How To Put Freelance Work on a Resume

How To Put Freelance Work on a Resume
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As a freelancer, you’ve built an impressive set of skills that companies value. Having experience freelancing can help you stand out to potential employers and clients. Before you start applying for jobs, you want to make sure that you know how to put freelance work on your resume in a way that highlights your talents.

As well as the hard skills that you've developed around the services you offer, freelancing requires soft skills like time management, problem solving, and client communication. If you’re not highlighting on your resume how these skills relate to your freelance work, you may be underselling yourself. Instead, you need to showcase your past freelance projects and their results.

In this article, we'll explore how to put freelance work on your resume with examples and best practices to follow.

How to list freelance work

When listing past freelance jobs on your resume, there are a few things to consider. Freelancers should list their positions and who they’ve worked with on their resumes in reverse-chronological order.

This section of your resume should include things like start and end dates, a summary of your project responsibilities, and any achievements or positive outcomes for the project.

Keep in mind that you can have a few different versions of your resume based on the types of jobs you're applying to. You may want to highlight a specific freelancing project that closely matches the role and its responsibilities.

How to list freelance work on your resume

  1. List your role
  2. Add the dates of the freelance work
  3. Add the company
  4. Provide a project summary
  5. Note any project achievements  

How to list freelance work on your resume

When listing past freelance jobs on your resume, there are a few things to consider. Freelancers should always list their positions and who they’ve worked with on their resumes in reverse-chronological order. This section of your resume should include things like start and end dates, a summary of your project responsibilities, and any achievements or positive outcomes for the project.

1. List your role

Your job proposal is much more likely to be accepted when you can show you’ve previously been successful in a similar role. While it may seem like an obvious addition to any resume, you should let potential clients know what kinds of projects you’ve completed in the past. Whether the project was big or small, freelancers need to give prospective clients a look into their successful work history.  

As freelancing carries the weight of independent business ownership, you can demonstrate to clients how you’ve handled these various responsibilities.

Freelance graphic designer

Example

If you’re applying to an ad-writing job post, you should include your related writing experiences in your resume (and it may be practical to link to an example when writing your cover letter as well).

2. Add the dates of the freelance work

Listing start and end dates from your previous freelancing opportunities can help potential clients, recruiters, and hiring managers understand the scope and level of experience in a given industry. In addition, these dates display how recently you worked in the field, employment gaps, or how long you’ve stayed with opportunities. This portion of your resume can strengthen your work experience and showcase long-term or repeat clients.  

Contribution

Example

If a potential client wants to know how recent your last app programming project was, they should be able to find it easily on your resume. Completing a similar project recently versus several years ago can make a difference in landing a job, especially for technology-related projects. ‍

3. Add the company

Adding the names of companies you’ve completed freelance work for in the past will help give your project experience more credibility in the eyes of potential clients. In addition, listing these past clients serves as an industry reference for your work. When potential clients see that you’ve done work for companies similar to them, you’ll be more likely to stand out during the hiring process.

Company and services

Example

If you worked as a virtual assistant and researcher for a marketing agency in the same niche as the next freelance job you’re applying for—make sure it is fully represented on your resume!

However, irrelevant freelance experience, such as a food service job, can be removed from your resume because you should focus on using the limited space to make the strongest case for that specific freelancing gig. ‍

4. Provide a project summary

Suppose a potential client is unable to understand the role and responsibilities within a project on your resume. In that case, you may get passed over for applicants who explain their work experience more effectively.

To avoid this, you’ll want to add snippets of information on what you’ve done for other clients and jobs. Taking this one step further, potential clients love to see measurable contributions. So, try to quantify your experience within the project summary section.

INSERT IMAGE

5. Note any achievements

You’ll also want to include any achievements, recognitions, awards, or positive results from your prior freelancing experiences. This quick snippet of a real-world outcome when it comes to your work can be a boost to your resume in the eyes of potential employers.

Quote

If you received a positive review on your Upwork profile for a specific project, consider adding a quote from the review if you’ve got the space or linking to your profile so that the prospective client can view the feedback.

Examples of freelance work on resumes

Below are two examples that show how to include a freelance project on your resume effectively.

You can use these resumes as examples to help see how you can add freelance work to your resume.

