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How to List Self-Employment on a Resume

Although it’s a challenge to make the leap from freelancer to in-house employment, you can boost your odds of landing a new position by building a strong resume that reflects your unique experiences as a self-employed individual. Wondering how to put self-employment on your resume? Instead of minimizing your freelance jobs, showcase them in a way that allows potential employers to see your skills and know you’re the right candidate for the job.

Take Care With Title Selection

When it comes to catching a hiring manager’s eye, selecting the right title for your self-employment position can make all the difference. Instead of listing your job title as “freelancer,” create a label that explains your role more clearly.

For example, you could call yourself a writer, graphic designer, website developer, or consultant. It’s beneficial to let managers know that you ran your own company. By labelling your employment status as “Company Owner” instead of “Self-Employed,” you show potential employers that you possess leadership and management skills that other candidates lack. The ability to manage other employees or build relationships with clients and suppliers can go a long way toward landing you that full-time position.

Listing Freelance Work on a Resume

One of the challenges of listing self-employment on a resume is that employers may struggle to understand exactly what your work entailed. To provide the most complete picture, it’s a good idea to list all of your most significant achievements, such as improving a client’s SEO position, increasing web conversions, or growing social-media campaigns.

Whenever possible, provide specific data and percentages to drive your point home. Because many self-employed individuals have more than one client, it’s easy to lose track of your accomplishments on each job and for each client. A good rule of thumb is to write out a brief description of the project and its outcome as soon as you finish – you don’t want to forget anything that might help you land that new gig.

It’s also a good idea to include details regarding other responsibilities you held: It’s not uncommon for freelancers to wear a number of hats, so let employers know if you handled the company’s human resources and accounting needs along with your other tasks, for example. Listing all your skills and accomplishments shows the prospective employer your value as a potential employee.

Include References

As a self-employed person, you probably work with multiple clients at a single time. As a result, you have the advantage of handpicking the customers or collaborators most likely to give you a great review. Before listing references on your resume, check with the person or company to ensure they not only want to recommend you but are also eager to refer your services. A savvy hiring manager can detect a lack of enthusiasm in someone’s responses even if your reference doesn’t make any negative comments. You should also discuss questions an employer is likely to ask your reference, and make sure you both remember your work experience in the same way. The last thing you want is a discrepancy between what you say on your resume and what your reference reveals on the phone.

Take Pride in Your Experience as a Freelancer

It’s only natural to experience disappoint when a self-employment opportunity doesn’t work out the way you intended. Almost everyone experiences employment setbacks during the course of a career, and you should always take pride in your time spent as a freelancer. Use your resume’s objective statement to highlight your passion and ambition, and explain how these traits translate to your new role with the prospective employer’s company. The fact that you ran a business makes you a more desirable candidate — not less — in the eyes of many hiring managers.

Because most employers want to know why you’re making the switch from freelance to in-house, it’s a good idea to address this question head-on in your resume or cover letter. Instead of saying you started your own company to escape a bad work situation or for the opportunity of being your own boss, stress the fact that you wanted to seek new challenges and improve client services. Since supervisors may worry about you striking out on your own again, strive to reassure them that you’re ready to build a long and lasting career with their company. Employers want to feel confident that they’re your first choice, so let them know you’re ready to leave freelancing behind and join the corporate world once again.

Even if it doesn’t work out in the long run, self-employment can provide you with a wide array of skills that serve both you and your future bosses well. Instead of apologizing for your freelance work, showcase it proudly on your resume, and explain how the creativity and ambition that made you strike out on your own is a boon to your new company. Until you pack it in, however, the QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps you as a freelancer, contractor, or sole proprietor track and manage your business on the go. Download the app now.

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