How to Put Your Freelance Work on a Resume

Boost Your Resume with your Freelance Experience: Expert Tips and Guide on How to List Freelance Jobs, Skills and Expertise in Your Resume Perfectly.

Written By:
Alabi Mercy
Topic
Freelancing
Published Date:
Feb 19, 2024
Updated Date:
Jun 3, 2024

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The rise of the freelance economy has been a significant trend in recent years, with more and more professionals opting for the flexibility and autonomy of independent work. In fact, a 2022 study by Upwork found that 59 million Americans performed freelance work in the past year - a 24% increase from 2020.

This shift towards freelancing has been driven by a variety of factors, including the growth of the gig economy, the increasing demand for specialized skills, and the desire for work-life balance. Freelance work offers professionals the opportunity to take on a diverse range of projects, set their own schedules, and develop a varied skillset.

However, the challenge for many freelancers is how to effectively translate this experience into a traditional resume format. Highlighting your freelance work is crucial, as it demonstrates your versatility, entrepreneurial spirit, and ability to thrive in fast-paced, dynamic environments. Let’s highlight that in this blog.

Why You Should List Freelance Work on Your Resume

Highlight Diverse Skills

When listing your freelance experience on your resume, it's important to treat each engagement like a full-time job. This means providing the same level of detail and structure that you would for a traditional employment role.

Start by listing each freelance client or project as a separate job entry. Include the company or client name, your job title or role, the dates you worked with them, and a bulleted list of your key responsibilities and accomplishments.

For example:

Freelance Marketing Consultant | June 2020 - Present

  • Provided digital marketing strategy and content creation for small businesses in the e-commerce and SaaS industries
  • Developed customized social media marketing campaigns that drove a 25% increase in website traffic and a 20% boost in lead generation
  • Conducted competitive analysis and keyword research to optimize SEO and PPC performance, resulting in 30% higher conversion rates
  • Collaborated cross-functionally with clients' internal teams to ensure alignment on marketing objectives and execution

When you frame your freelance work in this structured format, you demonstrate to the hiring manager that you approached each project with the same level of professionalism and rigor as a traditional full-time role.

Freelance work often requires you to rapidly adapt and apply a diverse skillset to a variety of client needs. Be sure to highlight the specific skills you've honed through these engagements, especially those that are directly relevant to the role you're applying for.

Perhaps you've developed expertise in project management, client communication or freelance networking, or agile methodologies. Or maybe you've expanded your technical capabilities in areas like graphic design, web development, or data analysis.

Whatever the case may be, quantify your achievements and impact wherever possible to demonstrate the tangible value you can bring.

Demonstrate Professional Growth

Demonstrate Professional Growth

In addition to showcasing your diverse skillset, freelance work also provides an opportunity to highlight your professional development and growth over time.

As you take on new projects and clients, be sure to illustrate how your responsibilities, capabilities, and impact have evolved. Perhaps you started out as a generalist but gradually became known as a subject matter expert in a particular domain. Or maybe you took on more complex, high-stakes assignments that required you to continually expand your skillset.

When highlighting your freelance work on your resume, it's important to focus on the skills and expertise that are most relevant to the role you're applying for. While it's tempting to list every task and achievement, you'll want to be selective and strategic in your approach.

Carefully review the job description and identify the key qualifications the employer is seeking. Then, tailor your freelance work descriptions to emphasize the specific skills, experiences, and accomplishments that align with those requirements.

For example, if you're applying for a product marketing role, you might want to emphasize your expertise in areas like market research, competitive analysis, campaign strategy, and digital advertising.

If the role involves project management, you could highlight your success in delivering complex, multifaceted freelance engagements on time and within budget.

Quantify Your Achievements and Impact

Whenever possible, quantify the impact of your freelance work to demonstrate its real-world significance. This could include metrics like:

  • Increased website traffic, leads, or sales
  • Improved conversion rates or customer retention
  • Cost savings or efficiency gains for the client
  • Time or resources saved through your contributions
  • Awards, recognitions, or positive client testimonials

When you provide numerical evidence of your achievements, you'll paint a more vivid picture of the value you can bring to the employer. This helps differentiate your freelance experience from generic task-based descriptions.

Position Yourself as a Solution

When presenting your freelance experience on your resume, it's important to go beyond simply listing the tasks you've completed. Instead, focus on demonstrating how your skills and achievements can directly benefit the potential employer.

Prove to potential clients that you've successfully handled similar tasks before. By highlighting your track record of delivering positive outcomes for past clients, you'll establish yourself as a proven problem-solver who can hit the ground running.

For example, rather than simply stating that you "created social media content", you could say:

"Developed engaging social media content strategies that drove a 25% increase in audience engagement and a 20% boost in lead generation for ecommerce clients."

This not only shows that you have the required skills, but also quantifies the tangible impact you were able to achieve. It positions you as someone who can step in and deliver measurable results.

Similarly, you might reframe "managed client projects" as:

"Spearheaded complex, cross-functional client projects, consistently meeting deadlines and staying within budget to the satisfaction of stakeholders."

By emphasizing your ability to successfully navigate challenges, meet objectives, and exceed client expectations, you'll differentiate yourself as a reliable and impactful freelance professional.

Remember, the goal is to paint a clear picture of how your freelance experience has equipped you to be an immediate asset. Highlight the specific ways in which your skills and achievements directly address the needs of the role you're applying for.

