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Does Freelance Work Look Bad on a Resume? — The Answer

Does Freelance Work Look Bad on a Resume? — The Answer

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Everyone dreams of being their own boss. Thanks to advances in modern technology, many people can be! Freelancing is becoming a popular way for people to utilize their skills, and to make money taking on smaller projects independently instead of working for a single company.

The question is, does this type of work look bad on a resume?


Does Freelance Work Look Bad on a Resume?

Freelance work does not look bad on a resume. Freelancing showcases many skills which are important to a potential employer, including independence, motivation, and problem-solving. Be sure to also include company jobs on a resume to keep things well-rounded. 

There are almost no instances in which freelancing looks bad on a resume. Having a history of freelancing shows a lot of motivation and drive in an employee. It also shows that multiple clients were willing to hire the freelancer based only on their skills, which can be impressive to an employer. 

Some highlights you want to make sure are expressed to an employer through your resume are the following:

  • Independence: Freelancers can get the entire job done without help from others. Often requires multiple proficiencies.


  • Task-management: Freelancers must keep deadlines in mind and plan work accordingly. They can give accurate timelines to clients and ensure timely work deliveries.


  • Problem solving: When issues arise, freelancers can not go to a boss or co-worker for help. Freelancers must be able to handle issues in a calm and timely manner. 


  • Motivation: A freelancer cannot slack off at work because there is nobody around to pick up their slack! Freelancers must be always self-starters and self-led.

Listing freelancing work can give off the impression of these skills, but it is best to write your experience section in a way that highlights these skills specifically. Use freelancing’s unique nature to your advantage as a job hunter!

As with other jobs, freelancing counts as work experience on a resume. Work experience is a valuable part of a resume, so be sure to include freelancing in the experience section along with any company job positions which you have held. 


How should you include freelancing work on a resume?

Freelancing should be listed in the experience section. Include your business name if you have one, otherwise you can word it in any way that best fits the work you do. The job position should be labeled “freelancer”, and you can group many smaller freelancing gigs under this single job listing. 

Job experience should be listed in reverse-chronological order, meaning the most recent jobs should be listed on the top. If you were to leave out your freelancing work, it may leave a large gap in your working history, which can be a red flag for an employer.

Avoid this by including all longer-term job experiences which are relevant. 

The job title used in this section depends on the work you are doing. For example, someone doing translation work may write “German to English Translation” as their job title.

You want to include a description of the work you do in the 3-5 bullet points listed, as well as highlight your experience as a freelancer.

The job position for this type of work can simply be written as “Freelance” or “Freelancer”. You do not need to waste a bullet point explaining that you work freelance. You want your bullet points to reflect your skills and specialties, so use them wisely. 

If you choose to use periods with bullet points here, make sure you use them in every section of your resume to remain consistent.

Should you list freelancing jobs separately on a resume?

Many times, freelancing gigs should be grouped together into a single job on a resume. This keeps the resume concise and neat, as well as keeping the length of employment impressively high.

Freelance jobs should only be listed separately if they are unique or long-term enough to stand on their own.

Temporary or contract work jobs can be unimpressive to a potential employer because of their short length. Many types of freelance work can be considered short-term or temporary, which is why it is best to group all your freelancing gigs into one job on a resume. 

Listing each individual freelancing project separately would take up far too much space on a resume, and the short duration may make an employer think twice about hiring you for a long-term position. Do not include any freelancing job that didn’t last at least 2-3 months unless they are incredibly relevant. 

Grouping them into one “job” in the experience section allows you to include start and end dates that are far more notable.

Average freelance projects may last one month, but you may have completed 30 projects. 2.5 years of experience in a job looks far better than one-month jobs listed several times, so be sure to list freelancing as such.

You do not need to list all the jobs you’ve had on a resume. Keep the experience section to 3-5 jobs at a maximum, because your resume should never go longer than two pages. 

Should you always list freelancing work on a resume?

Freelancing is most always viewed favorably by an employer, though there are a few reasons to omit it. If the experience is completely irrelevant, it is best not to include it. If the experience was short-term or temporary and doesn’t show much work history, then you may also leave it off.

Short-term freelance jobs (one-month or shorter) should usually be left off a resume unless they are very relevant and impressive. Very short job histories do not show any dedication to the work, nor a great deal of experience in the type of work you outline in that section.

Another reason you may want to omit a freelancing job from your resume is if you have too many listed. A future employer may want to see company employment experience, so including a non-freelancing job in the experience section is usually a good idea.

Typical company positions require skills that freelancing often does not, including teamwork, team communication, group projects, leadership, and working with the public.

All bosses want to hire a team player, and it is more difficult to express these skills in a freelancing job description. 

If your resume consists of only freelancing work, but you are seeking a company employee position, including a mix of the two types of jobs is best.

Even if the company experience is slightly less relevant, it showcases a different set of skills that an employer can appreciate.