Figuring out exactly what to put on a freelance resume can be a stumbling block for many new freelancers.
Because the reality is, how you write resumes as a freelancer or virtual assistant should be a lot different than how you're probably used to writing them. (Like for more corporate roles.)
It that seems confusing, have no fear! The following tips will show you how to write a freelance resume that can land you the gig:
Use a Modern Layout
Ditch the corporate format you’ve been using all these years and opt instead for something a little more visually grabbing.
Fortunately, creating an attractive resume is insanely easy. There are dozens of sleek templates available online that you can use for free! Google Docs and Canva are both great options, but I find that Canva is easier to customize with its drag-and-drop elements and highly customizable text-boxes.
No need to stick to monochrome, boring colors either. A tasteful sprinkle of color representing your personal brand can make the resume stand out amongst the others.
Open with a Strong Profile Statement
As a freelancer, you want to make sure the first impression you make is an irresistible one! You should be able to capture who you are, what you do, and what your strengths are within one or two sentences.
For example, on my freelance resume, my opening statement is:
“An ambitious, efficient, and highly adaptable virtual assistant with an entrepreneurial spirit!”
Don’t be afraid to infuse a bit of your personality into it. Overly stilted or jargony talk is likely not what your prospects want to see. They're looking for someone who is professional, but also relatable and human!
List Your Transferable Skills
There’s a good chance that, as a new freelancer, you don’t have a whole lot of direct experience or education that’s relevant to your new business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a killer resume that’s still honest. (And it’s very important to keep it honest!)
It just means that your transferable skills will be the highlight of your resume.
To nail down what your transferrable skills are, start by listing out all your skills and duties from your existing work experience. How can they relate to your home business?
Don’t underestimate the value of your soft skills either. Strong communication skills and critical-thinking skills can be more important than technical skills.
List Your Achievements
If you’re new to freelance you might worry that you don’t have anything to list for your achievements. But you can still use achievements from previous jobs in an unrelated industry because it showcases your soft skills.
For example, if in your last job you managed to streamline a process that increased turnaround time on certain tasks by 50%, that would demonstrate your critical-thinking skills and resourcefulness.
And I'd say that’s a pretty desirable trait no matter what the industry!
Add Your Picture
If you’re someone who is accustomed to working in office environments, then the idea of adding a picture to your resume might seem odd.
But this is another part of the process that will differ from a traditional resume. In the corporate world, it’s not professional to add a photo because your appearance should have no bearing on whether or not you get called in for the interview. (Interviewers have a hard enough time abstaining from hiring bias as it is.)
But I would argue that it is necessary for remote positions. Adding your picture makes you seem more human to your potential candidate, and helps them trust that you’re a real person and not some scammer.
Add Your Website and Social Media profiles
Your website and portfolio should be front and center on your resume so they can quickly look you up. Add your LinkedIn and other social media profiles if they are relevant to your business.
Prior to sending your resume, make sure your active social media pages are complete and up to date; there’s something off-putting about clicking through to a candidate's LinkedIn or Facebook page only to find it half-completed or abandoned.
Lastly, make sure you clean up your social media profiles so that when they look you up on Facebook, they aren’t greeted by a dozen photos of the last wild party you were at. Double check your privacy settings and make sure they’re only able to see what you want them to see.
Convert your Resume to PDF format
It’s far more professional to send your resume in PDF format than as a Word, Google Doc, or scanned hard copy. The PDF also enables linking features so that your prospective clients can click on the link leading to your website, portfolio, or social media pages.
Fortunately, there are a number of easy ways to convert your resume to a PDF. And if you used Google Docs or Canva to create your resume, then it’s as simple as downloading or saving the document as a PDF file there in the platform!
Fine-Tune Your Freelance Resume for Every Prospect
Adding a personalized touch to your resume will make you stand out from the others who just use the same attachment for every single pitch they send out. Do your research on the client and then tailor your resume to be what they’re looking for. (Without being dishonest, of course!)
Use similar words and phrasing that they use in their ad. For example, if the brand puts a lot of emphasis on speedy turnaround time on work, and efficiency is something you’re good at, be sure to highlight this skill on your resume.
Keep it Concise
You should be able to easily keep your freelance resume to one page. If you’re finding it hard to fit everything onto the page then you need to edit more. Keep in mind you don’t need to put things like your high school education there; only include post-secondary education.
For work experience, you can add your last job or current day-job, even if it isn’t relevant to the industry you’re not pitching in. But don’t go overboard with job experience – you don’t need to include that summer you worked at McDonald's as a teenager!
Lastly, there should be a lot of white space on the finished product. Use bullet points for everything except your opening statement. No matter how riveting you think the content is, a block of text is simply not going to get read by your prospects.
Your resume will naturally evolve as you gain more clients and you'll need to update it regularly with any new relevant experience or achievements. In the meantime, you still have the tools and skills to write a freelance C.V. that will grab the attention of prospective clients!
Do you have any tips or questions about how to write a freelance resume? Drop us a line in the comments!