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Five Rules Freelancers Should Follow When Writing Their Resumé – Personal Branding Blog


Working from home has now become a necessity rather than a convenience and luxury for many. This change combined with a record number of unemployed workers has led many people to look into freelance work, and it’s a good market for them. Freelancers are in demand today more than ever, with more than 40% of hiring managers and recruiters opting to employ independent contractors over full-time staff. 

Even before COVID-19, the number of freelance workers in the U.S. was already at 35% of total workers. It’s really no surprise that this has become a popular option for the workforce given that being a freelance worker offers fewer restrictions and more flexibility.

However, an increased number of freelancers out there means that you have more competition when you’re vying for jobs. That’s way making your resume stand out among others is so important, and as a freelancer, there’s a specific way you should craft yours. 

Here are five no-exemption rules freelancers should follow to increase the chances of getting that interview schedule:

1. Choose the correct format

If you are transitioning from a full-time job to a freelancing gig, you should use a functional format instead of the typical chronological format. Your functional resumé will allow you to highlight your skills and achievements rather than your work history and tenure with a company.

Yes, your work history is still relevant, but you should avoid spending a lot of time filling up the content in this section. The company’s name, the position held, and the duration of employment should be enough for this specific format. Also keep in mind that in the freelance world experience and skills beat education.

2. Include an objective statement

This is usually found right below your professional headshot or after your contact details. Including an objective statement on your resume gives the recruiter a preview of the type of career you are aiming for and how this enables you to add value to the company. Ensure that your resumé’s objective is customized and tailored to the role you are applying for to be most effective.  

3. Keep the content simple but relevant

A freelance job means specialized roles, and your job’s scope is more or less singular one. Your resumé should reflect this by including relevant skills and experiences only. Avoid unrelated content and fillers to make your resumé appear longer in the belief that it will make you look more experienced. 

Adjust the resume’s content or highlight areas that fit the job you are trying to land. If you are applying as a freelance copywriter and your specialization is in marketing and communications, you don’t need to include your corporate social responsibility experience. However, your role in writing press releases or captions for social media accounts is relevant, so you’ll want to emphasize that.           

A portfolio is another great way to showcase your skills, especially for visual talents (graphic designers, web developers, transcribers, video editors). When possible, link to finished projects like published articles or podcasts. 

Write about your skills, not your life story. The goal is to give the recruiter enough information about your qualification to land an interview, but not too long to stop reading overall. Make sure it’s easy to comprehend, understandable, easy to navigate, and straight to the point.

4. Appraise your accomplishments

Lists appraising your accomplishments and achievements are great! You are selling yourself to the recruiter, so take time to create value for yourself and don’t be modest.

Other than skills and expertise, recruiters want to see your concrete contributions to previous employers. Skills describe what you can do; accomplishments reinforce your value. 

Listing “created daily social media content for brand awareness” is pretty generic – all content creators or social media managers do that with their eyes closed. However, “curated relevant content with the purpose of lead generation, which resulted in an ROI of 38%” has more conviction than the former. 

5. Always include a call-to-action

One of the first things recruiters or hiring managers look for in a resumé is your contact details. It is very basic, but you’d be surprised by how applicants tend to omit information such as e-mail address or phone number. The last thing you want is missing an opportunity because you missed a letter or a number on your contact information, so review your contact details carefully.

You might think this is trivial, but this is a deal-breaker for recruiters if they don’t see this on your resume. Why would they hire someone who makes it difficult to get a hold of? 

Your freelance career is heavily dependent on your motivation, preferential work environment, and commitment to being your own supervisor, which are all things you can control. But it is also dependent on the specialization of your chosen career and if it will thrive in freelance mode. The world of freelancing is unpredictable; however, the freedom of time and flexibility to take on different projects, and getting more in terms of income is often worth it.

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