Blog by Toby Welch

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The Importance of a Kick Ass Writer’s CV

What’s the deal with writer’s CVs? And do you need one?
The answer is that a standout writer's CV is crucial and yes, you need one. This is such an important aspect of your writing journey that I'll take four or five blog entries to cover all aspects of a writing CV.

A CV, short for curriculum vitae, is basically a resume for your writing life.  The document includes all aspects of what you have accomplished as a writer. Steven Sandor, the editor of Avenue magazine’s Edmonton, Alberta edition, appreciates receiving writer’s CVs with queries, “A concise (stress, concise) CV is important. For a writer the magazine hasn’t used before, it can make the difference between a front-of-book assignment or getting a major feature to write. Of course, a CV isn’t a replacement for a well-written query letter, which seems to be going the way of the dinosaur. But a good query and CV together make for a more compelling package.”

Think of a CV as your chance to spotlight your awesomeness and showcase your writer self. This document will give people who don’t know you an overall picture of your work and highlight your accomplishments to this point in your writing journey.

A writer who begged to remain anonymous to ensure no haters would critique her logic said, “I put together my first CV over a decade ago. I have always thought of it as an organic biography of my writing career. It sounds silly but thinking of a CV as an evolving creature can help you take pride in it and it will seem like less of a chore. Every time you add to your CV, relish in the accomplishment.”

Keep in mind that when someone reads your CV, they want to know that you are committed to your writing and that writing is not a sideline gig when you need a break from selling Tupperware or going to the gym.

People often don’t get the difference between a resume and a CV. In general, a resume focuses mainly on your education and past employment history. It also covers dull details such as your clean driving record, your proficiency with Quicken and Microsoft Excel, and your wizardry with HTML. A CV includes not just a summary of your work and educational background but delves into teaching experiences, awards, honors, affiliations, presentations, fellowships, publications, and other stepping stones in your writing life.

While one master CV is all you need to keep available to accompany queries and most writing issues, consider tweaking yours if you are applying to a position or project and want to emphasize one section. Tailor the CV to the individual who will read it if it will benefit you.
Stay tuned to read about the sections your should consider including in your CV.