Freelance Resume

Freelance Resume (Ultimate Guide for Proofreaders and More!)

Writing a freelance resume is akin to navigating a maze. There’s no one format that fits every freelance job seeker’s situation, and navigating the endless amount of samples and resume advice online can be stressful!

So, to help you find your way, we’ve compiled this step-by-step guide to help you choose the best resume format to showcase your unique experiences in a way that highlights your qualities and potential—and of course, attracts lucrative clients.

How to Create a Freelance Resume

How to create a freelance resume

Freelance job posts can attract hundreds to thousands of applicants. So, the best way to make your resume stand out from the crowd and make clients say “wow” is not by writing a long list of hot words like “great communicator” and “quick project turn-around time.”

Instead, we advise working with one of three formats to elevate your experiences and let them shine for themselves. This way, your resume clearly communicates to clients how you’ve put your skills to use and where your qualities as a freelancer have shown up in past job experiences.

Here are the basics you’ll need to follow to get started from scratch:

  1. Choose a professional resume template: Create your own using Word, Google Docs, or Canva and download as a pdf. Or, pick from a myriad of easy-to-use software—Enhancv, Resume Genius, Zety, Zippia, and Resume Builder are some of our favorites. Overall, your final resume should be ATS-friendly (more on this later).
  2. Pick a suitable resume body format: So you’ve picked a template and are ready to start filling in your resume. But, should you highlight your past work positions as a freelancer, or the skills you’ve cultivated through freelance experiences… or both? It all comes down to the traditional (work-focused) format, functional (skills-focused), or combination resume formats. Below, we’ll cover exactly what these formats entail, how they differ, and which approach is right for you.
  3. Fill in your resume: No matter which format you choose, your freelance resume should include your work experience, achievements, certifications, skills, contact info, a link to your online portfolio, and a brief objective written at the top to summarize the highlights. You may need to slightly tweak the certifications, keywords, or freelance projects on your CV to match the job you’re applying for.
  4. Proofread, proofread, proofread! No matter how out-of-this-world your resume is, a single typo or grammar mistake can turn off potential clients and leave you looking at a pile of rejection letters. Luckily, Grammar Lion’s course offers a great refresher on fundamental grammar rules. Additionally, you should seek a second opinion from someone you trust.

Best Freelance Resume Formats

Best freelance resume formats

To effectively showcase your qualifications in your resume, the key is selecting a format that aligns with your distinct career journey, allowing your skills and attributes to shine independently.

There are three primary resume formats to consider: skill-centric, work-focused, or a blend of both. Discover how to choose the most suitable format for your circumstances, along with valuable resume tips to create attention-grabbing resumes when pursuing freelance opportunities in proofreading, editing, content writing, and legal work.

Traditional Resume (Work-Focused Resume)

This resume prioritizes your work experience above everything else and is generally written in reverse chronological order (most recent job at the top). However, as a freelance job seeker, you may choose to organize by theme or put the experiences most relevant to the job description at the beginning.

Whether you choose chronological or themed ordering, each freelance experience on the traditional resume should be titled with the position, such as “consultant,” “contractor,” or “freelancer,” and followed by the specific role or skill, like “freelance writer” or “freelance scopist.”

Each experience title should also include the date the position began (and the finished date if applicable). Then, follow each position or experience with a detailed summary of what the work involved.

A work-focused approach is suitable for:

  • People who have a few years of experience under their belts.
  • Professional, formal freelance roles such as scoping, court reporting, or transcript proofreading.

If you’re looking for a legal freelancing role, you might find these template examples helpful:

A freelance legal resume should also include:

  • Professional colors and graphics: Ensure your design puts your experience in focus. Suitable colors include dark shades of gray, purple, brown, and green.
  • Authoritative action verbs: These paint you as reputable and trustworthy—highly important traits when working in the legal field. For example, instead of using “responsible for,” describe your work using words such as “analyzed” or “devised.”
  • A section dedicated to education and relevant qualifications: Include certifications relevant to the requirements outlined in the job you’re applying for.

Functional Resume (Skill-Focused)

This resume puts a stronger emphasis on your transferable skills over your work experience. Instead of a focus on employment history, the functional resume format is organized by soft skills, hard skills, and accomplishments relevant to the job role.

