November 21st 2019
There are very few reliable rules for resumes and really the only way to figure it out is by messing up a few times. This series exists to save you one or two of those mess ups — because we've probably already made that mistake and we can tell you, no, you don't need to panic if you've only had one job...but you can if you want to.
In this article, we're thinking about process, how to talk about freelance work and how to write a resume if you've only worked at one place.
How can I highlight my experience if I’ve really only worked at one place?
Commitment can be a great thing to see on a resume and you should give context to your work even if your position history doesn’t. If you’ve only had a job or two, you’ll want to take the time to refine your writing and elaborate on your process. Break it down to a project-by-product summary of most notable work.
This will allow you to communicate that the role required a variety of skills and presented different problems that needed to be solved. If you can, be sure to mention measurable achievements like conversion rates or traffic numbers. This is a chance to showcase the skills you put in practice, learned and polished while in a position.
Commitment can be a great thing to see on a resume and you should give context to your work even if your position history doesn’t.
Try to include a description of your path through that organization as well as the kinds of interpersonal and leadership skills that you developed there. You should try and convey the progress you made and the roles you played whether it’s in the official form of titles or not. You have the rare luxury of space on the page, use it to paint a full picture of the work you did and how you took on the job!
I’ve been freelancing — how do I talk about my work?
First off, freelancing is a ton of work. Giving yourself the appropriate amount of credit for how challenging these jobs or projects were will help you sell it. Instead of one job description, you have several: sales, marketing, accounting, design, development, client relations, and so on. You are running a business while learning more skills than you might be at a traditional full-time job (seriously).
Freelancing also requires a lot of ‘upper management’ skills, which rounds up the value of the work you’ve done. Never be ashamed of this, always brag and never overlook how much is involved to do this successfully. Speak to all the roles you play in making each work relationship a successful one.
Do you have long-term or repeat clients? Talk about this, it’s a big deal. Name drop any fancy agencies or clients — don’t be shy, this is a document where you’re meant to brag. Unless there’s an NDA involved between you and a past client…then you probably want to leave that off the paper. That being said, be honest about what you worked on when it comes to collaborative projects. Your role is enough, there’s no reason to exaggerate.
The better you can convey all the moving parts and the depth of your process, the better off you’ll be — not just in the job search.
This stuff can be hard to write about but if you can speak about it well, it’s as impressive as any job. Even lower-level freelance work requires you to acquire, scope and deliver on a project, you’re doing all the stuff. Make sure folks know that. The better you can convey all the moving parts and the depth of your process, the better off you’ll be — not just in the job search.
Last time we talked how far back to go, whether or not to include a summary and how to go about ordering your sections. This is our final article in this series on resumes. Next up, we’re doing cover letters! If you’d like us to answer your question, drop us a line here.
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