If you are a ghostwriter, you may wonder if you can put ghostwriting in your resume, curriculum vitae (CV), cover letter, and portfolio.
Can you put ghostwriting on your resume?
You can include ghostwriting on your resume. Ghostwriting is a legitimate career and highly-desired skill set. You can describe ghostwriting on your resume, curriculum vitae, and cover letter. Unless you sign a strict non-disclosure contract, you can add ghostwritten projects to your portfolio.
In this article, I’ll answer the most common questions about including ghostwriting on your resume.
Should You Put Ghostwriting on Your Resume? (Helpful Advice)
Yes, you should put ghostwriting on your resume.
Why? Because ghostwriting is hot right now. Publishers are hungry for great books, and they are looking for writers who can deliver exceptional content on tight deadlines.
Ghostwriting agencies need a stable of qualified writers behind the scenes.
Business leaders and non-writers (or just busy writers) need help, too.
If you have ghostwriting experience and you write well, then congratulations: You’ve landed in a lucrative career field.
You should not hesitate to list ghostwriting on your resume, CV, or cover letter.
Ghostwriting is not illegal, bad, or looked down upon by most employers. On the contrary, ghostwriting shows that you can write exceptional content, produce it on time and within budget, and follow the vision of a client.
Ghostwriting is also a useful experience for writers who want to break into corporate writing or any other writing field that requires working closely and confidentially with clients.
How To Describe Ghostwriting on Your Resume
You can describe ghostwriting anywhere on your resume.
However, the place I recommend listing it is in the Career Highlights section or Professional Experience section.
Listing ghostwriting under Volunteer Experience might not be as effective because you want employers to see that this work was meaningful and important enough for companies or clients to pay for it.
Also, it’s best to keep the description of ghostwriting short and sweet.
- State the genre or type of work that you ghostwrite (fiction, nonfiction, academic, etc).
- List companies you’ve worked for (Ghostwriting contracts or agencies).
- Mention that you are a member of the Association of Ghostwriters.
- Describe your work as freelancing (then clarify based on client questions).
- Describe the work in general without author names or book titles.
I recommend listing something like this: “Ghostwriter for XYZ Publishing/Writing Company.”
Or, “Ghostwriter for a book explaining new international food regulations.”
As you can see, listing ghostwriting on your resume is easy to do and not very lengthy.
You only need two or three sentences at most to get the point across that you are a qualified writer with exceptional content writing/editing skills.
Ghostwriter Resume Samples
Here are three good examples of how to put ghostwriting on your resume or cover letter.
Copy these templates or use them as examples to develop your own unique resume style.
Example 1: Highlight Ghostwriting on Your Resume
You can spotlight your ghostwriting experience at the top or in the sidebar of your resume:
Sarah Alexander has been ghostwriting full-time since 2007. In that time, she has ghostwritten more than 1,000 articles for print and online outlets. She is a versatile writer whose experience includes newspaper and magazine reporting, blog writing, ghostwriting both fiction and nonfiction books, product descriptions, company histories, marketing materials, and press releases.
Example 2: Add Ghostwriting to Your Bulleted Job Details Section
You can also insert ghostwriting under your list of job details:
2007-Present: Head Ghostwriter at Meta, Inc.
– Write and edit high-quality content pieces in a variety of styles and voices to support marketing and PR initiatives.
– Perform accurate research on current trends and projects to ensure marketing materials meet the company’s voice and tone guidelines.
– Oversee an international team of ghostwriting contractors for Meta.
Example 3: Describe Ghostwriting on Your Cover Letter
Another option is to include ghostwriting in your cover letter:
Since 2007, I have pursued my passion as a full-time freelance writer and ghostwriter. My work includes newspaper and magazine reporting, blog writing, ghostwriting both fiction and nonfiction books, product descriptions, company histories, marketing materials, and press releases.
My most recent project was as a lead ghostwriter on a new young adult novel published by a major U.S. publishing company.
As you can see, ghostwriting is a rewarding experience that I hope to continue doing. My resume and writing samples are attached below.
Thank you for your consideration.
For an even shorter ghostwriting cover letter, try the four-sentence template in this video:
As a former interviewer myself, I can tell you that this guy knows what he’s talking about—the number of positive testimonials for his approach in the YouTube comments under his video speak for themselves.
Can You Put Ghostwritten Work in Your Portfolio?
Yes, you can put ghostwritten articles, eBooks, or other work in your portfolio.
The exception is when publishers and other clients explicitly ask you not to disclose your participation in the project. They might not want their competitors or copycats to poach projects or writers.
If a client says they do not want the work shared in your portfolio, I recommend honoring their wishes (and your agreements and contracts).
Then, create original writing samples to convey the same type of content.
What Are the Best Ghostwriting Samples To Include in Your Portfolio?
If possible, you should include a diverse collection of both original and ghostwritten work in your portfolio.
This gives you the best chance to show your range and skillset.
For example, if you are applying for a job as a technical writer, go ahead and include an excerpt from an educational booklet that you wrote, as well as a technical white paper that was ghostwritten for an engineering firm.
Don’t forget about fiction.
Show off your ghostwritten short stories, fanfiction, novels, and nonfiction books.
This is good practice because you are showing that you can write competently about different topics in various styles.
How To Legally and Safely Put Ghostwriting on Your Resume
There is a safe and legal way to share ghostwritten work when job hunting.
The safest way to talk about ghostwriting in your resume, cover letter, or portfolio is to include a clause in your ghostwriting contract.
Having a signed contract protects both you and the client.
You simply state that you are allowed, under certain circumstances, to share a brief excerpt from the ghostwritten work.
Although I am not a lawyer (and it’s always a good idea to check in with one), it might sound something like: “Permission is given to publicly share an excerpt of the ghostwritten work in the form of a resume, cover letter, or portfolio.”
Just be sure to also include general non-disclosure language as well.
When Not To Put Ghostwriting on Your Resume
There are certain times you might want to leave ghostwriting off your resume.
For example, if you can not show proof of your ghostwriting experience. It’s easy for anyone to slap a title or project on their resume.
However, if you signed a non-disclosure agreement with a company or individual, you probably should leave it off your resume. Most employers will ask for documented proof.
If you can’t show documentation, they might not trust you—or anything else on your application.
Another time not to talk about ghostwriting is if you think the employer might not understand it. They may think that ghostwriting is illegal, shady, or a breeding ground for budding criminals.
Ghostwriting is none of those things, but some employers just don’t get ghostwriting.
Final Thoughts: Can You Put Ghostwriting on Your Resume?
It’s perfectly fine to describe ghostwriting on your resume or in a job interview.
Most clients or employers probably want to understand ghostwriting, see samples of your work (ghostwritten or not), and know that you maintain strict confidentiality.