Copywriting vs Resume Writing: What's the Difference?

If you’ve never come across these terms before, copywriting and resume writing can seem like they mean similar things. While there is some overlap between the two, they constitute very different processes.

In this article, we’ll get to grips with the differences between copywriting vs resume writing. We’ll define each process and explore how you can use your copywriting skills to improve your resume, examining quality copywriting and resume-building tools along the way.

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is the act of writing marketing materials, the text in which is referred to as copy. From adverts to cold email campaigns, copywriting can fulfil a range of different purposes. As a result, the writing could be informative, persuasive, engaging, or anywhere in between.

Copywriting is all around you. Anytime you see a job description, for instance, or an advert, or even an online help article, a copywriter will have produced it.

The process of writing copy typically goes hand-in-hand with SEO (search engine optimisation). This involves using certain keywords, formats, and links to ensure your online copy ranks higher in search engines, increasing the traffic to the relevant website.

SEO is often (but not always) a large part of the trade and many copywriters use tools to help with this as a result. Semrush, for instance, provides extraordinarily thorough insight into the traffic of different domains and offers extensive keyword research features. Surfer SEO is another helpful tool in collecting keywords.

What is Resume Writing?

By contrast, resume writing is the act of building and collating a written summary of your life, called a resume or CV, which highlights your qualifications, employment history, and personality. You’ll need to present this anytime you apply for a job.

When you write a resume, there’s usually a certain format to follow. In other words, there are specific sections you should make sure to include, such as your current and past jobs, your hobbies and interests, and your educational qualifications.

If you notice your copywriting portfolio is a little lacking, check out our articles on portfolio building to discover the best practices for improving your experience and value as a copywriter.

The overall purpose of resume writing is to acquire an interview or a job position. To this end, you should write in an informative and concise manner, eliminating any fluff or wordiness that would otherwise take up valuable space (you can use tools like ProWritingAid to make your writing more direct and to-the-point).

Copywriting vs Resume Writing

It may seem like copywriting and resume writing are completely different things and while this is true to an extent, there is also a great deal of overlap between the two.

Copywriting and resume writing use many of the same processes and tools to produce the final content. Both copy and CVs are frequently written in an enticing manner and with concise language that directly expresses the point of the piece.

That said, resume writing differs from copywriting in the sense that you’re not writing for a wide or public audience. What’s more, resumes have very specific purposes, while copywriting can involve producing any number of pieces on different topics and with varying objectives.

In other words, resume writing involves producing a CV with the sole purpose of persuading recruiters to offer you a job or an interview. Copywriting, on the other hand, involves producing anything from emails and social media posts to product descriptions and blog articles. Each piece will have different purposes and functions depending on the client.

Using Copywriting Skills to Enhance Your Resume

Since a CV is essentially a form of personal copy, you can use copywriting skills to improve your resume. Below, we’ve listed some of the ways you can use your copywriting strategies to create an effective resume.

Write Concisely

Writing in the same concise and direct manner on your CV as you would for an informative blog article will keep employers engaged without wasting their time. Recruiters often have a long list of resumes to read and will spend precious little time actually reading through your CV.

Therefore, put the most important, original, and enticing information at the top and keep your writing concise. If an employer reads any wordy or awkward sentences, you can be sure they’ll skip right onto the next one.

Remove Errors

As a copywriter, you’re taught how to master proofreading. This will undoubtedly play a pivotal role when it comes to resume writing, since one of the key things to avoid is grammatical errors.

Recruiters scan hundreds of resumes at a time and one thing they loathe above everything else is needless spelling and punctuation mistakes. If they spot any, chances are they’ll pass you over without giving it a second thought.

Fortunately, as a copywriter you should be accustomed to proofreading and editing your work to a high standard. You can use your writing skills to reduce the amount of errors you produce, utilising spell check tools such as Grammarly to minimise the risk of missing avoidable errors.

Use Neat Formatting

The formatting skills you learn as a copywriter are also transferable to resume writing. An eye-catching overall layout will entice an employer, while a neat structure will keep them reading.

Formatting also applies to title consistencies. Inconsistent capitalisation, for example, will demonstrate a lack of incentive or simply a lack of care. Tools like TitleCase will help you appropriately capitalise your titles and ensure a consistently formatted resume.

Final Thoughts

While copywriting and resume writing share some similarities, they are fundamentally different processes. Both involve writing in a concise and enticing manner, with a heavy focus on error-free copy, but their intended purposes are distinct.

Copywriting can involve all sorts of writing styles and topics, whereas resume writing strictly refers to the process of producing a CV. While their end goals are different, the skill sets required for each share a lot of similarities. As a result, good copywriters should be able to write good resumes, but the same doesn’t necessarily apply for the reverse.

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