Are you a freelancer? Would you like to be?
If so, you might wonder, what happens when you decide to transition back into a traditional workplace? What if some of your clients require a resume before they are willing to work with you?
Don’t worry! You can learn how to make a good resume, even if some or all of your experience is freelance. Below, we’ll consider why and how to include freelance work on your resume.
Why Include Freelance Work on Your Resume?
In addition to this, you will likely learn new and important skills as you manage your own business. These include business administration, management, marketing, and bookkeeping.
Many freelancers specialize and become highly skilled in the work they choose. This, too, is an advantage of including freelance work on your resume.
But what if you’re not freelancing all the time? What if you just take on freelance work while you are laid off or otherwise between jobs? That’s okay too. Freelance projects can fill career gaps with valuable experience.
How to Include Freelance Work on Your Resume
There are several ways to include freelance work on your resume. We will discuss three main categories below.
Freelancing as a Subcontractor with a Business License
In many places, freelancers are required to register with the government as a business entity. This typically involves applying for a license, naming the business, paying a fee, and paying yearly business taxes.
If you own your own business, including freelance work on your resume is easy – you will simply list it as you would any other employment. Include the business name, and put the word “Freelance” in front of your position title.
You can fill out the following template with your freelance information:
Freelance [position title]
[Name of business] | [City, State] | [Year] to [Year]
- Bullet point descriptions of your work
- Remember to include accomplishments, major companies you’ve worked with, and statistics
This is what this template might look like on an actual resume. Jane is a freelance editor.
Freelance Copy Editor
Words with Jane | New York, NY | 2022 to Present
- Completed read-throughs of 12 full-length textbook, memoir, and novel manuscripts in one year, totaling over 1 million words read and 14,000 mistakes corrected
- Edited manuscripts for authors published by Penguin Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster
- Edited and completed the Amazon setup for “Roses, Roses” by Rosa Zimmerman, which ranked among Amazon’s bestsellers for three straight weeks
Note that the term “self-employed” is not used. Don’t put “self-employed” where the business name goes, even if some online sources suggest this.
Long Freelance Projects
If you work on only one freelance project at a time or you pick up freelance gigs in addition to a traditional job, you may wish to list these projects individually. This can highlight big-named companies you’ve worked with and allow for more space to describe your duties and skills.
Note: Long projects are those lasting three months or more. If your project duration is less than three months, see the section on short-term projects below.
Your long-term freelance project listings will follow the same format as described above. Put the word “Freelance” ahead of your position title. Then, use the name of the company you’re freelancing for. Since you’ve already used the term freelance, your employment status with the company is clear.
Grouping Short-Term Freelance Work
Including freelance work that is not a long project or part of your own business can be challenging. But don’t give up! Even short-term gig work can fill employment gaps and display valuable skills.
Listing short or overlapping projects individually could result in a crowded and confusing resume. Instead, group them into a single entry, like this:
Freelance [position title]
[City, State] | [Date] to [Date]
- Describe your projects
- Don’t leave out the names of companies you worked with
- Every project is a valuable experience
- Juggling several projects simultaneously shows good time management and organization skills
Let’s imagine that Jane, our freelance copy editor, had a stint of small projects between jobs. Her entry might look like this:
Freelance Copy Editor
Cambridge, MA | May 2016 to October 2016
- Edited thesis papers for Harvard graduate students in accordance with university policies
- Fact-checked a historical mystery novel written by law professor James Lawyer, Ph.D.
- Volunteered at the Harvard University Writer’s Conference
- Freelance work can highlight valuable skills and fill career gaps; always include it on your resume!
- You can list freelance work in a traditional fashion if you own your own business.
- You can also list long projects individually or group smaller projects together.
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.