
healthcare worker writing about health or medical topics? That’s exactly the type of experience human resource managers are looking for.
Your portfolio alone isn’t showcasing that background. When you send your portfolio, it’s showing your ability to write a deliverable. That’s it. And while that’s incredibly important, you have what most other writers don’t have: Hands-on experience. This, my friends, is why you should be sending in your resume. It’s the other missing puzzle piece.
Once publications realize you’re a nurse who can write, game over. You’re the double threat they’ve been looking for.
What if You Don’t Have Any Experience As A Writer?
Say it with me, friends: “transferable skills”. What are transferable skills? These are skills that can be transferred from one job to another. There are certain talents that you have as a healthcare worker that make you the ideal freelance writer.
If you don’t have writing experience, you should be highlighting your transferable skills. You have to remember that everyone had to start out somewhere with no writing experience. What did their resume look like? Well, they probably highlighted what they were good at that was applicable.
So what are some nursing skills that are transferable to freelance writing?
Conducting medical research
Meeting tight deadlines
Writing emails, newsletters, care plans, etc.
Your writing resume will be different from your nursing resume. It will use different wording to promote these transferable skills. Instead of talking about your ability to catheterize a patient, you might mention your ability to handle a high caseload within a tight timeframe.
I actually have multiple resumes and cover letters for different roles. If I’m applying for a medical writing role, I’ll use language that focuses on my ability to decode biostatistics. I might mention my history working with biotech and neuromodulation tools. I highlight my time at a medical communication agency and my work writing news briefs.
My content writer resume looks totally different, because my target client is different. I use language that is geared towards the health writing space vs the medical writing space. They won’t care as much about my medical communication agency experience. Instead, I promote my blog writing.
These small tweaks make a big difference when I send them out. Remember, the freelance writing world is pretty big. There are tons of different niches. Most new freelance writers just focus on blogs, but you can NCLEX test prep, CME’s, regulatory docs, the list goes on and on. If you’re writing your resume for academic writing, but then sending it to a regulatory position, it may be ineffective.
What Can You Do if You Need Resume Help?
I always recommend going to the experts: Resume writers. Resume writers specialize in updating your resume so you can land the writing job you want.
I struggled when I first revamped my resume. It took me several days to get organized and figure out what to include and what to leave out. A freelancing resume looks completely different from a nursing resume. And it can be a lot more competitive. Sometimes, it’s worth it to outsource some tasks to the experts.
If you need help modernizing your resume, Sara Fung, RN, is the nurse for you.
What makes Sara special? First of all, she’s a nurse who went remote and launched her own successful business. So she understands the challenges that come with breaking out from that traditional bedside role.
Before she left the bedside, Sara was in a leadership role at her healthcare facility. She sat in on the interviews for her floor. She also reviewed the resumes. And she began to pick up on what made a resume stand out and what made them pass on a candidate.
She turned her experience into a business at: https://www.thernresume.com. Sara offers cover letter and resume writing services. She also sells templates based on what role you are looking for, including remote nursing opportunities. One of her specialties is helping nurses land remote jobs.
Sara can help you summarize all your experience into one or two pages. She can cater your resume to whatever type of freelance writing you’re looking for. If you don’t need her to completely write your resume, she can do a general update, too. If you’re struggling with your cover letter, she can write one for you from scratch. This can help you stand out from the other freelancers by highlighting your unique achievements.
If you end up using one of her incredibly useful resources, make sure you tell her I said hi.