So, you've done it. You've decided what work-from-home business you're going to create. You've taken the training you need to do the job well. You're ready and waiting for those perfect clients – except for one thing. You've got no idea how to write a freelance resume.
And not knowing what to put in this important document is getting in your way. Maybe it's becoming a stumbling block on your path to your freelance dreams.
Maybe you're stuck because you think you need to create a traditional resume. You can't see how to incorporate your freelance skills into that format. That's because there's a fundamental difference between being an employee and an independent member of a team. Rather than show that you can fit into the company's needs and culture, you need to show prospective clients they can trust you to get the job done without direct supervision.
So if you're trying to find clients as a freelancer or virtual assistant, it helps to learn how to write a freelance resume designed to accomplish that task. Your goal should be to build a sense of connection and competence. It helps if you can show how you stand out as an individual, too.
That might sound like a lot, and maybe you've got no idea how to get there from here. But don't panic! We've put together the following tips to show you how to write a freelance resume. You'll even know how to write one that grabs the attention of the clients you want to work with. We've also added some resources to help you out on the details.
First Step in How to Write a Freelance Resume: Use a Modern Layout
The first thing to do, as we mentioned above, is to get rid of the traditional corporate format you probably learned years ago. Instead for something a little more modern and visually grabbing to get your ideal client's attention. You also don't need to stick to black and white. A sprinkle of color representing your individuality or personal brand can make your resume stand out from all the others. If you have a logo, feel free to use it for a professional touch that fits your style and message.
Fortunately, creating an attractive resume has become almost easy. There are dozens of sleek templates available online that you can use for free! Microsoft Office, Google Docs, and Canva are all great options. Canva is very simple to customize, because it uses drag-and-drop elements and highly customizable text-boxes. Plus, there are almost endless options for design elements to give your resume the perfect personal touch. And Canva has free tutorials that can walk you through the process, so you won't get stuck.
Open with a Strong Profile Statement to Grab Your Prospect's Attention
As a freelancer, you want to make sure the first impression you make is an irresistible one! Try to capture who you are, what you do, and what your strengths are within one or two sentences. If this sounds scary, think of an elevator pitch – something you could share verbally in 30-60 seconds.
For example, “An ambitious, efficient, and highly adaptable virtual assistant with an entrepreneurial spirit!”
Don’t be afraid to infuse a bit of your personality into your profile's opening statement. Your prospective clients probably won't be wowed by stilted or jargony language. They're looking for someone who is professional, but also relatable and human!
If you're get stuck on this part of how to write a freelance resume, try this formula. “I am a [blank] who helps [blank] to [blank].” Then think about how to personalize it a little to reflect your individual strengths as a freelancer.
Freelancers Who Know How to Write a Freelance Resume List Their Transferable Skills
If you are a new freelancer, you probably 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 your resume honest!)
What it does mean is that your transferable skills will be the highlight of your resume.
To nail down what your transferrable skills are, start by listing out all the skills and duties from your existing work and life experience. If you don't have a long work history, but you are a mom, think about what you do everyday. Do you homeschool while freelancing on the side? Are you the queen of getting everyone up and off to school on schedule every day? Do all your friends admire how well you express yourself?
Once you've got a good list, take a look at it. How do these abilities relate to your home business?
Don’t underestimate the value of your soft skills. Strong communication skills, time-management, or critical-thinking skills can be more important than technical skills. While they can be taught, your ideal clients want someone who already demonstrates they've got one or more of these traits. It's like a gift you can give to every client you work with, so take the time to let them know!
List Your Achievements and Let Yourself Shine
If you’re new to freelancing you might worry that you don’t have anything to list as achievements. But this is the place to mention that work and life experience you used to determine 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 if you were in charge of your child's scout troop or even a successful fundraiser, that shows great communication, leadership, and organizational abilities. It also shows that you're trustworthy. Are you the kind of person who is always willing to learn something new and rolls with changes? Then you're adaptable and an eager learner!
Remember, this isn't a corporate job. The clients who will hire you want someone who works well on their own. All of these skills and achievement help prove to them that you can be that person. So shine up the highlights of your life and claim them proudly!
Add Your Picture to Make a Personal Connection
If you’re used to traditional resumes, the idea of adding a picture to your freelance resume may seem odd or even unprofessional.
