Small business tips

How to List Self-Employment On a Resume

Switching from self-employment to traditional employment? Or perhaps you’re a self-employed worker on the market for a new client? Your employer will always review your resume before hiring you but how do you list self-employment on a resume? Follow these tips for self-employment resume help.

Choose a self-employed resume format that fits your work history

Choosing a self-employed resume format can be hard for entrepreneurs who work on multiple projects for multiple clients at a time.

Consider the nature and number of projects or clients you have worked with during self-employment. If you completed a finite number of projects with clear dates, you may want to opt for a reverse-chronological self-employed resume format. That is, list your self-employment work starting from the most recent to the oldest project.

If you completed numerous projects on a one-time basis or with fluid dates, consider opting for a functional self-employed resume format. With a functional resume, you can group your work into categories that emphasize experience and skills over time frames of employment.

Emphasize accomplishments over tasks

After choosing a self-employed resume format, populate each work entry with relevant accomplishments, not simply tasks.

For example, instead of listing that you “created websites,” give a sense of the scope, volume and impact of these work products. Did your work allow your client to boost their digital presence or lead to increased online sales?

If so, express these accomplishments in your resume with available data to back your claims.

Choose fitting job titles

The self-employed are often prone to under-inflate their job titles. For example, the labels “consultant” or “freelancer” alone do not convey the scope of your experience or depth of your expertise.

Instead, use a more fitting title for the work you performed, such as social media strategist or mobile app developer. In addition, highlight your managerial role in the business. For example, instead of writing “owner,” you can list what the role would be if you were hired by someone else—”owner” could be “president” or something equivalent.

Link out to work samples

Workers who are self-employed over a long period of time can build significantly on their old skill set. Mentally review the skills you have gained and add those that align with your target job to your resume.

One of the best sources of self-employment resume help is your own personal portfolio of work samples. Include a link to your portfolio on your resume. Your work samples will not only offer tangible proof of the skills on your resume. They will also help document your self-employment as a period in your work history you are proud of—not one you want to hide.

Show you are a team player

For all their positive qualities, the self-employed are sometimes still viewed as renegades of the workforce who march to their own drum. For this reason, employers will gauge your willingness to work for someone else again.

Prove that you are a team player by highlighting the collaborative aspects of your self-employment. Having the courage to strike it out on your own as an independent worker is undoubtedly a strength. But so is demonstrating that you can contribute to the overall vision of an organization.

About the author

Manasa Reddigari

Manasa Reddigari has tackled topics ranging from computer software to home remodeling in her more-than-a-decade-long career as a writer and editor. During her stint as a scribe, she's been featured by MileIQ, Trulia, and other leading digital properties. Connect with her on to find out what she's been writing about lately.

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The Growth Center does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. You should contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.