Blog How to Write a Resume for Freelancers
When looking for a freelance position, it’s a good idea to have a simple resume on hand to send out to potential clients. A freelance resume should differ from a job-seeker resume as your client is not interested in how you have developed throughout your career, only how your experience can help them with their business needs.
The tips below will help you to create your freelance resume and show clients just how good you can be!
For help building your freelance resume, contact email@example.com.
Put yourself in your client’s shoes
Imagine you are the client. What would you be looking for when you hire a freelancer? Which skills are important? And what type of clients have they previously worked for? Thinking like your ideal client will enable to you streamline your resume and sell yourself based on the client’s needs.
A freelance resume will ideally be one page, simply formatted with minimal text. Unlike job-seeker resumes, you don’t have to worry about being passed through automatic applicant tracking systems, so feel free to use columns, graphics and styling where appropriate to make your resume stand out from your competition.
If design is not your strength, Microsoft Word has some inbuilt resume templates that you can tweak to your needs. Personally, I use the free version of canva.com to create interesting resume designs which can be downloaded as a PDF, and I have designer friends who even use Photoshop, InDesign and other professional tools. Try not to go overboard with colours and graphics, as you want to make sure not to draw attention away from your work-related skills (unless, of course, you are a designer).
Write an effective bio
The bio section is your personal elevator pitch, so it should be short, snappy, and accurately describe your key skills and experiences. Always write in indirect 3rd person, and avoid using pronouns at all when possible. You can mention soft skills in the bio, but be prepared to back them up with data later in the resume. Most importantly, don’t overstuff it with meaningless keywords!
Consider this example:
“I am a highly experienced, results focused commercial real estate professional, available to consult with clients Australia-wide. I have strong knowledge of change management and significant experience in process automation, with proven success in reducing operating costs for my clients.”
Whilst I can understand the services this person offers, it is not specific and the tone is slightly unprofessional. The phrase “highly experienced” is too general (experienced in what? For how long?), and noting that they are “available” is unnecessary. Why else would you be sending a resume?
Compare the above to:
“Results focused commercial real estate professional with over 10 years’ industry experience consulting with major white-collar clients Australia-wide. Strong knowledge of change management and significant experience in process automation, with proven success in reducing operating costs through engagement of new technologies.”
This second example is much more specific, and the absence of personal pronouns makes it sound more sharp and precise.
Detail your past successes
Although resume space is limited, you want potential clients to know the detail of your previous experience and successes. For example, the sentence “Increased Facebook followers from 1k to 4k in one month” describes exactly the achievements and timeframe, and gives prospective clients an idea of what they can expect. Graphs and charts can be used to enhance your figures, but limit yourself to a maximum of 2 charts so as not to distract from the overall resume.
As a freelancer, you most likely have a portfolio of quality work behind you. In this day and age you can assume that your resume is being viewed online, so include links to up to 3 of the best examples of your previous work or publications. For writers and designers, it may be worth setting up a portfolio website so that clients can quickly overview your work.
Testimonials are highly valuable in providing social proof of your abilities, but often consume the limited space on your resume. Instead of writing out testimonials in full, a link to your testimonials or social media page will help convince clients that you are the right choice and have been for many others.
Skip the space wasters
Job-seekers can afford to include extra details such as hobbies and education in their resume as recruiters usually value this information. In contrast, a freelancer should directly address the client’s business needs and avoid any surplus information. It is usually not necessary to include such details as an objective, educational background or the ubiquitous phrase “references available on request”, as your client most likely simply doesn’t care.
In a freelance resume, there is no need to list all of your qualifications and training. If you have an extra qualification that may enhance your application then feel free to add the detail (eg. an MBA for a freelance analyst), but don’t waste precious space by including your Bachelor of Marketing from 10 years ago! Your experience and previous results are much more important to demonstrate your work ability than an outdated qualification.
Have different resumes for different situations
If you work in more than one niche, you need to have more than one resume. For example, I am a content developer, project manager and digital marketer, and have a separate resume for each of these jobs. This allows you to highlight only the most salient details from each skill set and ensure that your clients see only what is important to them.
Whether or not to include an image is a matter of personal preference. If you have a clear, professional headshot, it may be appropriate to include it as part of the resume. In some cultures it is perfectly normal to include a headshot, however in Western Europe, Australia and North America it is not recommended due to anti-discrimination regulations, and may actually work against you when applying to freelance positions in large organisations. If you are a known thought-leader in your industry then an image is generally beneficial.
The tips listed in this article will help you to get started on building your freelance resume. Remember to keep it concise, visually appealing and demonstrative of your past experience, and once complete you are ready to start reaching out to clients.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help building your ideal freelance resume.