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Should I Say “Freelance” on My Contributing Author?

Should you use the word “freelance” on your resume? Find out how to leverage previous freelance work to your advantage when writing your resume.

by Contributing Author

Today, the freelance and gig economy is bigger than ever. Many people picked up remote jobs or freelance work during the COVID-19 pandemic who had never dreamed of doing so before.

But this has resulted in a burning question for job seekers: should I use the term “freelance” on my resume?

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Below, we’ll discuss the ins and outs, dos and don’ts, of including freelance work on your resume. We’ll also share some freelance experience on resume examples to help you get started.

Should I Put Freelance Work on My Resume?

In a word, YES! Just like any other job, you should include freelance work on your resume. Below, discover a few of the benefits of doing so.

Filling Career Gaps

Freelance work is one of the best ways to fill career breaks with valuable experience. In fact, listing your gig employment can make a career gap disappear.

While career breaks are not the red flag to employers that they used to be – especially since many Americans were out of work for a time during the pandemic – it still removes one stressful step from the hiring process if you don’t have to explain the gap to your prospective employer.

Displaying Important Skills

Often, freelancers have learned and developed essential skills outside of traditional education and employment. If this is true in your case, use past freelance work to showcase your skills.

Will Freelance Work Put Me In a Bad Light?

Some job seekers are hesitant to label their work as freelance. This is based on the outdated assumption that freelancing is a red flag to employers. Some worry that hiring managers will think, “This person couldn’t keep a real job so they had to go it on their own.”

The truth is that freelancing is a real job. In fact, being self-employed often takes more discipline and hard work than working in a traditional setting. Employers know this, and many respect it.

Additionally, companies large and small are increasingly looking to supplement their full-time workforce with freelance and remote workers. For example, a company might need someone with writing, editing, and design skills to create a monthly employee newsletter or weekly emails to customers. The company can save money by purchasing these services a la carte from a freelancer rather than keeping a full or part-time salaried employee with benefits.

Additionally, hiring freelancers remotely allows businesses to seek talent beyond the traditional bounds of geography.

How to List Freelance Work on a Resume

So, freelancing looks good on your resume. But how do you list it? Consider examples of three different strategies.

When You Own Your Own Business

Many freelancers are the sole proprietors of a registered business. If this is true in your case, listing it on your resume is easy. You will list your employment as you would any other job. For example, you can use the following format:

Job Title | Business Name

Location | Dates

  • Bulleted description

So, a web design freelancer’s self-employment entry might look like this:

Website Designer | ABC Web Co.

New York, NY | 2019 to Present

  • Created intuitive and engaging webpages using the WordPress platform.
  • Fluent in HTML, Java, and Python.
  • Increased monthly clients’ monthly visitors by an average of 500 percent by employing cutting-edge SEO techniques.

You might have noticed that the above listing did not include the word “freelance.” If you own your own business, this qualifier is not necessary. It is a matter of preference.

When You Have Extended Projects

If you work primarily with a single client for three months or more, you can use a unique strategy. Include the word “freelance” in front of your job title, and list the company as you normally would. Use the company’s location, even if you worked remotely. This is especially effective if you are freelancing for a well-known corporation.

Consider an example:

Freelance Photographer | Frito-Lay

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Plano, TX | January 2020 to July 2022

  • Employed food styling techniques to create imaginative photo setups; used products to sculpt dreamscapes of imaginary worlds.
  • Employed studio lighting including softboxes, umbrellas, and reflectors.
  • Completed post-production edits using Adobe Creative Cloud.

When You Have a Lot of Small Gigs

When you have worked on a number of smaller gigs simultaneously (without the umbrella of a business license, as discussed above), including your freelance work on your resume can be more of a challenge.

The biggest thing to remember is that you should not list your gigs separately if they lasted less than three months. Doing so would result in a messy and crowded resume, and it might appear that you had rapidly floated from job to job.

Instead, use the title “freelance” in front of your job title. Don’t include a company name. List your location of residence and the dates worked, followed by a bulleted list of your tasks. Name any notable companies you worked for.

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