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“Please include your resume.”
It’s amazing how one little sentence on a job posting can make us freeze.
Now that I have almost two years of freelancing experience, creating a resume as a freelancing mom is a little easier. But, when I was first starting out it was a huge obstacle.
You see, back when I was a teacher, the whole resume thing was easy. My education, experience, and skills all fit nicely in the standard resume templates. I could slap on a standard objective (Looking for a teaching job!), print a bunch of them, and be done.
I only had to update that thing when I was looking for a different teaching job.
But, when I first started applying for freelance gigs, I was stumped.
I knew my teaching resume wasn’t going to cut it. But, I didn’t know what else to do.
So, I started asking others what they did. And I learned how to think outside of the resume box.
It’s time to share this knowledge with you! Here are some action steps to take to get your freelance resume in tip-top shape.
1. Make a Unique Resume for EVERY Gig
Yes, it takes time. No, I don’t like doing it.
But, it’s so important, especially as a freelancer. You don’t wear a single hat anymore. That means you can’t have a single resume and expect to land gigs with it.
You have to customize, to highlight different skills of yours based on what the client seeks.
But first, you need a plan.
2. Write Down Your Past Jobs, All of Them
Get out a piece of paper and start writing down every job you’ve ever had. Whether you cleaned cabins and worked in the store at the local lake in high school like I did, or you were flipping burgers or babysitting, go way back to your first job.
Write down every position you’ve held since then. Remember to include your time as a student (in college) if applicable.
If you’re a stay at home mom, write that down too. Being a mom requires many skills that are in high-demand!
Got your list done? Good!
3. Read the Job Description. Highlight the Skills Desired
Now, step away from your list and go back to the job description for the gig you want. Highlight or write down all of the skills that potential client is looking for.
Remember to included the adjectives. Your list may look something like this:
- Great customer service skills
- Highly organized
- Super comfortable with writing
Now that you know what the client is looking for, it’s time to remind yourself why you’re a match.
4. Look for Skills Within Those Jobs
It’s time to look at the skills you used in each of your jobs. You’re looking for experiences and skill sets that match what the client is looking for.
Can you deescalate tense situations before they blow up?
Or have you helped direct random people to the right shelf in Costco as you’re pulling one cart and pushing another with several kids in tow; while keeping calm?
Look at that–a check in the “Great customer service skills” department!
Did you get all of your assignments completed on time in college because you knew how to manage your own deadlines? Boom! You’ve shown that you’re organized.
Keep working through all of your past positions, looking for ways that the skills the client is looking for and the skills you have overlap.
5. Start Putting Together Your Resume
Except, don’t just download a template from Word and start filling in the blanks. If you do, you’ll probably realize that you really don’t fit in the nice, neat boxes.
You can feel free to use the template if you don’t want to start from scratch, but take out the headings that are included.
Rather than list jobs that don’t really apply to freelancing, you’re going to focus on how your skills and the skills they’re looking for match. You want them to think that out of all the amazing applicants they’re going to get, you’re the most amazing!
So you’ll want to create a spot on your resume where you can include Skills/Experiences.
In that section, you’ll add a bullet list of five or eight of your key skills–customizing the list to match what the client is looking for.
Just remember to be honest; never lie on a resume!
Alright, remember those adjectives you wrote down earlier? You’ll need those now. Because you’re going to find synonyms for all of them.
So for the fake job posting above, my list might look something like this:
- Experience providing excellent customer service in a variety of settings
- Successfully keeps track of eight kids and a couple of cows; organizational superstar!
- Written numerous blog posts about x,y,z over the past two years; Extremely comfortable putting written words into an order that makes sense and is engaging to read
The goal is to show how you have the skills necessary to get the job done. You want the person reading your resume to nod her head at each bullet point and say, “Yes!”
After you finish figuring out which of our experiences to add, the most important section is done. Your resume is beginning to take shape!
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6.Add a Personalized Description
Remember that “objective” section of the resume? It’s where you put what you’re looking for and why you’ll be a good fit.
Every time you send in a resume, you need to tailor this. Describe yourself in third person as the perfect person for this position.
Here’s a formula you can use:
A [adjective] individual ready to put her [list two of your skills that best match] skills to work to help [company name] [a couple of words summarizing the key tasks]
All filled in, it’d look something like this:
A hard-working individual ready to put her critical thinking and content creation skills to work to help Company XYZ release high quality blog posts that engage their audience.
7. Filling in the Basics
There are some other features that are essential when creating a resume. The good news is these basic building blocks don’t usually change often.
So you won’t have to constantly update this part of your freelance resume.
You need to make sure your resume tells clients two important things right way:
- Who you are
- How to contact you
Include your first and last name, your email address, and some other contact information.
A Word of Caution
Submitting personal data all over the web isn’t wise. So get a Google Voice number and a PO Box.
You’ll also want to include any education you have, even if it’s not related. Showing that you had the self-discipline to earn a degree (no matter what it was in) is usually a good thing.
If you have work experience, it’s a good idea to include that too. I know it may not be related to what you’re applying for, but it shows that you did actually hold down a job.
Remember to proof your resume. Many hiring managers have admitted that spelling and grammatical errors are often the fastest way to weed out a stack of applicants.
Don’t worry too much at this point if your resume doesn’t take up a full-page. After you have additional freelancing experience, you can add a “relevant positions” section to your resume.
9. Put Your Personality Into It
If you’ve ever hired someone (or graded a bazillion English papers), you know the value of seeing something that’s not just like all the other ones.
Add some personal touches to your resume. Make it look like it didn’t just come out of Microsoft Office’s template library.
Throw in a text box with a bit of shading to hold your educational background. Add a picture.
Change up your fonts.
Whatever you do, make it you.
You’ll stand out, and in this case, that’s good!
Have You Created a Resume as a Freelancing Mom?
How did you handle the resume when you were first starting out? Can you share any of your tips with my other readers? Drop them in the comments section below!