When you’re just getting started as a freelancer, putting together your first freelance resume can feel overwhelming. There are elements that resemble a traditional resume and critical differences that can make you stand out from other applicants.
When adapting your resume from a standard format to a more freelance-friendly style, some key elements to include will help you stand out from other applicants. As someone who has worked with various clients across several different industries, I have gained a lot of experience crafting and maximizing my resume. Below are my top 6 tips for creating an A+ freelance resume:
1. Consider Using a "Skills-Based" Resume Format
A standard resume works in chronological order, showcasing your education and work history in a simple timeline. Rather than emphasizing your timeline, highlight your skills! When someone is looking for a freelancer, they are typically more interested in your skillset-specific abilities than your work history. References and your relationship with a past company may still be necessary, but they likely won’t carry as much weight as in a traditional working environment. Start your resume with the skills you want to highlight the most with examples of work and then companies for reference as your last point.
2. Customize Your Resume to Fit the Job You Want
We all know that resume customization is vital when trying to secure a freelance position. As you’re applying for gigs, ensure that you are tailoring your resume to the job posting. Consider the keywords used in the description. For example, if they mention scheduling three times, make sure that scheduling is mentioned in your experience section. Don’t send cookie-cutter resumes out to everyone, no matter how tempting it seems. You don’t have to build a resume from scratch for every job you apply for, but make sure to vary the order of your skills or the introduction you use. If you are applying on a freelance platform like Upwork or Fiverr, always address your potential client by their name in your proposal. Keeping your resume customized to each job you apply for is a big bonus for companies looking for the right fit.
3. Don't Be Generic: Include Yourself on Your Resume
Your resume should represent you since most companies are not looking for robots but rather people who fit within their company culture. Even as a freelance or part-time employee, you are still contributing as a team member, and you and the company must be a good fit. Keep in mind that the rule of avoiding first-person pronouns still applies to freelance resumes, but you can still find exciting ways to convey your personality.
4. Think About your Choice of Language
When you’re putting together your resume, one of the most important things other than your experience is how you describe your experience. Below are a few examples of standard wording exchanged for more descriptive and enticing language.
Instead of: “2 years of virtual assistant experience”
Try: “2 years working as the right hand to an amazing group of clients to help them manage their time, calendars, etc. virtually”
Instead of: “Experience with Google Suites”
Try: “Ample experience working with Google Suites including Gmail, Google Calendar, Sheets, Doc, etc.”
5. Include Any Relevant Education or Courses
This may sound like a given, but don’t forget to include your relevant education courses or certifications on your resume. These things can help show your cultivated skills in a given field. Also, don’t be shy about your accomplishments or undersell the value of a degree or certification. However, there is no need to include your GPA unless it is exceptional.
6. Quantify Your Achievements as Much as Possible
It can be challenging to show your achievements when working with many companies/clients, but potential employers want to see that your work can produce measurable results. Therefore, make sure that you try to include statistics when possible. For example, a website designer might be able to show that a new website brought in 25% more leads. This helps show potential clients that you can make a tangible change to their business. On the other hand, be careful not to muddy up your resume by listing every project you have ever worked on. Instead, be selective and showcase only your most impressive work. Even if you don’t have a percentage, try and quantify more abstract contents like “success rates” so that clients can see your value.
Consider these six elements to create your first freelance resume. Use a skills-based format, customize your resume to each job, make it individual to you, use descriptive language, and quantify your achievements. Follow us on social media and subscribe to our weekly blog posts for more helpful freelance advice!
Author: Camryn Pickworth
As the head VA and owner of The First Pick VA Group I have found such great joy in sharing my experiences and top tips with other freelancers and aspiring VA's. I hope that our blog can service as a great reference for VA's and Clients alike!