Objective: Obtain A Position Doing Something Not Spreadsheet Related
May 15, 2014 2:30 PM   Subscribe

What should my writing/creative resume look like?

I've spent the bulk of my adult life dabbling around various creative endeavors, culminating in finally figuring out my voice/brand/niche in the past year or so. I'd like to have a creative resume so that I can apply for various writing/filmmaking jobs and/or just generally sum up in a page what kinds of creative skills and experience I have.

What should even go on that?

My two main credits after finding my feet as a writer are writing/directing/producing a narrative web series and also some entertainment/media/TV-recap writing for one particular (not that well-known) website. Those obviously go on the resume. But what else?

Here are the contenders:

- I spent college and the immediate aftermath of college working in the visual arts world. I was part of an art collective (mostly in a support/non-creative role), spent a few years as a graphic designer for a TV series (I don't have a portfolio of this work but could probably pull stills from Netflix), and art directed a few short films. This work is interesting and gave me a lot of creative skills, but is not relevant to what I currently do.

- I dabbled as a non-fiction travel writer for a while, on the web. I love travel and travel writing, but I don't see myself pursuing that as a career. My voice as a travel writer is pretty different from my voice as a media writer/TV-recapper, and very different from my screenwriting voice.

- Worked as a director's assistant on one TV pilot for a well-known cable series, and a showrunner's assistant on another. Both of these are a few years ago now and I didn't reprise my role when the shows got picked up. These are somewhat creative roles and in some circles are considered stepping stones to screenwriting and directing.

- Was the assistant to a popular blogger in the tech space for a while and helped launch the current iteration of her site. I did various creative-support type stuff for her, like producing TV segments, social media management, and helping to develop her brand identity.

- Was on the writing staff of a digital "late night format" comedy show for a bit, though ultimately scheduling conflicts with my day job led to me leaving the project after a relatively short time. This project is very much within the scope of my current work.

- I have an ongoing social media project and relatively serious presence on Twitter, where I have a respectable (but not exceptional) number of followers.

I don't know if a resume like this is supposed to be a "throw spaghetti at the wall" type of thing where I list EVERY creative job I've ever had, with an eye toward filling up the whole sheet of paper, or whether I should really only be listing writing work that is relevant to my current interests in the service of not seeming like a total dilettante. I have no idea how to talk about social media on my resume at all. Or what this type of resume should even look like. Or whether it should be more of a portfolio.

I also have 9 years of experience in a "production" (AKA admin/logistics) capacity in film and TV, but I have a totally separate resume for that work. However, it might be worth mentioning on the creative resume that I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and handled all the PR and distribution for my current web series.

This would be mostly for submitting for screenwriter/director type gigs that I find listed online, often unpaid. However I do see a copywriter or content creator job on Craigslist every once in a while that I'd use this resume for. I am not really looking for visual arts work at this point, though it forms a large portion of what I've been doing with my life so far.

Creative people of Metafilter: WHAT THINK YOU?
posted by Sara C. to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
1) Write that all down in a huge multipage resume.
2) Edit it down to specifically match each opportunity, highlighting the most pertinent experience to that opportunity while leaving no date holes. Less pertinent experience is better than a hole: it's important to look like you've always been on target.
3) Use "the conversation test" to rule out silly items: if you're asked about that one item in an interview scenario, if you can talk it out and it makes you look good then it's a good item. However, if it falls flat or needs a lot of unauthentic sideways chatter to talk it up too much than consider ditching it. Fine print: if you're young and obviously inexperienced than everyone expects you to spin your [mediocre] material up/conversely when you're older and have good experience, it's much safer to edit out that riffraff.

With creative resumes, the most important thing is to rewrite them for each specific job. The person who gets the job most likely is sleeping with someone. If not that then they know someone. If not that then it's someone who is writing that specific application to win that specific job. If not that then the person doing the hiring is clueless, which is increasingly rare.

Last note: if I were you, I'd look for writing jobs that leverage your visual art background. Look for writing jobs where knowledge of visual art is a plus. Don't make your experience a liability, make it a bonus.
posted by Murray M at 8:22 PM on May 15, 2014

I'm in the UK, so beware differences in transatlantic expectations, but what I expect to see is...


Biog or introductory letter which imposes a narrative on your experiences. You were interested in X, so you worked on Y, during which you learned to Z, which led to... Obviously in real life, it doesn't work like this. You take jobs because they're available and because you like being able to pay rent. However you need to spin it into a story where every job you took was a necessary part of turning you into the well-rounded and accomplished creative professional you are today.


Straight list of credits divided by industry/media and listed in date order, with the most recent credits first.

Online Media
PR & Distribution Manager for Current Webseries, http://www.websiteurl.com (2014)
Assistant to Popular Blogger Popular Blog, http://www.websiteurl.com (2012-2013)
Staff Writer for Online Comedy Show, http://www.websiteurl.com (2012)
Travel Writer for Website Name, http://www.websiteurl.com (2001-2006)

Director's Assistant Well Known Cable Series, Director, Production Company (2010-2011)
Showrunner's Assistant Other Cable Series, Director, Production Company (2009)
Graphic designer Awesome TV Series, Name Of Production Company (2008-2009)

Art Director Short Film One, Name Of Production Company (2008)
Art Director Short Film Two, Name Of Production Company (2007)

Visual Arts
Co-ordinator for Funky Art Collective (2004-2008)


A document giving references and a link to a website which contains both of the above documents along with your showreel/samples/portfolio/whatever. People who attach huge inbox-clogging files to speculative emails about creative work are the devil.
posted by the latin mouse at 2:03 AM on May 17, 2014

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