Freelancer? Writer? Creative? You Don’t Need a Resume to Get Hired

Photo by Amaury Salas on Unsplash

Resumes, those horrid lists of your job history, are really only needed by those looking for a regular, probably corporate job. Oh sure, requests for them show up in other places too — fast food joints, car washing jobs and who knows what. The real purpose of a resume is to (a.) give the interviewer a piece of paper to refer to when talking with you, (b.) demonstrate that you mostly show up for jobs when your hired and have most of the skills the employer thinks they need you to be able to do, and (c.) reassure the person who hires you that they can justify doing so if doesn’t work out.

You, however, are a creative. You’re a writer, an artist, a maker of something probably lovely. Your job history is likely to suck because you’ve been patching income together while you learn your skill and how to market it.

Clients ask for resumes because they don’t know any different

If you work for clients, until and unless you get famous, you’ll often be asked for your resume. What you want to give them is a list of your credits instead.

The reason a potential client asks for a resume is they want reassurance that you can do what’s needed. The reason you want to give them a list of credits instead is to demonstrate just that without delving into your patchy work history. The potential client only needs some sort of evidence that you indeed have some talent and can solve the problem they think they’ve got. Don’t explain that you’ll not be sending them a resume… chances are they won’t notice the difference and if they do they are likely to appreciate it.

What is a ‘Credit List’?

A credit list is simply a list of the things you’ve created that have seen the light of day. For writers that’s articles, books, poems, songs etc. that have been published. For painters and sculptures its a list of paintings and sculptures that have been publicly displayed, usually with pictures. For makers it’s the things they have made that, ideally, been sold, usually with pictures. You get the idea. By the way, publicly displayed may mean an audience of one as long as it isn’t your mother. And it might be your mother if she’s a true investor in the arts.

Why a list? Because in many ways our world is flat. A list goes on a website, on a piece of paper to be mailed or handed out or emailed to someone. Sure it’s better, at least with the arts and crafts, if the client can see and touch what you’ve done in person. Pictures are a poor substitute (except for photographers) but are what’s available. With luck your clients will be able to visit you and your art or crafted items in person as they make the decision to hire you.

Unlike resumes a credit list can:

  • Be totally out of order in terms of both when produced and value
  • Have items grouped in categories
  • Be easily edited to fit differing situations

You can see my credit list here. Don’t be intimidated… I’ve been writing forever and when I actually send a copy of the credit list I often send only the section I think the client will appreciate.

Okay, so you’re not a writer. Just imagine a similar list with the name of the piece if it has one or a short description, like hand built clay creature in red, or patented knife to prevent cuts when cutting avocados.

Approach your list asking yourself not what you’ve done, but what you think your client will want to know about you and what you create. When your list is client-centered it’s much more likely to succeed in getting you hired.

There are almost no rules about a credit list like this. It should be neat and tidy and readable — that’s about it. Be bold is my suggestion.

Create well and often,

Anne Wayman —

Writer, life and writing coach, book ghostwriter, Grandmother, Buddhist. Liberal who listens to the other side, political

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