With the wide availability of online jobs and freelance positions, many job seekers have at least some freelance work under their belt. And freelancing provides unique, valuable work experience that can make a big difference when it comes to landing your dream job. The only question? How to present freelance work on your resume in the most effective way. Including freelance work on your resume really depends on your specific circumstances. If you freelanced steadily for a period of several years, it will present differently than if you occasionally accepted some external freelance work.
Freelancing consistently for one company or one type of project will have different benefits than freelancing for a number of unique clients. Only you can decide exactly how you want to include freelance work on your resume. It will depend on the type of work you do, the industry or field you are in, and the position for which you are applying. In general, here are four factors to keep in mind when including freelance work on your resume.
Most traditional resumes follow a chronological format. However, freelancers often choose a functional format instead. That means that instead of listing each job by the year you started it, you would group jobs by function. So, if you're applying for a creative writing position, and you've had two creative writing gigs, you would list those two gigs first. This functional format basically highlights your most relevant strengths first – particularly useful if you have freelance or other work experience in a number of unrelated fields or positions.
2. Special awards or concrete results
Freelancing is a great way to gain experience in your chosen field. So what's the downside? You can't always share concrete results. You may have worked as an uncredited ghostwriter, or you may not have been privy to the final product. However, if you have worked gigs that have created measurable results – and you've been recognised for it – you definitely want to include it on your resume. If you redesigned a client's website, and their unique visitors went from 1,000 a week to 2,000 daily, mention it – with evidence, if possible. Also include any awards or competitions you have won or special accolades you have received from clients.
3. Your online presence
If you've spent significant time freelancing, whether it's with copywriting, web design, or marketing consulting, you should have an online portfolio to showcase your work. If you don't, create one, either on a unique domain or using a freelance portfolio website. Depending on the medium, you can also show off your work on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. Also make sure to participate in relevant forums and conversations online. If you're a top commentator on a web design forum, list this on your resume. Prospective clients want to know you are well liked and trusted, both online and off, and your online presence can go a long way toward that.
The most important thing to remember? Your resume is just one amongst dozens – if not hundreds – of resumes that hiring managers see every day. Realistically, they're only spending a few seconds skimming over each one. That means you need to stand out from the crowd. No, you shouldn’t print your resume in purple ink or put a dragon watermark in the background. But you should use your resume to present yourself in a unique and interesting way. Go ahead and inject some humour into it.
Let your voice shine through. Remember that a real person is going to be reading it, and they're going to react like a real person – not a computer. Make your resume readable and likable, and your chance of landing a job will increase. Have you successfully included freelance work on your resume? What are your tips for including this work effectively?