Adela Belin

Resume WritingOctober, 14 2021

6 Tips for Resume Writing to Grow Your Freelance Business

Adela BelinContent strategist and writer
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The market for resume writing has steadily been growing over the past decade. In the US alone, it is estimated to be worth over $268 million with close to 3000 professional resume writers.

Hiring someone else to write your resume is now a big trend as people who are not confident of their writing skills or executives who lack time for such tasks find it more meaningful to outsource resume writing.

But resume writing is a rather tricky writing niche. Merely editing or proofreading someone else’s resume or using templates won’t get your client their dream job.

If you want to grow your career as a freelance resume writer, here are six solid tips to hone your skill and land more clients.

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1. Know what makes a resume effective

One thing to note about an effective resume is it must have all the important information about the job seeker.

While our aim is not to make a perfect resume, it needs to be outstanding, relevant, and leave a mark on the reader. The best way to create such a resume is to stay updated on the trends and factors that make a resume click.

Some factors to consider are:

  • Using a professional font. The most popular font for professional resumes includes Ariel, Georgia, Times New Roman, and Calibri.
  • Including the most important details at the beginning of the resume. These include current or recent roles, experience, or relevant skills.
  • Use active language such as solved, initiated, trained, guided, supervised, tracked, and avoiding words like a go-getter, talented, or hard worker.
  • Avoid overdependence on resume templates and tables since they are not easy to edit.
  • Make it readable and printable by choosing the right file format. The most commonly used formats are PDF, MS Word, and Google Docs. These formats make it easy for one to make offline adjustments or download for offline reviewing.
  • Remove any clutter, such as cliché skills, outdated or unrelated skills, or irrelevant, temporary jobs.
  • Avoid focusing on seniority but rather highlight recent and relevant achievements.

2. Read job descriptions properly

Resume writing involves presenting other people’s qualifications, expertise, or experience in a way that satisfies the hiring manager and lands them the job.

That is why determining what you will put on the resume starts by understanding the job description. There are several reasons for this such as:

  • Understanding the job description helps you identify keywords or industry-specific terms to use depending on where the client is applying for work.
  • It helps you to determine the needs of the client or what the client intends to pursue.
  • Find the client’s position in their career progression. For example, are they trying to land their first job, looking for a new role or a change in career?
  • To understand the audience reading the resume and cater content to the reader or hiring manager rather than what the job seeker wants.
  • It also helps you focus on what the recruiter wants to read in your resume.

Where there is confusion, ask probing questions. Besides carefully reading job descriptions, be a good listener to avoid missing critical information.

Developing good listening skills also helps you identify the problem to solve easily.

3. Use the right keywords for Applicant Tracking Systems

The use of computer-aided tools and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan through applications has increased tremendously.

Report shows that 75% of recruiters use these programs to scan through applications. Since these programs are designed to only accept applications with specific keywords from the job description, most resumes cannot reach a human reviewer.

As a resume writer, understanding how these AI tools work helps you easily communicate your client’s value to AI programs and real people.

Apart from understanding how AI tools work, understand keywords and search engine optimization as well.

Having this knowledge guarantees that you can strategically position the right words in resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and taglines to align with the recruiters’ searches and make your client be easily found on job portals.

4. Editing

As mentioned before, a major reason job seekers outsource resume writing is a lack of excellent writing skills. Good writing skills are among the things that recruiters look for in a resume. Others are keywords, chronology, potential, and brand names.

Plenty of spelling and grammar mistakes make a candidate look unprofessional and may raise questions about the candidate’s communication skills. Therefore, it will be prudent to edit each resume line-by-line.

Consider asking a friend or a proofreader to review the resume and catch errors you may not have noticed. Besides good spelling and grammar, there are inputs like proper spacing, right font size, tabs, and use of bullets to consider when writing a resume.

5. Be concise and impactful

Another reason most resumes fail to have an impact on the recruiter is when candidates choose to over-promote themselves, incorporate big words, provide too much detail, or blow their own trumpet.

Recruiters and hiring managers don’t have time to read unnecessary information. On the flip side, providing too many details may increase the probability of your resume getting in the trash can.

It is important to keep your resume brief and to the point.

Remember, you have less than 11 seconds to convince a recruiter. The fastest way to capture the attention of a recruiter is to know the common mistake to avoid and pay close attention to the things that will catch the attention of the employer. The important details to incorporate in a resume are:

  • Adding only relevant information and work experience with impactful data.
  • Removing redundancy and repetition. These only make your resume longer but with no meaningful impact.
  • Removing helping verbs (eg. have, had, or to be).
  • Watch out for vagueness. Vagueness, especially in the summary section, creates confusion or makes a candidate less clear about what their focus is. Besides, it makes an applicant look lazy. Employers may think they didn’t spend enough time on their resume or to research the position.
  • Leave white spaces to improve readability and make your resume easy to skim.

The point here is to show career and skill growth. Aim to present the job seeker as a partner and not an employee. Being concise and impactful will require you to conduct proper research, engage in data mining, and develop conclusions based on the information provided.

6. Market yourself

Whether you have a background in executive recruiting, you still need to put a lot of effort into marketing your services if you want to find paying clients.

Resume writing is not only about catching the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager, but also of clients. Here are the many ways to market yourself.

  • You can create a professional website and showcase your abilities. Remember to include testimonials. Here’s an example of what a professional website for your services would look like.

About-Me-Adela-Belin-Personal-Website

  • Publish content related to resume and career development. It can be blog posts, ebooks, or social media posts.

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  • Do a podcast on career development and job interviews.
  • Use online advertising like Facebook and Google ads.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile. For example, Adrienne below has an updated LinkedIn profile showcasing her expertise as a resume writer.

Adrienne-Tom-LinkedIn

Note that the way you market yourself is what clients will use to gauge how their resumes will appear. Some of these methods, like a professional website and LinkedIn profile, are close to a resume in their own way since you give clients an overview of what you can do.

Conclusion

Growing a resume writing business doesn’t have to look like moving a mountain. Master these tips and practice them diligently during your resume writing process. You’re sure to grow with every resume you write and attract clients in the process.

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