3 Examples Listing Freelance Work on the Resume

how to put freelance work on the resume

Being a freelancer isn’t uncommon. In fact, in the new ‘gig economy’ you’re more likely to have been a freelancer if you are aged 21- 35 than you are to have worked at a company full-time. So how do you put freelance or self-employed work on your resume?

We’re going to cover what it means to do this and how you can place freelance work on your resume in an effective and impactful way for the reader.

Here’s what we’re going to cover in this guide:

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Table Of Contents

Should I List Freelance Work on My Resume?

Work experience is the first thing that employers look at. More so than education experience, merits, volunteer work, or any other type of accolade.

Freelance work or contract work is absolutely work experience. As a freelancer, you still have to perform the functions that a full-time employee would. This is communicating with a team, having deadlines, and fulfilling needs of the business.

The only downside that an employer might see when you list freelance work is that they might not totally understand if comprehend all of the requirements for the job. For example, as a freelancer, you might only have had to communicate with one manager. While, as a full-time employee, you may have to communicate with multiple managers.

This is a very similar analysis as someone who is looking to determine if you were part-time or full-time and how that work experience impacts their decisions of whether or not you can fill the needs of the position going forward.

But, to answer the question directly, yes. Yes, you should put freelance work on your resume. Especially if it’s targeted to the type of job you’re applying for. For example, graphic design freelance work if you’re applying for a full-time position as a graphic designer.

Is Contract Work and Freelance Work the Same?

Contract work is the same as freelance work, yes. The only difference is that contract work may be more like part-time work for a single company. If you’d like to list contract work on your resume, you can absolutely say that you were a contract employee for a period of time at a specific company.

Here is how you might choose to list contract work on your resume:

Apple Inc.
May 2015 - May 2016
Graphic Designer
Contract Employee

That’s all you have to do. And it is a valid form of previous work experience. If you had multiple contractor positions, you can list each one of them under your work experience.

Does Freelancing Work Count as Work Experience?

Yes. This is a common question. Will my future employer consider this actual employment? They will. You have to be sure that you list bullet points of your prior work experience that are speaking to the job functions of that job description.

That’s how you can make sure that you align your previous freelance experience with the job that you want. Target your bullet points to the job description, plain and simple. Once you do that, it won’t matter whether or not the position was freelance, contract, or part-time.

What If I Want to Put “Self-Employed” on My Resume?

If you decide that you’d prefer to put “Self-Employed” on the resume versus contractor or freelancer, you can do so. It won’t really make a significant difference. Though, “Self-Employed” can sometimes sound more professional and communicate more.

Here’s how you might want to list self-employed as part of your prior work experience:

May 2016 - May 2018
Graphic Design

That’s all you have to do!

Where Do I Put Freelance Work on My Resume?

This is a common mistake, where job seekers decide that they should list their contract or freelance work experience outside of their “Work Experience” column. Don’t do that!

Your freelance work experience is still classified as work experience. Be sure that you list it inside of that column.

If you have other sections such as “Accomplishments” or “Awards” and they were awards won as part of your freelance work, don’t feel like you need to clarify that. As long as the award was given to you, the professional, then you can list those accomplishments as you normally would.

3 Examples Listing Freelance Work on the Resume

When placing freelance, contract, or part-time work experience on your resume, be sure that you consider your alignment of the prior work to the work that you’d like to be doing.

For example, if you’re applying for a position as Graphic Designer, don’t list freelance work that’s regarding Writing. You want to align all previous work to the job functions that you are expecting to see when you start the position.

Here are three examples of listing freelance or contract work on your resume.

Example one

Apple Inc.
May 2015 - May 2016
Graphic Designer
Contract Employee

Example two

Self Employed
May 2015 - May 2016
Graphic Designer

Example three

May 2015 - May 2016
Graphic Design

Resume Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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