Why you should list freelance work on your resume

Compared to traditional employment, being self-employed as a freelancer helps you develop a wide variety of skills that potential employers look for. Freelancers are small business owners. Rather than being regularly assigned work by a manager, you have to actively seek out new clients and maintain your reputation.

Freelancing is a valuable part of your work history and is important for:

  • Explaining any gaps in employment
  • Demonstrating your experience with specific skills
  • Highlighting your versatility across multiple industries or niches
  • Showcasing transferable skills like time management and client communication
  • Illustrating your expertise and entrepreneurship

Best practices for listing freelance work

When it comes to putting together your resume, you can choose from a variety ofTransitioning from freelancing to full-time? resume formats and stylistic guidelines. But, to make it easier for you, we’ve pulled the most important things for you to consider when writing your resume. These best practices will help your freelancing resume stick out from the crowd and help you get more interviews.

  • Organize your freelancing work. Let clients know if you worked on a freelancing platform like Upwork or directly with your client. Group similar types of projects together.
  • Highlight your most impressive projects. Resumes have limited space and you want to use it wisely. Pick the top projects you want to include in your resume.
  • Tailor to the specific job. Add or remove projects based on relevance. Tailor your resume for the specific job and choose projects that include the top skills in the job description.
  • Include client testimonials. You can add positive feedback from past clients on your resume to validate your skills and experience as a freelancer.
  • Provide profile and portfolio links. If you freelance on Upwork, you can include your profile and portfolio links so clients can see the projects you worked on and read specific feedback.
  • Use action verbs. Make sure your resume is concise and easy to understand. Try to use bullet points and action verbs to grab the recruiter or employer's attention.
  • Update regularly. If you're continuing to freelance while applying for jobs, make sure you update your resume so it has your best and most recent projects.
  • Quantify results. Using data to demonstrate your impact is more powerful and shows your value to clients. This also shows that you are results-oriented, which employers like.
  • Include keywords. Try to include keywords in your resume that you see on job descriptions like skills or industry-specific jargon. This can help you make it past applicant tracking systems.
  • Highlight collaboration. Showcase any projects where you had to work with other freelancers or teams to show that while you can work independently, you're also able to collaborate. Remote collaboration is a valuable skill.

If you want more help landing your dream job or want to improve your resume to get more freelance jobs, check out these additional resume writing tips.‍

Transitioning from freelancing to full-time?

At some points in your career, you may decide to become a freelancer, and at other points you may want to transition back into working as a full-time employee for one company. Each type of employment has its benefits. Freelancing gives you freedom and potential for growth, while being a full-time employee offers stability and consistency in your scheduling.

Freelancing allows you to work remotely and make your own schedule. When applying for full-time jobs, you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to work part-time or full-time in the office. You can also find full-time remote jobs as many companies have adopted flexible policies.

When deciding to become a full-time employee, you’ll need to research what you want to make as a salaried or hourly employee. Find out what the industry averages are and see how it compares from city to city. The same position may have a higher salary in a city like New York or San Francisco compared to a remote position or one located outside of a major metropolitan area.

Depending on what contracts you have open, you may need to continue to freelance as you wrap up projects for your clients and apply for jobs. You want to finish up any projects that you’re working on, and if you’re working on a long-term engagement, give the client plenty of notice.

If you enjoy freelancing but want to explore full-time opportunities, you can search for contract-to-hire jobs on Upwork. These jobs start off as freelance engagements but have the potential to become full-time.

Get professional help with your resume

Before you can start applying for jobs, you'll need to create a resume. Recruiters, employers, and clients use resumes to decide which applicants they want to interview. Listing your freelance experience and past projects on your resume can help you stand out from the competition.

The time you spend on your resume pays off when you start landing interviews. If you need more help, you can hire professional resume writers on Upwork. They know how to design resumes that stand out to recruiters and employers. If you want to find a full-time role on Upwork, explore contract-to-hire jobs.

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Author Spotlight

How To Put Freelance Work on a Resume
Sean Cope
SEO Writer

Formerly a full-time in-house marketing director, Sean Cope began building an SEO and content creation company by freelancing on Upwork. He has enjoyed working with clients in various industries, leading them to achieve their business goals and higher Google search rankings. Sean is passionate about helping new clients in growing their businesses through search engine optimization, content writing, and digital marketing.

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