This solution-oriented approach will help the hiring manager envision how you can step in and start driving value from day one.

What to Include on a Freelance Resume

What to Include on a Freelance Resume

Your Introduction

Start your resume with a concise, impactful introduction that summarizes your professional background and key strengths as a freelancer. This could be in the form of a professional summary or headline.

Example:

Seasoned Freelance Marketing Consultant with 7+ years of experience delivering data-driven digital marketing strategies and campaigns that drive measurable results for clients in the technology and e-commerce industries.

Work Experience

List out your relevant freelance engagements and projects in a structured format, similar to how you would present traditional full-time roles. Include the client/company name, your title, dates worked, and detailed bullet points highlighting your key responsibilities and achievements.

Be sure to quantify your impact wherever possible to demonstrate the value you brought. This could include metrics like increased website traffic, higher conversion rates, cost savings, or other bottom-line business outcomes.

Skills

Compile a comprehensive list of the hard and soft skills you've developed through your freelance work. This might include technical proficiencies, creative abilities, project management expertise, effective communication, and more.

Organize these skills in a way that emphasizes their relevance to the roles you're targeting. You can list them in a dedicated "Skills" section or weave them throughout your other resume sections.

Education and Certifications

Document any formal education, training programs, or industry certifications you've completed. This helps validate your expertise and qualifications.

If you have an academic degree, list it along with your field of study and the institution's name. For certifications, provide the certification title, issuing organization, and completion date.

Client Testimonials and Recommendations

Consider including select client testimonials or recommendations that speak to the quality of your work and the results you've achieved. This third-party validation can be a powerful way to build credibility.

You can incorporate these within your work experience descriptions or include them in a dedicated section. Just be sure to get permission from the clients first.

What to Not Include on a Freelance Resume

Irrelevant Freelance Work

It's generally best to omit projects or clients that aren't directly related to the position you're applying for. Including irrelevant freelance experience can clutter your resume and distract from the most important information.

Instead, focus on highlighting the freelance engagements that most closely align with the requirements of the role. This allows you to paint a clear, compelling picture of your applicable skills and experience.

Very Short or One-Off Projects

Freelance assignments can sometimes be brief, one-time engagements. While these can still be valuable to include, you'll want to be selective about which ones make it onto your resume.

Projects that were extremely short-term or had minimal impact may be better left off. Focus on showcasing your more substantial, impactful freelance work.

Breaking NDAs

If you've worked on confidential projects that are subject to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), you'll need to be very careful about how you represent that experience.

Avoid including specifics that could violate the NDA. Instead, try to highlight the relevant skills, responsibilities, and achievements from those projects without revealing sensitive information.

For example, you might say "Developed customized data visualization dashboards to track key business metrics for a leading SaaS company" rather than naming the client.

Negative Associations

Similarly, you'll want to steer clear of including any freelance work that could carry negative associations. This might include projects for controversial clients, assignments that resulted in poor outcomes, or experiences that ended on a sour note.

The goal is to present a resume that focuses on your most impressive, impactful, and relevant freelance accomplishments. Anything that could raise red flags or distract from that narrative is best left off.

Things to Consider on Resume

Things to Consider on Resume

Be Concise

When it comes to your freelance resume, less is often more. Aim to provide just the essential details about each engagement - enough to showcase your relevant skills and achievements, without getting bogged down in unnecessary information.

Focus on highlighting your biggest wins and most impactful contributions. Quantify your results whenever possible to demonstrate the value you've delivered.

Be Accurate

It's critical that the information on your freelance resume is 100% factual and truthful. Avoid any exaggerations or embellishments, as that can quickly erode the hiring manager's trust.

Double-check dates, titles, client names, and any metrics or claims you make. Maintain a clear, honest, and transparent representation of your freelance background.

Start and End Dates

Be sure to include the start and end dates for each freelance opportunity you list. This helps the reader understand the scope and duration of your engagements.

If you're still actively working with a client, you can list the start date and "Present" for the end date. For completed projects, provide the specific month and year for both the start and end.

Providing this timeline information gives the hiring manager a clear sense of your freelance experience and availability.

Conclusion

Putting together a strong freelance resume requires a strategic approach. You want to highlight your most relevant experience, skills, and accomplishments in a clear, compelling way.

The key elements to include are:

  1. Introduction - A concise summary of your freelance background and key strengths
  2. Work Experience - Detailed listings of your freelance projects and engagements
  3. Skills - A comprehensive overview of your technical and soft skills
  4. Education & Certifications - Documentation of your formal training and credentials
  5. Client Testimonials - Positive feedback that reinforces the value you provide

Focusing on these core components, you will be able to present a freelance resume that effectively markets your expertise and demonstrates why you're the ideal candidate.

Just remember to be strategic, concise, and accurate in your approach.

FAQ

Should I list all of my freelance projects on my resume?

No, it's generally best to selectively showcase the freelance engagements that are most closely aligned with the role you're pursuing. Highlight your most substantial, impactful work.

How do I handle freelance work with NDAs?

Avoid including specifics that could violate confidentiality agreements. Focus on highlighting the relevant skills, responsibilities, and achievements without revealing sensitive information.

What if I had a negative experience with a freelance client?

It's best to omit any freelance work that could carry negative associations. The goal is to present a resume that emphasizes your most impressive accomplishments.

Do I need to include start and end dates for every freelance project?

Yes, providing the timeline for each engagement helps the hiring manager understand the scope and duration of your freelance experience.

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