Representing freelance work on a resume can be a pain – and anyone who has had freelance gigs in their career will agree.
Instead of a simple, chronological career progression from company A to company B, with title C and title D, you have to find the best way to represent 6 projects with 4 companies.
Now there you are: eyeing that next full or part-time position, and trying to figure out what to include on your resume, and where to include it. It’s a task that must be handled delicately and with some finnese. You need to provide rich details, but also keep your resume within a reasonable length.
So let’s dive in and see how a freelance resume will behave compared to a traditional one, and how you should represent that experience.
Freelance Consultant Resume: How It’s Different
Not every career path is the same – you may have only held freelance jobs across your career, you may have had just one or two between full-time roles. You may be looking ahead at a full-time opportunity, or you may be seeking another freelance opportunity.
This introduces several problems when building your resume: Should you list each project chronologically? Should you include every engagement? How do you include full-time work? How do you fit all of this in one or two pages?
There are several paths you can take to illustrate your career progression but above all else, your resume must be clean, easy to read, and relevant.
For that reason, you should do your best to keep your resume in the standard, reverse-chronological layout. This is also the best option for those who have a few freelance positions peppered across your resume because it will fill in any gaps you would create by listing them elsewhere on the resume. A hiring manager is most often going to power-read through your work experience first and then read peripherals later, so continuity is critical.
Creating a Freelance Resume
For those whose career is more freelance heavy than full time, reverse chronological order is still the preferred option, but you have an alternative.
Include your work as part of your own practice, and introduce each project as a sub-header section within this portion of the resume.
Here is an example:
Jane Doe Consulting 2005-Present
Salesforce Consultant 2013-2015
- Bullet point 1
- Bullet point 2
- Bullet point 3
If you have also held full time positions across your career, keep your freelance work at the top and list full-time work below, especially if the freelance work is more relevant to the job you are applying for.
Some professionals choose to only list select freelance work towards the top of their resume. Keep in mind that this may decontextualize your career story – but if the work you are highlighting is extremely relevant to the position you are applying for, it can work to your benefit. You want to provide the reader the most relevant information as quickly and cleanly as you can.
How to Describe Freelance Work on Your Resume
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when describing your freelance work is to make a list of clients and projects.
- ACB Corporation – Interim Team Leader 2013-2014
- QRS Industries – Consultant 2012-2013
- XYZ, LLC – Freelance Work 2010-2012
Whatever the clients and work may be, a lack of context or depth on a resume is an eye-sore for employers. Space permitting, you want to include the list of major, quantifiable achievements for each project or engagement. Without these details, you are relying on the brand name and position to catch the reader’s attention.
And speaking of brand names – be sure to list them, especially when they have some star power. You will really impress the reader when you include the scope of the project and what you delivered for the multi-national/innovative company you worked with.
In conclusion, you’re going to need to keep a balance of rich, exciting, and relevant content – while using minimal space. If you choose to break from reverse-chronological order, make sure that you only do so to highlight a very important piece of information for the job you are applying to.