Just like any other job you’re applying for, your potential clients will want to see what you’ve already done and what you’re capable of doing. While I don’t want to go into the differences of a resume versus a CV here, let’s just simplify it by saying that a CV focuses only on the writing work you’ve done and not every job you’ve held in your adult life. Ideally, your CV will be part of a portfolio, but that’s another post.
If you’re new in the field, then you might not have a lot to put on your CV. So how are you supposed to build it up if you don’t already have credits on there to show what you’re capable of? Here are a few tips that may help.
Submissions: Having your work in a publication is a great addition to any CV. If you’re into fiction, set your short stories free in the world and start submitting them to literary magazines. You may spend a bit of time doing this and tweaking your work before you get accepted, but it’s really worth it in the long run. Keep in mind that smaller mags are often more likely to accept new writers, but the credits aren’t necessarily as prestigious. Send out to any place you feel your writing would be a good fit. Landing guest posts on blogs can be a similar way to show that your work has been accepted by others.
Local businesses: It can be easier to get in touch with someone local than to find a client online who’s willing to hire you. Reach out to businesses in your area and let them know just what you can do for them. Are you great at social media marketing? Many small companies don’t have the time for it. See a pamphlet that needs proofreading? Give them a call and offer your skills.
Trade deals: When working with a local company, you may find that they’re unable to afford your services. Consider offering them a trade deal, where you provide writing services for the business and they provide their services to you. Be sure that the deal can benefit you; if you aren’t interested in what they can offer, then you’ll only be frustrated. Also, it may be helpful to draw up a contract that denotes exactly what services are to be exchanged and how often to ensure that all parties are happy with the deal. If you’re making programs for a theater but aren’t interested in free tickets, move along.
Local charities: While you won’t get paid for doing work with charities, it’s still a great listing on your CV. You might be able to write a newsletter for an animal rescue, type up flyers for a homeless shelter, or draft emails for a children’s hospital.
Keep in mind that it takes time to build up your CV. You won’t hear back from magazines right away, and you may have to call numerous businesses and charities before you find someone willing to talk to you. Be patient and persistent!
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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.
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