Freelancers are often required to submit CVs when searching for work. The tricky part is that the conventional CV template is not always the best way to show your skills to prospective employers.
If you’ve been freelancing for some time, you probably won’t have a record of places where you’ve worked. You might also be a self-taught professional such as a programmer or content writer, so you won’t have a strong record of conventional education to show either.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to making a CV that will help you get around these challenges.
Your prospective clients will need a way to contact you. The first section on your CV should provide relevant contact details, usually in the form of letterhead. Be sure to include your first and last name, phone number, email address, and location.
Note that you should generally exclude details such as your date of birth, headshot, gender, and other non-essential personal data.
Step 2: Add a Personal Statement/CV Summary (Optional)
A personal statement summary is your career summary in about 2-3 sentences. Here, you should mention:
Your Primary Title and Years of Experience:
For example: “Creative Content Writer with 5+ years experience writing for the web.”
One or Two of Your Top Achievements:
For example: “Published in a popular site in 2015.”
For example, “Looking for new opportunities to write and report on global concerns.”
Step 3: Add a Section to Highlight Your Skills
The skills section is the main section to focus on. This is where you will highlight the various relevant skills you have, and demonstrate how you have applied or developed them.
The typical skills section for a content writer, for instance, might have the following subheadings:
Search Engine Optimization: Can write up to 30 pieces of content weekly using SEO keywords drawn through Google Analytics. Have successfully written and optimized 12 blog posts from January – February 2022 that currently rank on the first page of search results for relevant keywords.
Writing: Can write between 80,000 and 100,000 words per month or 4,000 words per day on average. Able to deliver highly engaging content to meet your prospects at every stage of the funnel. I worked with XZY company to help increase their lead acquisition by 12% year-on-year from 2020 to 2021.
Research: Able to conduct extensive research on the internet to help with providing factual statistics for articles. Comfortable using leading keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and Semrush.
Time Management: Able to deliver content by their deadlines with zero-to-minimal need for further editing.
Remember to tailor your CV to the job description by including relevant keywords taken directly from the advertisement.
For instance, if the job description mentions that SEO skills are required, you should include a heading dedicated to SEO.
This is because most recruiters use automated applicant tracking systems (ATS), which screen CVs by checking for keywords before passing them on to human readers.
Step 4: Add a Section to Highlight the Companies You’ve Worked With
This section is the equivalent of the work experience section in a conventional CV. In this section, you will provide the details of companies you have worked with, stating the name of the company, and the period you worked with them, highlighting your key achievements.
Here is how this may be structured:
First: Job Title/Position:
On top of each work experience entry, your job title or position should be displayed boldly, making it clear to recruiters that you have relevant experience that makes you a good fit for the advertised position.
Second: The Period of Your Involvement With the Company
The standard format recruiters expect to see is mm/yyyy, so you don’t have to mention the precise date if you don’t remember precisely.
Your work experience entries should be mentioned in reverse-chronological order, from the most recent to the oldest. This encourages recruiters to focus on your current skills and experience.
Third: Company Name and Location:
Here, you mention the name of your former employers and the location of the offices you once worked in. A brief description of the company may also be added to provide some context.
Fourth: Responsibilities and Achievements:
Your achievements and responsibilities should be listed here, depending on your field of work. However, in order to stand out, you may want to focus more on your achievements (or how you helped those companies grow).
Also, note that the amount of information you should mention in this section is dependent on how much experience you have.
For example, entry-level candidates could list all their work experiences, while mid-level professionals can afford only to mention work experience relevant to the job they are applying for.
A sample of work experience history is shown below:
Content Writing Consultant
June 2015- December 2018.
ABC Corporation, Minnesota.
Achievements and Responsibilities:
- Created original web content to represent and boost the presence of company branding.
- Created high-impact messaging for all marketing media, contributing to increasing revenues and market shares of over 20%.
- Awarded as the best content writer of the company in 2017 for increasing the site visitors by 2000+ based on blog articles.
Step 5: Add Your Education Details
The next section to cover in your CV is your education. For a freelancer, it isn’t always essential to show that you have some formal university education. But if you do, you should show it off effectively.
What to mention here includes:
- Program name: e.g., “MBA in Do dedo Marketing”
- University Name: e.g., “New York State University”
- Years attended: e.g., “09/2007–08/2011”
- Optional: GPA and any academic achievements and so on.
Some tips for your education section:
- Mention your most recent educational entry on top.
- Only mention your GPA if you had very impressive grades (3.5 plus).
Step 6: Include Testimonials
If you’re a freelancer, including testimonials in your CV would be an excellent idea. Testimonials are a way to leverage the concept of social proof to show your prospects that you can deliver results. If you are just starting out, you might not have any clients to give you a testimonial, but if you have had even one client, be sure to ask for a testimonial the smart way.
And if you’re just getting started, you should focus on getting your foot in the door with an entry-level position. There are lots of websites where you can find some remote entry-level jobs.
Create the Perfect Freelancer CV
The perfect freelancer CV will differ from most conventional CV formats. You will need to focus a lot more on the skills that you have than on places where you have worked or gone to school. Most of your prospects will be more concerned with what you can do rather than your work or educational history.
Remember to keep your CV short and to the point. Use clear section headings, lots of white space, and easy-to-read fonts of appropriate sizes. It is also a good idea to create your CV in Microsoft Word and then save it as a PDF for optimal formatting.
Want to create professional-looking business reports or academic papers? Use these tips for formatting your Word documents.
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