The Resume on PEDs

Jan 27

As I send out another batch of resumes and cover letters in the search for a “real job,” I’ve come to realize just how different a writer’s resume is from a standard resume. And I know eventually I’m going to mix up one of the various versions when I send them out in exhaustion. The biggest difference, might be a serious problem.

The standard resume is full of standard things. Tangible jobs and employment history that can be traced back via company phone number. They can call an office manager or human resources and be given the standard “Yes, he/she worked here, they had no issues and they worked hard” as well as the rest of the blah blah. It can be easily substantiated in real world comparisons of what you did during that time.

The writing resume on the other hand is broken down into the tangible jobs you’ve held, what you’ve had published, and then a mixture of projects still in the works or still at a publisher with a sometime-in-the-future publishing date. Now I would never lie on a resume (only use creative words for job duties) but it seems to me that it’s much easier to commit fraud with a writing resume than it is on a standard. Of course a writer’s work would become evident as soon as they started the work, but it would be easier to embellish in my opinion. So in an already competitive field, how do you stay in the running when it’s so easy to cheat?

I’m opening it up to my readers to chime in and I’ll do a follow up article later.

Have you run into this problem in your job searching?

Do you expect employers to only accept published work as work experience? How about those novels you’ve completed but haven’t gotten published yet due to more editing/revising needed?

How do you handle your blogging or other unpaid writing that you participate in? Does it even go on your resume?

Have you ever embellished your resume?

How do you outline your resume as opposed to your standard one?


  1. John,

    I’m nowhere in the same league as you, but I do have a suggestion. You, or other professional writers, may already do this, but on the off chance it isn’t done:

    On your writing resume, include two-three of each; professional references, reader references, and personal references.

    One of the first things I do after I work with people, in any capacity, is ask them if they would write a brief recommendation for me. I don’t ask them to do it right away, just if they would. That way, when I’m building my resume, I know who to call to make my reference list. I can’t see any reason why that wouldn’t apply to writing as well.

    I know most people usually write “References available upon request.” on their resume, but I think that says, “Ugh, if you must have a reference, I’ll go bother some people and make a list.” Effectively drawing out the application and/or hiring process.

    In my opinion, if you provide a list of references up front, you send a better message. “Hey there! You don’t know me from Tom, but these folks do. And they all have good things to say about me. Don’t just take my word for it, though. Call em!” You’re showing a prospective employer two things;

    #1: I’m awesome and I have witnesses who will attest to that.
    #2: I don’t want to waste your time or mine. Let’s get this show on the road!

    Full disclosure: I’ve interviewed for four jobs in my lifetime, and I got all four. I have very little job hunting experience, and I don’t know if that’s because I have mad interviewing skillz, or I’m just really fucking lucky.

    Happy Hunting!

    – Jess

    • John Weeast /

      You’re really lucky lol. And the reason it’s normally listed as upon request, is they take up space that usually pushes the resumes into a 2nd page as opposed to one, and I’ve had plenty of jobs in the past that never bothered to check with references. They wanted to check job references and didn’t care about personal or professional. But the multiple types does make sense and I’ll have to try it.

      Thanks 🙂

      • Ha! I kinda figured.

        Is a 2page resume a bad thing? Eep… Yep, I was really lucky, then.

        You’re welcome. 🙂

        • John Weeast /

          Not always, but the way they’re typically setup, when the 2nd page only contains references it can look ugh. Also depends on the industry. I have a friend at one company that loves multiple page resumes, while most tell you to keep it as compact as possible.

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