Building Your Resumé and Clientele as a Freelancer
Career-building is an essential part of freelancing.
Welcome to the June issue of The Fancy Comma, LLC Newsletter!
In this issue, Kelly Tabbutt writes about ways to build your resumé and clientele as a freelancer.
A strong resumé for a strong career
Your resumé is the way that you demonstrate to the world who you are as a freelance writer. It is the compilation of your skills and your experience which show potential clients your capacities. A strong portfolio is necessary to make a lasting impression on clients and colleagues.
a. Determining your skill set
Your skill set includes any skill which you can use to complete projects and work with clients and colleagues competently. This includes any talents, knowledge, training, or experiences which demonstrate your capacities as a writer or in specific topic areas of writing.
Make a list of all skills required for any projects, trainings, or coursework that you have completed – even the mundane. Also think about talents, hobbies, or interests that you have. Then create tailored lists for multiple specific fields.
Having ready-on-hand skill set lists will help you not only in building your resumé, but it will give you a sense of your capacities and where your unique talents lie and where you can improve upon this base.
b. Knowing where you can grow
Once you have determined your skill set, it is now time to think about areas of competence that you would like to acquire or improve. These areas should reflect both the freelance writing market and your personal goals as a freelance writer.
Having skill set lists tailored to specific fields helps you clearly see the gaps in your resumé. Identify fields of work, such as specific writing or editing skills, or specific topic areas that you are unfamiliar or less familiar with, and think about the skills required for this work.
Understanding what you have to offer tells you what work you are equipped for and how to self-market. Recognizing what you want to learn shows you where you which opportunities you should be working toward.
c. Researching opportunities
Researching new opportunities involves more than just looking for job postings. It also involves researching which clients and companies are out there that work with freelance writers. As well, it involves researching the job skills held by current freelancers and that are wanted by employers.
Job search engines such as Indeed or Monster are great tools for researching work opportunities. Use these tools not only to see what is available, but dive into the job postings to learn which skills these employers are looking for.
Researching work opportunities helps you build your resumé in two ways. First, it can help you potentially learn about new jobs to add to your work experience. Second, by helping you determine which skills to hone or add to your resumé to increase later prospects.
d. Analyzing in-demand skill sets
As a freelancer, you can work on whatever you want. You can also add more skills to your wheelhouse to be able to work on new types of projects. All you need to do is figure out what skills are needed to do the work you want to do. For example, if you want to write television ads, spend some time analyzing ads on TV, networking with copywriters on Twitter, or reading Adweek. Take small steps to improve your skill set and make it more relevant to your desired jobs.
e. Building relationships through referrals
Another great way to learn about work opportunities and which skills to work toward is through referrals. Referrals are suggested connections to someone the referrer knows and has a connection with. It is network building.
In order to gain referrals, you have to know people who know people. Ideally referrals would come from other freelancers and your past clients. You can also gain referrals from friends, family, or past co-workers, managers, or mentors.
Referrals – whether you are referred to clients or vice versa – are a great way to get exposure to the job market, specific fields, and to get your name out there. It is a great way to learn which skills are valuable and, hopefully, to gain clientele.
f. Reaching out to potential clients
Once you have referrals, it is time to make connections. This can be as simple as setting up a phone meeting, or as involved as setting up an interview. Either way, you will need to find a way to make the connection.
Face-to-face meetings are best. They allow you a better read of the client and more space to make a lasting impression. However, phone or virtual meetings are also an option. The point is to make time to learn about what the client is looking for.
Reaching out to potential clients is a great way to build your clientele. Making connections to potential clients will also help you build a network and access to other clients. Finally, these connections can help you determine your value and where to focus your improvement efforts.
Know where you are, where you are going, and go
Having a solid skill set, knowing the job market and which skills are in demand, and having access to potential clients are the foundation of a strong resumé. However, you will ultimately need to make connections to demonstrate your abilities and boost your resumé.
Links from around the web:
For Pride month, here’s how to make your writing and reporting transgender-inclusive from The Open Notebook.
Here’s Sheeva’s science writing and communications reading list. What’s on your SciComm reading list?
From the Fancy Comma blog: Why should scientists practice science communication? and How to improve SEO with topic clusters
At The Xylom, read Burkin Ikiz’ piece, “My Role Model Taught Me How To Be a Strong Woman in Science.”
And … that’s a wrap for this month’s newsletter. Thanks for reading!