For example, you could mention how being a business owner has taught you key skills like time management, problem-solving, and financial literacy.

Additionally, you should mention the positive end results of any freelance projects you have worked on (and the skills you used for this outcome to happen). For example, you could mention that your blog posts increased the client’s monthly website visitor count by X amount.

The skill-focused resume is a great approach for:

  • People who are just starting out, transferring careers, or have minimal work experience in the field.
  • People with gaps in their employment history or have had multiple short-term positions.
  • Freelance proofreaders or editors who have honed their skills through online courses (and earned certifications).

If you’re looking for a role in proofreading or editing, make sure your freelance resume showcases the values applicable to this role. It should be digestible, polished, and void of mistakes.

Here are our top freelance resume samples for general proofreading and editing jobs:

Overall, a resume for a freelance proofreader or editor job should include:

  • Quantifiable numbers or percentages: Back up your work experiences for prospective clients by including tangible numbers and percentages, such as the average amount of articles you edit daily, how many clients you have worked with in the industry, or grades achieved through online proofreading courses.
  • Style manuals you’re familiar with: Chicago, APA, MLA, AP—be sure to mention all the ones you’ve used. Showing you already know the ins and outs of the style guide used by prospective clients can make you stand out from other applicants!

Combination Resume

This resume is a happy medium between both approaches, with work experience and relevant hard and soft skills receiving equal priority. It starts off with an overview of your skills, just like the functional resume, but is then followed by a much more detailed breakdown of your work experiences, akin to a traditional resume. In short, neither section “outweighs” the other!

A combination approach can work for a wide variety of clients, but it’s particularly ideal for:

  • Freelancers with less than three years of experience.
  • People who work part-time or have only worked with a small number of clients.
  • Content writers, especially those who have self-taught themselves related skills like SEO tools.

Content writing is all about tapping into your creative side and conveying information in a clear, attention-hooking style while honoring the client’s values and goals. Resumes for positions as freelance content writers should be eye-catching and written to match the prospective client’s writing style (spoiler alert: your freelance resume will be treated as a content writing sample!).

Here are a few online templates we feel work great:

A freelance content writer’s resume should include:

  • A link to your professional portfolio: We recommend using a portfolio builder website to showcase your work samples. If you have the time, you can even set up your own freelance website (which will also show off your digital skills, something prospective clients are sure to see as a huge bonus).
  • Attention-grabbing colors: Using content colorslike blue, orange, yellow, and green give your resume a creative yet formal touch. Look for ways to include colors that align with your prospective client’s values—a happy medium between flashy and formal is what you’re after.

What to Include on a Freelance Resume

What to include on a freelance resume

People who hire freelancers typically scan the resumes they receive for specific information related to the job description, such as previous work experience, keywords that match up with the job criteria, and evidence of positive project outcomes.

Here’s what you should and shouldn’t include on a freelance resume to make yours stand out from the rest:

The Dos:

  • Contact information: The best location for your contact info is the top left. Include your full name, email address, phone number, and portfolio link.
  • Clear, concise objective: Think of your resume objective as a newspaper article lead; in as few words as possible, introduce yourself, why you qualify for the job, and your relevant career aspirations. Use AI tools like Jasper AI for inspiration!
  • Certifications and training: List training and certifications applicable to the specific job you’re applying for.
  • Testimonials: Mention the names of companies or clients you’ve worked for. These can be written in a specific testimonial section at the end of your resume for multiple quotes from previous clients, or mentioned in the descriptions following experiences.
  • Freelance or full-time work experiences relevant to the job role: If you lack professional experience, use a functional resume approach and highlight what skills you’ve currently developed and how they can transfer over to the freelance position.
  • Hard and soft skills: Include only those relevant to the job you’re applying for, and use keywords specified in the job description where applicable.
  • Awards and professional memberships: Include those that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. These can go in a separate section or mentioned in the descriptions following related experiences.

Don’t forget to include relevant courses taken through PA in the certifications and qualifications section!

  • Online proofreading course certificate from Proofread Anywhere: Include on resumes for jobs including proofreading skills.
  • 7-day intro to transcript proofreading course certificate from Proofread Anywhere: Include on resumes for transcript proofreading jobs.

