Have you done freelance work or been self-employed? Be sure to show off your skills on your resume.
Each week, TopResume's career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions on Quora like the one below. We'll be republishing those answers here. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for over 10 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.
Q: Should I add my self-employment to a resume?
The short answer is yes!
You can — and should — add self-employment experience to your resume!
Self-employment and other forms of freelance work are great additions to your resume, especially for anyone who's dealing with employment gaps in their work history.
Tips on how to list self-employment on your resume
1. Give yourself a job title that reflects the nature of your freelance work
Treat this work experience as other independent contractors and other freelancers would on their resumes — give yourself a title that reflects the type of work you were doing during your time of self-employment, and add the word "Contract," "Consultant," or "Freelancer" to that title.
2. Consider adding a company name for consistency on your resume
Some people like to provide a company name so the format looks similar to their other work, but that's entirely up to you and will depend on the degree to which your consulting or freelance business is established.
Related: How to Handle Gaps in Your Employment History
3. Provide a summary of the services you offer
Below your job title and dates of employment, write a blurb that explains the type of work you performed as a freelancer. If you worked for multiple employers, you can mention how you did X, Y, and Z types of work for several clients in A, B, and C industries.
4. Use bullet points to highlight noteworthy projects or clients
If there are any particular projects you worked on that demonstrate your marketable skills and achievements, use bullet points to call attention to this relevant work underneath the blurb I suggested below.
Sample job description for freelance and self-employed resume
I've listed below a sample freelance work description. Please note that, in this example, the client names were purposely excluded. However, you may want to name-drop the brands you've worked with, especially if they are relevant to your goals and well-known in your industry.
Communications & PR Consultant (Contract), San Diego, CA | 2016 – Present
Offer communications and public relations support for clients in the pharmaceutical sector. Address clients' needs, from message development and media outreach to materials creation and planning. Handle media relations, medical meeting support, competitive intelligence, and materials development for OTC health and pharmaceutical clients. Key projects include:
Increased consumer awareness for cervical cancer by developing campaign materials, including banner ads, print collateral, and copy for the microsite.
Doubled coverage and blog backlinks for a client with an OTC treatment for acid reflux by developing a new blogger sweepstake.
Researched, hired, and media trained new spokesperson to represent biotechnology company's new treatment for exercise-induced asthma.
For more information on how to list self-employment, such as freelance assignments, independent contract, or other consulting work, check out the article, “Resume Tips for Freelancers.”
Read Amanda Augustine's answer to "Should I add my self-employment to a resume?" on Quora.
Need a gut check on your updated freelance resume? Request a free, objective resume review.