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Freelancers Need Resumes and CV's Too

Crystal Henrickson | April 26, 2018

“Do I still need a resume if I’m freelancing?” That’s a question I often hear in my role as a career consultant at Talent Collective. We could debate about the many freelancers who opt to going resume-less, but in reality, the simple answer is yes. Having a well crafted resume (along with a powerful portfolio and pitch) is a way to stand out to your next prospect, as well as to archive your best work.

It’s worth it:

Take it from me, with more than 40 clients behind me and a span of more than 10 years, the clients, projects, and scope of work, starts to get a little fuzzy. A resume becomes an easy way to catalog your best work, plus a little humblebrag is good for the confidence.

Include only your best:

But this is just one more thing to add to your to do list, so cataloguing has to be an easy ritual… because you’re a freelancer, which means you’re likely pretty busy running your own show. Beyond the obvious (contact information, links to your portfolio and your intro/about me) here’s a list of the essentials to include on your resume:

1) 3-6 examples that highlight:

  • Some cache: Yes, namedrop! Clients, and humans in general, gravitate towards the familiarity of a well established brand, and yes, competitors too.

    • Example (from my own resume): Worked with brands like Yelp and Eventbrite to build local, Canadian communities of interest.
  • Successes you’ve achieved for your client: Use percentages and real numbers when you can as they best represent results you’re capable of achieving.

    • Example: Developed a shoestring consumer campaign using a blend of digital and grassroots tactics that increased sales by 35% and decreased ad spend by 42%.
  • Action: Create powerful statements using verbs rather than passive descriptors.

    • Original: Projects included content management, email marketing and social media management.
    • Rewrite: Wrote compelling email marketing campaigns and social media content. Resulting in a % conversion rate.

2) A Testimonial: Just one well written, specific testimonial serves as important social proof.

3) Overview of skills: Gives clients a comprehensive list of additional skills they can access, further promoting your capabilities as a freelancer.

4) Previous experiences: Yes, if they’re the most relevant work experience you have that highlights your skills for the work ahead, than absolutely. No need to linger here too long though.

Remember, keep your resume brief, one page maximum. No resume will ever highlight the entirety of your past work, it serves as a summary of what is relevant to the client and the industry that you are pitching.

Catalog the rest

You’re probably a swiss army knife of skills and experiences with each new client representing a new accomplishments to add to your repertoire.

Build an evolving catalog that quickly highlights: Each new experience with one sentence describing the work scope

  • The achievements of the work scope
  • Testimonials from the client
  • Capture screenshots, videos and images
  • External links

Try using Workstory to quickly keep track of your work to date. It even has built in reminders to keep you updated!

Life of a freelancer moves quickly. Investing in the upkeep of a catalog is a simple way to keep your successes close at hand, saving you time when you go to build that new proposal, complete with a customized resume. It’s also a good habit to get into because no one else is going to save those projects on your behalf.

In many consultant businesses, December is an excellent time to put the year behind to rest and with the right work highlights in your back pocket, set yourself up for engaging in great new business next year! If you need some extra help to kickstart 2017, get in touch with me!

Blost post author Crystal Henrickson

About the author

Crystal Henrickson

Crystal has worn a lot of freelance hats: Starting out as a makeup artist, she quickly moved into marketing consultant roles and social media management for small and medium businesses. More recently, she’s grown from a startup community + marketing director to a workplace productivity and leadership coach. She’s trekked across the industries of high tech, social impact and consumer brands, and has had the experience of working with companies as big and global as Yelp and as small and mighty as a local florist. Most recently, Crystal co-founded Talent Collective, a career consultancy that specializes in helping individuals find their most meaningful work, crafting their unique career story on paper, in person and most importantly, for themselves.


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