Whether you are advancing your freelance career or transitioning back into the workplace, you need a resume that effectively details your freelance work experience.
Freelance resumes are a bit different to traditional resumes, so you need to be strategic. The truth is, most employers don’t care if your experience is from freelance work or traditional work, as long as you make sure the experience is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Let’s get started!
Umbrella your experience
One tactic for job seekers is to use a single heading for freelance experience. Come up with a company name, and include a title, location, and date range. This is especially good for people with both freelance and traditional work experience because it creates a seamless visual. Your job title can include the scope of your work, such as “Freelance Interior Designer” or “Sales Consultant for various companies.”
If you have worked with high profile clients, you can include them in either a brief job description, bullet point, or key achievement section under your freelance company heading.
Alternatively, if you have used freelancing as a side-job while employed full-time, you can create a section on your resume for “additional work” or “projects” as long as it is relevant to your current job target. More on relevance further down.
Focus on your accomplishments
Accomplishments on a resume are the results you achieved beyond your general job responsibilities. Instead of listing out what you did as a freelance worker, you should identify your impact with numbers and examples.
Ensure that hiring managers can understand your impact by using metrics. You can describe the volume of your projects, your rate of productivity, the size of teams you worked with, or even how you impacted a company’s bottom line. You need to demonstrate your value in terms anyone could understand.
Keep your list of freelance projects relevant
Once you’ve built up a portfolio of freelance projects and clients, you’ll want to be selective about which ones you include on your resume. Freelance projects can help you show your experience with certain industries, but they can also distract from your career story. Including freelance photography projects on a resume otherwise devoted to accounting is likely one of those cases!
You always want to tailor your resume to the job description. Keep all the freelance work you list relevant to your career target.
If you need to find more freelance work relevant to your career goals, look for opportunities from these websites looking for remote freelancers.
Include a link to your online portfolio
Your contact section should include a link to a personal website or your LinkedIn profile. If your freelance work involved writing, photography, or other digital assets, your online profile also link out to projects or clients.
Otherwise, use your site to display samples of your work, descriptions of certain projects, client reviews, and other information that doesn’t belong on a resume. Your online presence should both support and supplement your resume.
Spotlight your soft skills and hard skills
Hard skills are technical skills like computer programs. These skills belong in a skills section or core competencies section. Soft skills, on the other hand, should be integrated throughout your resume to make the most of keywords. Some of the most important skills for freelancers are communication, tools for your industry, and industry-specific skills.
Many freelance projects are remote or sourced online, so demonstrating good communication practices is key. You should highlight your excellent communication skills with examples, achievements, and outcomes. So, instead of listing “collaboration” as a skill, you should include how you leveraged collaboration to achieve a positive outcome in your work.
Keep your resume simple
Hiring managers still prefer basic, clean, and simple resumes with a traditional organization. Even with a non-traditional background, your resume should have the elements of a standard reverse-chronological resume: name and contact information at the top, followed by a skills section, work experience, and education.
As a freelancer, you can strategically add in information such as a headline or title, a professional summary at the top to explain your overarching work history, and a section for projects or certifications at the end.
The design should be simple, as well. Graphic elements and “creative” resume formats can mess up any resumes you submit online. Keep your resume easy to read and let your skills and experience stand out for you.
When in doubt, hire an expert
Resume writers are often freelancers, so they are uniquely qualified to help you put together a compelling document of your work experience and professional accomplishments! Zipjob has a list of some of the best resume writing services to choose from.
A freelance resume displays a different kind of professional background but serves the same purpose as any other resume. Focus on conveying your accomplishments in a simple way. With these seven tips, you can translate your freelance work into a resume format that will help you transition back to the workplace or gain new freelance opportunities.
- Looking for freelance work? There are plenty of opportunities on these sites.
- Need some new skills for your resume? Check out these online training websites.
- Take a look at Zipjob, if you’d like some help with your own CV.
Caitlin is part of the Zipjob career expert team, offering strategic job application advice to today’s job seekers. She specializes in writing about digital tools and communication.