A candidate's writing skills appear on a resume to help them get the job they're looking for. Specialising in a particular writing area offers technical skills that employers and hiring managers value positively, and listing writing abilities in the skills section of a resume can help you communicate your abilities during the hiring process. Understanding the most relevant writing skills to list on a resume and how to include them can help you create a resume that increases your chances of getting hired. In this article, we explore how to add writing skills on a resume and the best writing skills to include on a resume.
How to list your writing skills on a resume
You can follow these steps to list your writing skills on a resume:
1. Research the company
Before adding your writing skills to your resume, you can research the company you want to work for. As a candidate, you can study a company whose core mission resonates with your interests, passions and values. In addition, every company values different hard and soft skills, so knowing which skills suit the organisation best can help you stand out from other candidates during the hiring process.
To know which writing skills a company may demand the most, try to learn more about the company and obtain information about how the company makes money, its target audience, if it's an established business or startup, its industry and how the company communicates. Check the company's social media, blogs and website to gauge the organisation's communication style and tone.
2. Review the job description
Another way to learn which writing skills are most valuable to a company is to review the job description for the role you're applying for. Job postings typically have important keywords that can help you understand which writing skills are most important for a certain role. This can help you ensure you include the most relevant skills on your resume and increase your chances of securing an interview with your resume.
3. Identify the writing skills you possess
Once you understand the abilities that the company most values, you can add the skills throughout your resume. There are several writing skills that you can include on a resume, such as:
- Basic writing skills: grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling
- Technical writing skills: analysis, data visualisation, product knowledge, researching
- Business writing skills: business case writing, newsletter writing, letter writing, email writing
- Business storytelling: engagement, networking, sales-oriented
- Email writing: business emails, sales emails, email marketing
- Academic writing skills: essay writing, thesis writing, exposition, persuasion
- Creative writing: e-books, short stories, novels, world-building, dialogues
- Copywriter skills: content writing, SEO writing, blog writing, marketing
- Editing: proofreading, style correction, rewriting, typesetting
- Journalism: research, sourcing, fact-checking, interviewing, research
- Social media writing: engagement, detail-oriented, calls to action
4. Choose the format of your resume
A good resume can capture the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager and can help you stand out from other applicants. Hiring managers often pay close attention to candidates' resume writing style and listed skills. Choosing an effective resume format is an excellent way to showcase your writing abilities. If you are applying for a job in writing, you may consider including writing skills under a dedicated section. However, you can add them to your most recent experience or link to other certifications for other professions. These are the most popular resume formats:
This format is one of the most common resumes and allows you to list your work experience starting with your most recent position at the top. It's more suitable for candidates who have some previous experience. It can be a good choice if you want to add some writing experience or skills within the description of your duties and accomplishments for a past position.
This resume focuses more on relevant skills than work history. It commonly includes a professional objective or summary statement, followed by a summary of relevant skills before work experience, education and additional information. You can use this type of resume to emphasise your writing skills at the top of the document.
Reverse-chronological resume and functional resume combination
A combination of both the reverse-chronological and functional resume formats is more flexible. It allows you to list skills and work experience, depending on which you consider more important for the role. For instance, choose to highlight a previous position's writing skills instead of other duties if you think it can add more value.
Read more: Resume Format Guide (with Examples)
5. Add your writing skills and writing experience
To add value to your writing skills, you can consider proving them with numbers and achievements. For instance, if you've written business reports in your previous jobs, you can consider creating a resume with a reverse-chronological format or a combination of reverse-chronological and functional formats to highlight this experience. If you are applying to a position that requires writing business reports, add this specific experience below every job description, and quantify it:
Chief marketing officer at Old West Industries
February 2012–July 2021
Key achievements and responsibilities:
- Wrote 500+ business reports, including annual reports and project reports
- Wrote 1000+ business cases. 800+ projects launched successfully. Resulted in a 75% revenue increase.
- Wrote weekly newsletters for eight years with 25,000+ readers
- Other duties: email marketing campaigns, ad campaigns, overseeing marketing communications
What skills should a writer put on their resume?
A writer can develop a strong set of soft and hard skills along with their writing skills to list on their resume, including:
Strong writers can adapt their style and tone to each assignment. Depending on the purpose of the content, writers may format their piece to focus on communicating detailed information to the audience or providing a call to action. For example, if the objective is to increase sales, the content will be different from writing for a scientific research blog. Adaptability helps writers learn and master many styles of writing, which ultimately adds value.
Utilising research in some writing assignments improves the credibility of the article while adding value for the reader. Use government, educational and news outlets as sources to enhance the quality of information you include in your content. Providing readers with relevant and truthful content is the best way to maintain credibility as a writer.
Writers can aim to provide original content, regardless of the subject, and they can develop the ability to take research and convert that knowledge into exciting and informative content for readers. Original content positively impacts readers by presenting a website as a respected and reliable resource for information. Authenticity may also increase your professional profile and help you stand out compared to other candidates for jobs.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Understanding SEO as a writer is a key component in making sure your content is easy to find. Writers can keep up with trends and adapt techniques as needed to ensure the article ranks high on search engines. Aligning your content with the top search results may increase its exposure to a company's target audience. You can review other high-ranking articles on search engines to add value to your content.
Time management skills allow you to properly allocate time to ensure you meet all deadlines while guaranteeing quality. Time management includes monitoring time spent on research, writing and editing. By understanding the amount of time you need to complete an average project, you can better manage your time to ensure a balanced workload. These skills also include your ability to identify and prioritise tasks based upon deadlines and their importance.
Communication skills assist you in accurately conveying your message to the intended audience. Being able to relay information to readers is imperative for successful marketing strategies. Whether it is content for storytelling or a call-to-action following a sales pitch, proper communication skills for writers is critical.
Practical editing skills are vital for writers, increasing the value and quality of the content while reducing the number of revisions required. Consider reading your content aloud to find typos, grammatical errors, redundancies, wordiness and overused words. Then make revisions to refine the quality of your content.
Social media knowledge
By understanding social media platforms, you know where to find story ideas for your content. Studying your company's existing posts helps you determine the content that resonated most with readers. Review your company's social media accounts to gather inspiration for future content to write and predict how well it'll perform for the target audience. The ability to use and implement analytics and digital collaboration tools is also helpful to writers looking to track engagement.
Organisational and management skills
Writers rely on technical skills such as computer literacy and using word processing and content management systems. Many writers may work with content calendars to ensure pieces such as articles, social media posts or web copy are released promptly. Professionals who regularly write long-form content may also benefit from planning each section over an appropriate period.