How to Create an Effective Freelance Resume That Makes Sense

how to create a freelance resume

Freelancing can be quite profitable and provide a quality of life that you cannot get at a 9-5 job. However, there are times you might need to return to the corporate world, and creating a freelance resume to highlight your experiences can become a struggle. You might have issues with the outline and structure of the resume or what content to include or ignore.

Let’s break down how to create a freelance resume that will highlight all your skills, demonstrate your value, and have employers calling you in for an interview.

Structure of a Freelance Resume

Before identifying what information to include on your resume, we should look at how you want to highlight your freelance work experience. In most cases, a traditional resume format will not do since contracts can be quite short or your client list might be too long. Breaking down your experience by date or skills may be the best option.

Chronological Resume

Showing your work experience starting from most recent to oldest is the most common resume format. Freelancers can use this style but will need to add a few tweaks to make sure it makes sense and is not too long.

Be Brief: On a traditional resume, you might include 3-4 lines per job. If you held it for a long time or had many accomplishments, you might even have 8 lines. For a freelance resume, try to limit all experiences to 2 outstanding achievements. Say what you did and what happened. For example: “Designed content marketing strategy that increased visitors by 200%.”

Say What the Client Does: For most of us, freelance work involves working with large and small clients. Prospective employers likely do not know all these businesses or what they do. Add a short description by the client’s name. This shows employers what kind of organizations are interested in your work. It might look like, “XYZ Company – Dog walking business with 500 users.”

Stay Relevant: Contract work often involves taking many short-term jobs, especially when you first start. In the same way, you might take on work that is outside your professional wheelhouse but is easy to do. These tasks might include lower-paying jobs to get supplemental income, such as writing low-cost blog posts or copy/paste data entry. Avoiding crowding your resume with these jobs, and only list the jobs that will wow your future employer.

Skill-based Resume

We get it – you’re awesome and bring a lot to the table, right? If this sounds like you, then keep reading! Well, this style can work for anyone who works on a variety of tasks. As mentioned earlier, freelance work can mean broadening your scope of services to earn more and make ends meet. To logically highlight all these abilities, using a skill-based resume can help.

Separate by Category: Determine what abilities are most relevant for the job you’re pursuing. Add those experiences to the top of the list with a simple header such as “Web Design Consulting.” List everything chronologically and follow the advice listed above. Do this for each service you offer.

How Should You Word Your Self-Employed Resume?

Most people have traditional jobs. There is nothing wrong with this, but they likely do not know much about freelancing and the gig economy. Terms that are common for you may sound foreign or unimportant to hiring managers who are familiar with traditional resumes. Let’s review what information and phrasing you should use on your freelance resume.

Include a Bio

In almost all scenarios, people will tell you to skip the Objective or Profile Section of a resume, and this is good advice. However, your freelance resume may leave hiring managers confused, even if it has a clear, simple structure. By including a short bio that outlines who you are and what you do, you will help make sense of the content of your resume.

Show Results

Employers want to hire people who can deliver. They only know that if you show your accomplishments. While your experience can say what you did, it should mostly demonstrate what happened. This is where you can say your clickthrough rate, sales figures, or any other metric. You can even flip this around to show your experience in freelancing. For example, if you want to enter a sales or consulting role, you can say how many clients you landed, your billable hours, your lead generation results, and so on.

Link Your Portfolio

Speaking of results, you will also want to show off your work. It helps to have a portfolio linked to your resume that hiring managers can review. If you are a designer, you might want to create an account on Behance. If you are a writer, Contently helps create a clean portfolio. Take the time to show your best work – this is one of the most important steps in differentiating yourself from the competition.

List Your Skills

Since we already told you to keep your experiences succinct and to the point, you might be wondering how clients can see what you do. Well, providing a bulleted list of skills can help. Use this section to name items like coding languages, sales abilities, marketing skills, and more. It might help to go to LinkedIn and reviewing what skills hiring staff have listed on their job announcements.

Browse Templates to Find Inspiration

If you know what you want to write but need some design help, check out these free templates. Steal the ideas that you like to create the perfect freelance resume to help you find jobs.

Be sure to browse our How-To & Tips section to learn more on becoming a better freelancer!