Highlighting freelance work on resume- explained in 3 scenarios
Highlighting freelance experience:
Freelance could be your main stream gig now or an interim gig, mentioning it in your resume is certainly important. Many job seekers seem to be in dilemma on how to encompass their experience to make it relevant to the future jobs.
Those who freelance to fill the “employment gap” between their past employment and the prospective employment, constantly bump into diverse questions like the following:
- Should I mention the freelance experience or not?
- Do I mention the clients and project details?
- Do I list each freelance task/project as a separate job?
- Freelance is my part-time job, alongside my full-time job! Do I include both?
- What other details can I provide, to showcase my work?
- What documentation supports my freelance experience as legitimate?
The 3 common scenarios, considered here are
- Scenario 1: When freelance is your main job (now and in the future)
- And Scenario 2: Freelance is your interim job only
- Scenario 3: Freelance is your part-time job
1. Freelance is your main job now:
There isn’t a specific freelance resume template. Showcase your freelance work supported by details like business clients, specific projects. Because your future employment is also freelance, highlight your achievements based on the projects you pursue. Categorizing jobs based on the role is helpful to comprehend, than individually listing each project. Chronological reference is also important, as it reflects your key professional traits like stability, commitment and experience level.
Every aspect you mention about your work, should ease you in fetching your future projects.
Do not let minor, unimportant details become obstacles on your resume. Avoid scattered information, diverse roles and titles. Make your profile uniform and comprehensible.
Although you own the job and you created your own business, self- proclaimed unrealistic job titles, add less meaning to the work you do. With the surge in self-employment, more people are tempted to call themselves a CEO, MD, Founder, and more. Let your job titles be apt, according to your experience level and the role. Research on job portals to know various titles that specifically match with your industry.
2. Freelance is your interim job:
This is a knotty situation, generally most people are confused if they must downplay the experience or highlight it. You seek traditional jobs ultimately, hence, ensure that your freelance experience is relevant and complimentary to your future positions. The experience must add value to the potential job you are looking for.
How to show relevance?
- Translate the achievements from freelance work into company/job requirements
- Categorize similar tasks into one job, rather than listing all individually
- Quantify the results, accomplishments, wherever possible
- Give reference if all your work is in one repository or a web platform (ignore if it’s not- you can give references when asked)
If it relates to your career goals, highlight it well. Even if it doesn’t add much value, it at least shows continuity in your career. Read the next scenario, on how to categorize this experience.
3. Freelance is your part-time job:
This means you have a full-time job, but you work part-time to develop a related/different skill, to enhance knowledge in an area, to earn extra money or to support others.
There isn’t a single common answer, it depends on the work you do and the role you presently want. If this experience is totally not related to your present role or the role you’re seeking, but you still feel its prominent, then mention it under a separate category like, Other employment/Additional experience. You can also mention it under a different header, naming it by experience, i.e. “Sales experience” “Writing Experience”.
Let your related experience be the highlight! As in scenario 2, if the freelance is related, then keep the flow of work experience chronological!
In general, information authenticity and formatting rules are the same as in regular resumes. Interviewers can also probe questions based on the experience you mentioned on your resume. So, go to the interview prepared!
If you do not want to miss lucrative job opportunities, because of a poorly narrated freelance experience, always keep RELEVANCE and JOB LEVEL in mind. These are the two key factors that assist you in deciding what to highlight and what to omit on your resume.