If you’re a freelancer, like me, you know it has major benefits. Working from home, making your own hours and choosing your own clients, to name a few. You also know it has major stress points. One of the biggest stress points is constantly looking for new clients to keep your business growing. As freelancers, we’re essentially both employed and unemployed constantly. So, like any (semi)unemployed person, you need a killer resume. My gift to you, the brave souls who have quite literally made a career out of job searching, is The Freelancer’s Resume Writing Guide.
What is different about a freelancer resume?
The easiest way to answer this question is to think of the purpose of a full-time employment resume versus a freelance resume. The purpose of a full time-employment resume is to convince the employer that you possess the skills they are looking for, and that you also have the potential to grow with their company and fit into the mold long term. Most hiring managers are happy to train someone who has enthusiasm and will fit well with the company culture, even if their experience is a little weak. A full time employee is a long term investment.
The purpose of a freelance resume is to sell the potential client on what you already can do. In most cases, they don’t need you to grow with their company, they just need you to get the job done quickly and efficiently. And since you’re being paid by the hour, training will be kept to the bare minimum.
While one resume focuses on what you hope to do and how you want to improve on the experience you have, the other focuses on what you will do because you’ve already done the exact tasks before.
What about a format?
There are three types of resume formats. Chronological, functional and hybrid. While most job seekers will choose a chronological resume format, most freelancers will benefit from more of a functional format. A functional resume puts your qualifications and skills front and center rather than focusing on experience and education.
How to setup a freelance resume
Contact info and portfolio link
No matter what kind of work you do, always include your full name, email address, phone number and mailing address (including zip code). Contact info is important for potential clients to get a hold of you, and for applicant tracking systems if applying through a form.
Freelancers should also ALWAYS include a link to their portfolio. If you don’t have one, you need one. A freelancer’s best assets are their samples, and a resume can’t showcase those samples.
This section is the main focus of the freelance resume. It’s your chance to call out specific projects you’ve worked on. You can separate it into various sections if need be. For example, Content Marketing, SEO and Social Media Management. Each project mentioned should only use a single bullet point. Keep them short!
List any skills that differ from your obvious skillset. For example, if you are a freelance graphic designer, but you have experience coding, that’s an awesome skill to mention here. This is also the perfect section to list keywords for ATS.
If you have any relevant full time employment history or long term freelance/contract work, list those here as you would on a traditional resume. Include your job title, dates of employment, and a couple descriptive bullet points.
This section should only be included if you have relevant higher education (college or above). If you don’t, don’t sweat it. In my experience, your skills and experience as a freelancer are much more valuable to clients than education.
One last tip: regardless of your craft, you should always customize your resume for every single job. Each freelance job you apply for will be asking for specific qualifications. You have the power to customize your qualifications to match exactly what the client is looking for. Customize and use this guide, and I guarantee you’ll start getting more, higher-quality freelance jobs!