The Don’ts:

  • Don’t overload your resume with absolutely every experience, skill, or achievement throughout your life. Just those most relevant to the job!
  • Don’t include confidential client information, especially if you have signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
  • Don’t use the same resume for every application! It’s important to tweak your resume for every job you apply for. A total rewrite isn’t needed, but you should tailor the content to the job description’s keywords and required certifications or achievements.

Should I Create a Freelance Cover Letter?

Should I create a freelance cover letter?

A freelance cover letter (also called a freelance CV) gives you the power to showcase your full potential without the typical restraints of a resume format. You should make it your custom to always include one unless otherwise advised in the job application.

A cover letter essentially functions as a longer, more detailed version of the objective or mission statement included on your resume. It showcases exactly who you are, what you do, and how you have the skills and experience necessary to meet their expectations—all factors that can help foster a personal connection between you and the client.

Most importantly, it allows you to discuss unique strengths that there may not have been space on the resume to include. For example, you could highlight that a shared contact referred you to the job or that you just finished a specific course that the job requires you to have! This is sure to make you stand out to the employer.

Here are some handy resources to help take your freelance cover letter to the next level:

Including Freelance Work on Your Resume

If you’re applying for a traditional 9-5 job, you may be unsure whether to mention your side hustle or freelance experience on your resume and which freelance projects to include that will transfer well to a full-time or employment position.

In most circumstances, freelance experiences show potential employers you have a diverse skill set, a self-starter attitude, and exceptional time management skills — all highly sought-after qualities in employees, no matter the industry.

However, you may decide to leave freelance experiences off your resume if the jobs do not include any transferable skills to the position you’re applying for. For example, you probably don’t want to mention your freelance magician phase if you’re applying for a full-time legal role!

Here are some ways to incorporate freelance projects on your resume for an employment position:

  • Include your freelance work alongside former full-time work experience: If you’ve worked on multiple, small projects over the years, lump them together into a single job listing (reverse chronological order usually works best as it allows you to clearly showcase your career growth).
  • Include notable freelance projects in your skills section: This approach is ideal if your freelancing is a side hustle.
  • Include notable freelance projects in the achievements section: Make sure to put astrong emphasis on your results. For example: “created 25+ SEO-optimized articles for my client’s blog, with 90% ranking for Google’s top 5 search results.”

While narrowing down which freelance projects to mention on your resume can be a challenge, we have a few simple tips that can help:

  • Don’t include freelance projects that span less than three months.
  • Do stick to freelance projects that are related to the client’s field.
  • Do choose freelance projects in which you cultivated skills also mentioned on the job you’re applying for.

Freelance Resume Tips

Your resume is the first impression clients have of you and your work—that’s why it’s so crucial to ensure your resume clearly communicates to potential clients your experience, skills, and achievements.

We hope our tips above help you craft a killer freelance resume that attracts lucrative clients (or lands you that 9-5 role). But, before you get busy on your keyboard, take note of these final touches:

  • Keep margins between 0.5 to 1 inch: A larger margin can make your resume look sparse and unprofessional, while smaller looks cramped and messy.
  • Break down chunks of text: You can use bullet points, separate sections, and bold headers to make your resume readable.
  • Don’t use “stylized” fonts: Ensure fonts are legible and don’t distract from the actual content. Ideal font styles include Arial, Calibri, Robot, and Helvetica.
  • Include links to your business website and social media accounts: This helps build credibility and also gives you another opportunity to show off your freelance experience, personality, and services.
  • Ensure your freelance resume is ATS-friendly (applicant tracking software). Most employers use ATS software to filter resumes, so it’s important to format your resume with good ATS practices in mind. Indeed has a helpful, in-depth guide on how to conquer the bots.

If you loved our freelance resume tips, then you may also like the additional resources below. Some have been curated by our team at Proofread Anywhere, while others are from reputable figures or popular job-seeking sites like Indeed.

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  1. Hi there – I am a graduate of Proofread Anywhere – What do I need to do to access current content?
    Thanks – Donna Hall

    1. Hi, Donna,

      Please write to us at PA Support and we will help you with access to your course content!

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