Resume writing is an arduous task.
But it’s even more grueling for those who don’t follow a traditional career path. If you’re a freelancer, for example, or someone who earns a full time living through various streams of income (generally referred to as a “portfolio” career), your experience may appear a bit scattered on paper.
To overcome that, consider the following strategies.
Focus on Skillsets & Value Add
Employers want to understand your skills, but they also want to see your experience and how you’ve used those skills to deliver value to the organizations you’ve served. Combining all of these items in your resume packs a powerful punch.
According to Amy Ngo of Fiverr, a hybrid resume format is a good fit for people with diverse backgrounds. Fiverr is one of the world’s largest online marketplaces connecting businesses with freelance service providers, so Ngo knows a few things about the non-traditional work world. The hybrid format allows you to highlight your skill set at the top of the page, like in a functional resume, while listing your relevant experience in chronological format below.
Also read: How to Write a Freelance Resume
Consolidate Your Areas of Expertise
To help reduce the scattered appearance of your work, Ngo suggests that you may want to consolidate your areas of expertise. To do this, group together similar projects or roles under a single header.
For example, if you’re a freelancer who works in both graphic design and copyediting, you may have worked with multiple clients and on many projects. Group them together by type and list them out under separate headers—one that says “Freelance Graphic Designer” and another that says “Freelance Copyeditor.” Beneath each, highlight your best accomplishments for the group.
This prevents the experience section of your resume from looking like a laundry list of positions that have little to do with one another.
Remember that your resume isn’t a memoir. It doesn’t have to cover every detail of everything you’ve ever done. It’s perfectly acceptable to pick and choose what you want to share. If you held a part-time job in customer service while also working a part-time contract position in software development, there’s no need to include both on your resume.
Many people choose a non-traditional career path for the diversity of the work. However, when creating your resume, you only want to highlight the standout accomplishments that demonstrate the desired skillset of the role you’re seeking.
Highlight Your Entrepreneurial Skills
Freelancers, contractors, and people with portfolio careers are unique. They approach their career as a business—and many of them are indeed business owners. They have to market their services, oversee operations, and deliver exceptional client service. There is a whole host of skills required to be successful.
According to Amy Ngo, this is something to celebrate.
“People choose this path because they have a passion,” she says.
Embrace your entrepreneurial side and recognize that this is an important selling point. You offer a valuable perspective that many traditional employees lack.
Just because you’ve chosen (or stumbled into) a career path that doesn’t look like the average corporate employee, doesn’t mean you can’t create a stellar resume. It might require a little more thought, but many of the principles remain the same.