Today, we have a question from Corey L., who asks, “My resume is full of non-copywriting work. Is there anything I can do to make it look more appealing when I apply for copy jobs?”
Thanks Corey–this is definitely not an uncommon question. When you’re starting out in a new career, your resume kind of loses its luster. Luckily, you have a couple of different options.
The first option is to eschew a traditional resume in favor of a “Selected Writing Credits” resume. Instead of listing out all of the jobs you’ve worked, go back through your years of experience and pull out all of the writing work that you’ve done. (This, by the way, is 90% of what a copywriting hiring manager cares about, anyway. The other 10% is split between the fact that you’ve worked somewhere before and that you’re not a complete lunatic.
When you put it together, in additional to your contact information up top, it should look like this:
XYZ Hospital – Boeing, Vermont
– Created welcome letter for new patients
– Updated monthly newsletter with hospital news and doctor interviews
ABC Cafe – Smithville, Maryland
– Created signage for new breakfast offerings
– Rewrote menu to focus on unique dishes.
And so on and so on. Of course, as much as possible, you should try to have samples of the projects you reference in your Selected Writing Credits resume in your portfolio.
Now for option 2: keep your current resume, take out the things that are really irrelevant and draft a stellar cover letter. I suggest taking out the things that are really irrelevant because the hiring manager needs to see that you can tailor your message to your audience. (Ahem: big part of copywriting.)
Then, in your cover letter or email, sell yourself. Let them know what you can bring to the job that no one else can, let them know all of the copywriting work and all of the copywriting self-study you’ve been doing and let them know a few things that make you particularly excited about this opportunity. (Do your research on the company so you can be detailed and specific.)
Now, one more step: Let’s say that, unfortunately, a hiring manager doesn’t opt to have you come in for an interview. In that case, send that hiring manager a very polite email to ask what they didn’t see in your resume or cover letter that they wanted to. Too little interactive work? No agency experience? Not enough technical writing? If they give you the feedback, thank them profusely and then use it to get that experience/make those improvements and make your resume even better.
Your turn! How have you optimized your resume when looking for a new job? Let us know in the comments below!