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20 Year Old Writing Credits?

Ask Anne The Pro WriterHi Anne,

For a resume, how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is it to list writing experience from 20 years ago?

I’m starting my freelance career now, but do have some print experience from my college internship and my first job out of college – each with reputable entities (CA Tourism, NBC Studios, and KNBC Studios in Los Angeles). I wrote a few pieces for the NBC in-company newsletter and some promo pieces for shows and press releases for KNBC.

I also wrote an article for a magazine a few years later. I wasn’t focused at the time and never followed up to get a clip (not sure it was even published) but I did get paid for the work ($50). I have my clips from CA Tourism and NBC/KNBC, however.

Can I mention my experience and just not mention when??



Hi JC,

Thanks for asking. And you’re not the only one with older clips.

I’d probably detail the experience without dates. Something like:

  • Articles for the California Tourism Board
  • Created weekly in-house newsletter for NBC
  • Press releases for KNBC
  • Article on horseback riding  for the XYZ magazine

I’d scan the clips and turn them into .pdfs so I could link to them on my own website. The .pdfs also work well if you have to email clips or snail mail clips.

It won’t matter that you don’t link to everything you claim.

It’s unlikely anyone will challenge you on the age of the clips even if the clips are dated. I wouldn’t try to hide the fact that they are 20 years old, but I sure wouldn’t bring it up either. (I just looked at my resume and sure enough, some of the stuff I’m claiming goes back 20 years and more and no one has ever even asked.)

If you don’t yet have your own website, you might want to read: You’re a Writer – You Need a Website or Better Yet, Your Own Blog



Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Relevant quote from Anne: “no one has ever even asked.”

    Sad, but true. In the 5 years since I started freelancing, I’ve never had a single client, out of well over 200, ask to contact a reference to confirm my work. The implications one could surmise for the validity of others’ portfolios are scary.


    • Anne

      I’ve noticed the same thing Ron; clients recommend me, but the ones who come in on their own never seem to check anything. A mystery.

      • I think that’s true a lot of times, even for job applicants. I don’t think I ever had anyone check my references. I guess they probably would if it were a government job or something, but for a receptionist position, who the heck cares?

        If I were going to hire a writer, though, I would at least check a couple of things. My sister works in healthcare marketing and she had to fire a writer once because she misrepresented herself. I don’t know if my sister actually did check clips or not, but the person couldn’t do the job she’d been contracted for.
        .-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Write Me a Letter =-.

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