Today’s post is not about life in China or Sweden but still it is quite relevant for people like me. People have asked me to help them write a resumé. Writing a resumé is a simple task if you are an employee and have had a couple of different jobs, just writing them chronological and that’s it.
But if you are a freelancer? Then what should you think about when writing your resumé then?
Freelance workers do not follow the normal patterns of professional life. While this mode of working can offer freedom and wonderful opportunities, it can make putting together a resumé more complicated. The classic resumé was designed for people with traditional job experience who work regular 9-to-5s. Fitting a freelancer’s work experience into that framework is challenging, but possible. Here are the six rules you should follow.
1. Use the traditional format. The fact that your work experience is a little outside the norm does not mean it makes sense to make weird stylistic or formatting choices on your resumé. Use the third person, adopt a professional tone, and don’t use strange fonts or distracting graphics or colors. Use subheadings to organize your resumé.
2. Consider grouping related experience. While a classic chronological resumé can certainly work for a freelancer, this method can result in a disorganized, confusing resumé — especially if there is a lot of variety in the sorts of projects you’ve tackled. Using the functional method to organize your resumé around specific skills and competencies can give a clearer picture of your actual talents.
3. Be specific. Figuring out exactly what roles and responsibilities a freelancer has fulfilled can be tough. You must overcome this by drawing a clear picture of your work experience. Always be specific, and be detailed when necessary. For each project or position, ensure a reader can walk away with a solid sense of what you spent your time doing.
4. Quantify achievements. Quantifying your successes is a good idea for anyone, but is especially important for people who do not hold traditional jobs. You need to demonstrate what value you provided for your clients. Simple job descriptions are of much less relevance when you are a freelancer. Use hard data and client testimonials if possible.
5. Don’t include everything. As a freelancer, you may have worked on hundreds of different projects. Including every bit of work experience you’ve had will result in resumé that is far too long. Certain parts of your work are doubtless more impressive than others. Include the former and leave out the latter.
6. Tailor your resumé. As a freelancer, you may have wide and varied experience. Some of your accomplishments will be more relevant to a specific opening than others. Freelancers generally need to spend more time tailoring their resumé than those with more traditional experience. Look over your work history and cut out experience that doesn’t serve your current purpose.
Ultimately, anyone looking at your resumé won’t fundamentally care whether your experience came in a traditional office job or as a freelancer. What that person will care about is what you have accomplished, what skills you have, and what you can provide them. Your goal on your resumé is to properly showcase your professional strengths, and thereby show what you can accomplish going forward.