There are many reasons, such as preparing a proposal template or quote template for a new gig, why you may suddenly need to update your resume at some point during your freelance career. Maybe you’ve been freelancing on the side while you earn your degree, and now it’s time to enter the traditional workforce for a while. Maybe you decided that freelancing isn’t for you. Or, quite simple, maybe you need an updated resume to help you secure some more freelance contracts.
No matter what your situation may be for needing to update your resume, you’re probably wondering exactly how to put freelance work on your resume. After all, you’ve been gaining some really valuable experience and expanding your skill set, and you want to shout about it to any potential employers or clients.
The steps outlined in this article will help you figure out how to list freelance work on your resume - no matter how long you’ve been freelancing - so you can make a great impression. Scroll down to the bottom of the article for some useful freelancer resume examples, and our downloadable pack of 5 resume samples for freelance designers, developers, writers, marketers, videographers, and more.
Yes, absolutely! You won’t be alone in listing your freelance work on your resume. In fact, according to a 2016 study on freelancing in America, around 55 million people in the US are freelancing - and you can guarantee that many of them have had to update their resume at some point!
The skills and experience that you’ve learned as a freelancer are just as valid as the ones learned in a more traditional workplace. From drafting professional freelance invoices to responsibly time tracking, all these skills can be transferable to almost any job.
As long as the freelance work has some relevance to the job you’re applying for (i.e. as long as there are some transferable skills between the two positions), you should always list your freelance work on your resume.
But a big question remains: how do you put freelance work on a resume?
You’re probably familiar with the traditional, chronological layout of a typical resume, i.e. one that lists your work experience from most recent and works its way backward. However, if you’ve been freelancing for a while this may not be the best way to showcase your skills and experience.
For example, consider if you’ve been freelancing for five years now, and before that you only held positions for six months at a time. You would be right in saying that it doesn’t seem fair to give these positions an equal amount of attention on your resume.
Instead, consider a functional layout for your resume. What is a functional resume? It’s a resume that focuses more on your achievements, organizing and grouping your work based on common themes and skills rather than by chronological positions. It can help you highlight your freelance work in a key way.
If you decide not to use a functional layout, think of other ways to highlight your skills and experience. Consider including a larger skills section, or list the services you provide. Then, when writing your job description for your freelance work, be sure to keep your marketing pitch in mind to ensure you cover all the most important details of your work.
Just like when you’re creating a freelance proposal, you want your resume to be as professional as possible in order to deliver the best first impression. And speaking of that, did you know that you could send your resume to a client by using Bonsai's proposal system?
First, just go to your dashboard and click on "send a proposal".
Now you can create or choose the client and project for which you're sending the resume and a proposal.
When you're done, just click on "create proposal" and you'll be taken to the proposal editor. On the top side you'll be able to set up client and your own details, and also add personal touches such a custom background and an image (which could be your logo). Once done, just scroll down.
This is where the magic happens! You can easily include your resume as part of the proposal, and then just tweak it to your needs by removing, editing, or adding new sections.
When everything looks good, just scroll back to the top and click on "send proposal". Fingers crossed! It wasn't that hard, was it? If you like the workflow or would like to explore Bonsai more, just sign up to a free trial.
The word freelancer unfortunately still has some negative connotations associated with it, and some employers may not take you as seriously if you list your job title as “freelancer”.
You should think about your freelance work as a business owner, and that includes taking yourself seriously as a self-employed individual and acknowledging yourself as such. Present your freelance work in the most professional way possible by giving yourself a job title that reflects the work you’ve been doing. Some options might include “consultant”, “contractor”, or even “CEO/Founder”.
You may also want to consider naming your company, depending on the nature of your work - however, this won’t work for everyone.
(PS: If you’re ready to really start taking yourself seriously as a professional freelancer, with loophole proof freelance contracts and more, try a Bonsai free trial and see the difference it can make.)
Just as you would with any non-freelance job, it’s important to list your proudest achievements under your freelance experience on your resume. Don’t simply list the clients you’ve worked for and provide a sentence or two about the work that you did. Instead, tie each project back to the client’s goals and motivations for hiring you in the first place.
What did you help them achieve, and why is that important?
Highlight measurable results that you’ve achieved. For example, did you develop a website that helped a client double their web traffic? Or, maybe your graphic design work helped a client triple their social media audience.
Collect figures and statistics from your freelance clients as you go (perhaps as part of your invoicing process), but also don’t be afraid to reach out to old clients while you’re putting your resume together.
Also, consider linking directly to your freelance portfolio website or any other resource where the job manager or client can access more information about what you do and the work you’re most proud of.
While you certainly want to showcase the projects that you’re most proud of, be careful not to try to squeeze every single freelance project you’ve ever worked on onto your resume. Only list the jobs that are strategically relevant to the job that you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a web developer position, you don’t need to list the freelance transcription projects that you took on when you were just starting out.
Similarly, do not create individual headings for each project; instead, summarize your freelance work within a single heading. The only exception to this would be if you changed your freelance career; for example, if you started as a web designer but then moved on to web content writing.
Wondering exactly how to list freelance work on a resume so that it looks professional and ticks all of a job manager’s boxes? The following freelance resume examples can give you a clearer idea on how exactly to lay out your freelance experience.
Once you review these first examples, you'll find right below our downloadable pack of 5 more resume samples from freelance developers, marketers, designers, writers, videograhers, and more!
Web Developer (Contract), Miami, FL | October 2018 - Present
Web Designer, April Bennett Designs, New York, NY | June 2016 - Present
Worked with a variety of clients in the health and fitness industry to bring their business online in a beautiful way, transforming their vision into a powerful online presence through web design.
Graphic Designer, Mark Alphonse Art, San Diego, CA | January 2018 - Present
Collaborated with a wide range of clients - in industries including but not limited to hospitality and tourism, food and beverage, education and government - to create powerful graphics and visual concepts that met their specific requirements and goals.
Are you ready for more? Download right below the pack with 5 extra resume samples!
Now that you know how to put freelance work on your resume, it’s time to get out there and start writing the best resume you possibly can.
Once you’ve landed your next freelance gig, use your free Bonsai trial to take your business to the next level, with professional looking freelance proposals, bulletproof contracts, smart invoicing, precise time tracking, and more.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?