How to Build an Effective Freelance Resume

Showcase your specialized skills, accomplishments, and qualifications by creating an effective freelance resume catering to the job you want.

How to Build an Effective Freelance Resume

Becoming a freelancer can be liberating and also a challenge at the same time. You now must seek out your clients and build or expand the amount of work you take on.

Even with networking, however, finding those new clients is ultimately up to you. For this reason, you will need a tool to showcase your skills, accomplishments, and qualifications as a non-traditional worker.

You’ll need a freelance resume.

Whether you focus on social media marketing, journalistic writing, portrait photography, graphic design, or one of the other numerous possibilities today, an effective resume to share with prospective clients can make all the difference.

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    How Will a Freelance Resume Differ from a Traditional Resume?

    As a freelancer, you are tasked with continually finding new clients, and to do so, you need a special kind of resume.

    The primary purpose of a resume is to give the employer or contractor enough information to swiftly determine whether or not you are a potential fit for the job they have available.

    Traditional resumes summarize your professional experience and educational background, listing out the companies you’ve worked for and when and also describing what you did for them. All of this information is usually presented in chronological order.

    In contrast, the freelancer resume provides an opportunity for you to share specific experiences relating to the job or contract you are seeking. It is a chance to pitch yourself as the best person for the job.

    Say you are a social media marketing freelancer. Your resume will showcase particular information beneficial to those businesses or individuals who need the type of services you offer.

    There’s no need to get overly creative in designing your resume, however. Save that for your website or online portfolio. Clarity is the most important feature here, so get to the point quickly and succinctly.

    Tips for Building Up a Freelancer Resume

    1. Find a Template that Works for You

    These days, you can find numerous resume templates online to help guide you.

    The best choices for freelancers are those with functional layouts. A functional resume focuses foremost on your skills and qualifications.

    With it, those hiring can quickly see what you are all about and what you offer.

    It also shows your capabilities and whether you will be able to complete the tasks that the business needs help with.

    As for you, you can use the functional resume to pitch yourself, including the most relevant and related skills for the client’s needs.

    Search online for resume templates. A few places you can find various versions include Google Docs Resume Builder and Canva. Check out some resumes templates on canva.com, for example:

    Resume for freelancers on Canva.com

    LinkedIn also offers a free resume builder option.

    2. Customize Your Resume to the Job You Want

    The most important step you can take to land a freelance job is to always customize your resume to fit that job specifically.

    This practice is essential regardless of what industry you are in or what freelance work you seek.

    To help make this easier, keep a file or list of all your accomplishments, skills, and experiences in one place. Also, create a baseline resume that you can modify each time to fit with a particular job description.

    When you find a job or opportunity you’re interested in, review the job description for keywords, and incorporate them into your resume.

    Not only will this capture the eye of the reviewer, many times, but companies also use a computer scan for particular words. Without them, you won’t move on to the next stage, where a real person will see your resume.

    Also, make a list of the included qualifications and skills in the job description. These are often listed in order of priority or importance to the client. Use them as an outline for your listings of skills and examples.

    3. Use Your Objective or Summary to Highlight Your Most Relevant Skills

    Adding an objective or summary to a resume falls in and out of favor throughout the years, but essentially it can play an important role in your freelance resume.

    With a career objective, you have the opportunity to express your professional goals and show how those goals align with the needs of their business.

    A summary, on the other hand, is beneficial for those with a lot of relevant experience to share. It is also a brief, unique way to present yourself and pitch your abilities.

    In essence, your summary is your sales pitch, so make it good.

    Whichever one you choose to include, be sure to highlight your most relevant skills, particularly those that correspond with the skills mentioned in the job description itself.

    Use short, clear, concise wording here and keep it to 2-4 sentences at best.

    Here is an example objective. “Creative and results-oriented social media marketing freelancer seeking opportunities to leverage proven conversion skills in a start-up environment.”

    An example summary includes: “Freelance proofreader and editor with 10 years of experience proofreading and editing featured articles, manuscripts, and white papers.

    Specialization in business, leadership, and legal topics.” You can also add association memberships and any awards you’ve received here.

    4. Emphasize Skills and Accomplishments

    Freelancing involves unique circumstances where you may not legally be able to share your experience with the name of the client.

    This may be due to signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) or serving as a ghostwriter or a similar role.

    Even if you can share details, you’ll benefit more from emphasizing your skills, accomplishments, and qualifications.

    Skills

    To expand your list of skills, create a snapshot of what ones are relevant to the job at hand. You can organize these into categories or themes.

    Consider adding both hard skills, such as database administration, digital marketing, language translation, or accounting, and soft skills like communication, adaptability, and self-motivation.

    Accomplishments

    Think of your accomplishments as a way to showcase your ability to produce results that are measurable in some way.

    Use numbers and statistics whenever possible.

    Otherwise, find another way to quantify your success, such as sharing your re-hire rate.

    Another way to structure your accomplishments is to look at the freelance job’s specific qualifications. Use these to customize your accomplishments and match what that client is seeking.

    You can also include relevant skills by mixing them in with your listing of accomplishments and qualifications.

    A few examples include:

    • Created 6 months of social media content for [client or client type], resulting in an [%] increase in engagement.
    • Published over 1000 blog posts for [client names] which increased readership by [%].
    • Tripled the number of top-ranking keywords for [client] in six months by creating and optimizing new content and web pages.
    • Developed an email campaign for [client, or client descriptor] that achieved a 34% open rate and a 5% conversion rate.

    In essence, your summary is your sales pitch, so make it good.

    5. Include Relevant Education or Certifications

    While the focus will be mainly on your skills and accomplishments, your educational background can also provide a boost and demonstrate your commitment and expertise in a particular niche.

    Include any relevant education, including courses, degrees, certifications, or workshops/seminars attended and completed.

    6. Provide Links to Your Website, Online Profiles, Portfolio, or Social Media

    To supplement your freelance resume, include links to your website, online profiles, an established portfolio, or even your social media.

    There are advantages to each of these, and the ones you share will depend on the type of freelance services you offer.

    If your website or online portfolio contains work samples, include the link along with your contact information at the top of the resume.

    You can also include a link at the bottom in a call-to-action, requesting that the hiring individual check out your samples for further proof of your abilities.

    Share links to your LinkedIn profile or other industry-specific profile, such as on Dribble, a place for creatives and digital designers, or the Editorial Freelancers Association.

    Social media can showcase your skills and interests as well, and those hiring can get a sense of your social media behavior.

    For example, sharing your Instagram account link will be beneficial, especially if you are a freelance photographer.

    Wrap Up: Win More Work with an Efficient Freelance Resume

    Recruiters or hiring managers rarely spend ample amounts of time reading over freelance resumes, so you need to include only the most relevant information.

    To help win more work then, ensure that your freelance resume is scannable, tailored to a specific job, and includes a list of relevant skills and accomplishments.

    If applicable, also include your educational background and any links to supplementary information, such as a website, online profile or portfolio, and social media.

    If you’re looking for new ways to make the most of your social media profiles, check out our tips for how to better impress your audience.

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    Barbara von der Osten Rock author vector
    Rock Content Writer

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