With the plethora of job types out there—from part-time to full-time, freelance to per diem—it can be difficult to navigate the resume building process and to decide what to include and what not to on your CV. However, while you may run into the need to de-clutter your resume, think twice before cutting your freelancing from the list!
Why? Freelancing positions do more than expand on your professional work experience, and say more about you as a professional than you may realize. However, many make the mistake of not including it on their resume when seeking a full-time role for fear of it seeming irrelevant—but rest assured, your freelancing stint did much more for your professional marketability than provide an extra source of income, and your resume should reflect that.
When you list freelance work, you’re showing your potential employer…
- Learning skills. When you freelance, there’s often little training or orientation provided for your duties; you’re hired to do the work because you have already proven yourself capable of hitting the ground running. Even if training is provided, it’s rare to find a freelance role that provides as thorough of a training program as a full-time role would. Therefore, having freelance work on your resume shows that you’ve likely learned or honed a skill on your own time or picked it up quickly on the job, which is a great way to communicate that you’re a fast learner who’s dedicated to the role.
- Unique strengths and skills. Because freelance assignments require specific skill sets, listing them on your resume is a great way to inform a hiring manager of your strengths. This can be extremely useful on a resume that’s getting full; by listing your freelance positions, you’ll be able to demonstrate your skills and save space in the “Skills” section of your CV for other competencies not as readily apparent in your employment history.
- Flexibility and adaptability. Especially if you have several freelance jobs under your belt, adding them to your resume can demonstrate flexibility and adaptability—two traits many respondents to our 2015 Regional Hiring Outlook employer survey ranked as some of the most desirable soft skills a candidate can possess. Going from one freelance assignment to the next requires the ability to shift gears quickly and seamlessly, which reinforces these traits. Likewise, if you work multiple freelance positions at once, you’re showing great multitasking skills on top of it all.
- A go-getter attitude. Regardless of your employment situation, working a freelance position can only improve your image in the eyes of an employer. For instance, if you were unemployed while freelancing, it shows that you made good use of your time to sharpen your skills, gain experience, and stay relevant in your field. On the other hand, if your resume shows that you freelanced while working part- or full-time, it shows you’ve gone the extra mile in your career and that you’re truly passionate about it.
In addition, not only can including freelance work on your resume give your resume itself a boost, it can improve the rest of the process when applying for a job. Alerting a potential employer to your past freelance work gives you new talking points should you be called in for an interview, and expands your list of references when it comes time for an employer to make those calls. Of course, in order to get to those stages, your resume must first impress—and with the right balance of freelance work amongst your other work history, skills, and other core competencies, it’s sure to do the job.