But, when considering how to write a freelance resume, it helps to keep your purpose in mind. It’s not professional to add a photo to resumes in the corporate world because your appearance should have no bearing on whether or not you get called in for the interview.
However, freelancers stand out when they're approachable. Your photo on your resume makes you seem more human to your potential candidate. And it helps them trust that you’re a real person and not some scammer. This is essential if you're going to build a connection that will lead to a great working relationship.
Remember, you're very unlikely to ever meet your prospective work-from-home biz clients in person. So that initial look at your face can make all the difference for someone who wants to “get a feel” for who you really are and what working with you will be like.
If you're not sure how to write a freelance resume or CV that leaves room for your photo, or which photo to use, read here for tips on including a photo in your freelance resume.
Add Your Website and Social Media profiles
Your website and portfolio should be front and center on your resume so prospective employers can quickly look you up. Add your LinkedIn and other social media profiles if they are relevant to your business. If you don't have one, consider creating a social media presence. Not only will it be useful to those you send your resume to, but it can also help people searching for help to find you. And that means that you might not have to spend as much time searching for clients. They may come looking for you, based on your social media presence!
A word of warning, though. Before you send out your resume, make sure your active social media pages are complete and up to date. If a prospect clicks through to your LinkedIn or Facebook page only to find it half-completed or abandoned, it doesn't give the best impression of your attention to detail.
Also, make sure you clean up your social media profiles so that your prospective clients aren’t greeted by a dozen Facebook 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.
It doesn't do you much good to learn how to write a freelance resume that really sells you if you're getting in your own way with TMI on your away-from-work life!
Converting Your Resume to PDF Format is an Important Detail
It’s far more professional to send your resume in PDF format than as a Word, Google Doc, or scanned hard copy. Doing so says that you're willing to take an extra step or two for your potential clients' benefit, even before they hire you.
But why are PDFs better? In addition to being easy to read and print, they also enable linking features that allow your prospective clients to click on links leading to your website, portfolio, and/or social media pages. That means it will be easy for them to find the information you prepared for them in the step above.
Even if you're not tech-savvy, there are several 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!
So, before you finish and send, remember that making your document into a PDF is an important final stage in how to write a freelance resume.
Fine-Tune Your Freelance Resume for Every Prospect
Adding a personalized touch to your resume will help you stand out from those who use the same attachment for every single pitch they send out. It shows that you didn't just respond to any openings, but took the time to do some research into the client and their needs.
Plus, making this effort gives you vital insight so you can tailor your resume to be what your dream clients are looking for. Needless to say, you do need to be honest in the process. But if a client wants someone willing to learn new things, you can show what new skills you've picked up in the last year. Or, if they want someone who is able to take initiative, show what you've done on your own that aligns with the work you'll be doing for them. Did you invest in and finish a related course? Volunteer? If you know about the prospect's needs, you can let them know how much they'd benefit from having you on their team.
When you're thinking about how to write a freelance resume to attract them, study the words and phrasing 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 in language that shows you understand its importance to them.
Keep it Concise and Make A Strong Case
One thing that is the same for a freelance resume and a traditional one is that it needs to be one page. Even though it can be hard, learning how to write a freelance resume within this limit is an important skill to develop.
But what if you're having trouble with this?
If that's the case, stop and take a closer look at your potential client. Use your research from the above section to zero in on what they're looking for. Then only share what will meet their needs and help you stand out.
You can add your last job or current day-job as long as it's either relevant to the client's needs or shows that you have skills they're looking for. But you can leave off jobs and skills that aren't important to the client. This keep your freelance resume clear and clean. And it will also point up how you can help them.
Aim for a good deal of white space on the finished product. If you use bullet points for everything except your opening statement, your prospects will have an easier time scanning it than they will a solid block of text. That will help them assess how good a fit you are and make it easier for them to prepare questions for you.
Conclusion: How to Write a Freelance Resume That Really Sells YOU
Your freelance resume will naturally evolve as you gain more clients. You will develop your skills and add more accomplishments.
So make an important part of how to write a freelance resume regular updates to your base document. That way, you'll always have your most recent relevant experience or achievements ready when you're ready for a new client. Over time, it will become easier and easier to prep your resume or CV when you want to pitch someone.
How are you feeling after reading this post? Do you have any tips or questions about how to write a freelance resume? Feel that we missed something? Drop us a line in the comments!