Freelance work is more popular than ever. Many people have dived right into the gig economy. Others have officially started their own businesses.
Freelancing is certainly defined by a unique skillset – determination, self-motivation, resilience, marketing, time management, and budgeting, in addition to industry-specific skills. The challenge can be leveraging this experience and demonstrating those skills to future employers or new clients.
Below, you will find an actual freelancer’s top tips for listing freelance experience on a resume. You can also check out these freelance experience on resume examples for more inspiration.
Register Your Business
By far the easiest way to legitimize freelance work on your resume is to legally register your business in accordance with local laws. Depending on where you live, this may include registering with the city, county, or state. There may be associated fees and taxes to be paid thereafter.
When you register your business, you give your work a name and an identity. It is no longer a random collection of personal projects – instead, it is a thriving example of entrepreneurship.
When you operate your freelancing as a sole proprietorship, there is no need to label yourself as a freelancer on your resume. After all, your local plumber or handyman doesn’t call himself a freelancer, even if he works for himself, taking on small projects.
You can list your experience in this way:
Date – Date
- Bulleted description
What is your position title? That is up to you. Bear in mind that the ideal title that you give yourself may depend on the job to which you are applying. Legally, as the majority owner, you can call yourself whatever you want. For example, if you are looking for a position in business management, you might use the position title of Founder or CEO.
If you are looking for a position in your industry, however, a title that is more descriptive of your actual skillset would be more appropriate. Think Writer, Photographer, Graphic Designer, Content Creator, Web Developer, Social Media Specialist, or the like.
Leverage Big Names
Are there companies that you are particularly proud of working for? If your freelance work has paired you with household names like Coca-Cola, Google, Apple, Pepsi, Nike, or so many others, you can leverage this on your resume. After all, these companies have the resources to hire the best in the business. If they chose you, well, that screams that you excel at what you do.
There are several ways that you can include these company names on your resume. If you worked on an extended project of three months or more, you can create a dedicated listing in your work experience. Simply include the word “Freelance” in front of your position title for full disclosure that you weren’t technically an employee, but a freelance consultant.
If you worked with the company for less than three months, it is best not to create a separate listing. In that case, you can still include the company name in the bulleted description as described above (when you own your own business) or below (grouping individual projects). You might compose one bullet point in this way:
- Created user-generated content (UGC) in the form of choreographed Instagram posts for the Coca-Cola company; subsequently shared to their following of 154K.
Fill the Gaps
Career gaps have become more common and accepted in recent years. But if you can fill them with skill and accomplishment-rich experiences, your resume will look that much better for it.
Picking up gig or freelance work is a great way to fill extended gaps between traditional forms of employment. But how do you list it on your resume if your projects were brief and you didn’t register a business?
Don’t worry, we’ve still got you covered. You can mesh this type of gig work into a coherent resume listing. You might do so in this way:
March 2020 to January 2021
- Created charming studio and outdoor portraits…
Did you notice what this listing didn’t include? It simply omitted the company name. And that’s okay because we included the qualifier “Freelance” before the job title “Photographer.”
Your prospective employer will no doubt understand that you weren’t employed by a photography studio, but at the same time, you weren’t sitting on the couch between jobs. You were using your skills and gaining experience.
You can list your freelance work this way even if considerable time passed between your gigs. For example, maybe you didn’t work during the entire month of November. But the point is, you were picking up gig work during the March to January time frame in the example. Thus, you close the career gap.
You can include freelance work on your resume by:
- Starting your own business
- Listing long projects
- Grouping small projects