Resume templates for the self-employed
March 28, 2019
Depending on what independent career you chose, you may not need to maintain an up-to-date resume. But many solopreneurs will need to have a resume and/or portfolio ready to share to with potential clients.
You need to make a great impression, as contributor Chelsea Baldwin writes in her post on putting self-employment on your resume, so we’re offering four, ready-to-download, customizable resume templates and some other ideas for showcasing your self-employment expertise.
The Traditional Resume
Great for: consultants and freelancers with deep expertise and experience in a specific area
This resume layout is the most common layout you’ll see, and it’s that way for a reason. It tells a cohesive, chronological story of your work experience and highlights your qualifications. Employers and clients will be able to find what they need to find, quickly. Within this layout you’ll find:
- Summary of qualifications, i.e. the three most important things to know about you and your experience
- Chronological work history
- Contact information
The Project-Based Resume
Great for: those who’s past job titles and work experience don’t neatly point to the job they are trying to get. For example, if you were a marketing manager but spent a lot of time doing project management and are scrum certified, this project-based template might be a better option if you are trying to secure a freelance gig as a scrum master.
This resume template brings your experience and leadership on specific projects forward, instead of focusing on your chronological job history. When you are trying to shift your career focus, this template can help you highlight those projects that showcase your expertise.
It also allows you to list out your actual job experience so that you can show your employment history, but not put the primary focus on the job titles. Within this layout, you’ll find:
- Personal summary, i.e. who you are, what experience and personality you bring, and why you would be a great fit
- Project summaries, including project time frame, goal, outcomes and your role
- Job history
- Contact information
The Skills-Based Template
Great for: anyone trying to highlight specific skills or certifications over job history. Think of those in the creative space with a very diverse background, or perhaps anyone in development/information technology/computer science space.
This resume template brings skills to the forefront. If you are a developer with expertise in multiple programming languages and frameworks, this template might help you showcase that better than a traditional resume would.
Someone transitioning into consulting might also use this to highlight areas of expertise they’d like to work in. This format will also allow you to highlight any certifications or licenses you’ve earned. What you’ll find within this layout:
- What I’m really great at
- Top skills & proof
- Licenses and certifications
- Contact information
Great for: anyone who needs to show visuals or work samples
Think of this physical template as the single page window to your portfolio website. The purpose of this template isn’t to replace your portfolio site, it’s to give you something to share when a potential hiring manager needs to see your resume and you’d rather share a portfolio. It blends a quick view of your work samples, job history, skills and education; and it also drives them to your portfolio website. What you’ll find in this layout:
- A clear CTA to your portfolio site
- 3-6 visual work samples with a single summary sentence
- Brief job history
- A list of skills and certifications
- Contact information
Other important considerations
Let’s talk about:
- Your LinkedIn profile
- Your personal portfolio website
- Cover letter
Your LinkedIn profile
While your resume itself still maintains importance in hiring, more and more companies are integrating their hiring platforms with LinkedIn and even if they aren’t, they are definitely looking at your profile. It’s important to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, and reflective of your resume.
Your personal portfolio website
Gone are the days when the creative industry is the only one looking for work samples and portfolios as part of the hiring process. It’s becoming more and more common to either do a case study as part of the interview process or be required to submit work samples.
A good rule of thumb: if you mention it as a proof point on your resume, you should put the sample on your portfolio site. Make sure as you complete work with clients, that you gain permission to post the work on your portfolio site. This should be part of your contract terms.
No idea how to build a website? It’s so much easier these days– there are numerous platforms out there that will allow you to build a site even if you have no idea how to code. Even a simple blog site will do the trick. bSolo is not affiliated with any of these sites, so make sure to do your research when selecting a platform.
It’s important to have a list of 3-5 people who know you in a professional capacity and who are willing to recommend you. Take note that this list might include:
Building up your recommendations on LinkedIn may help, but often as part of the hiring process, hiring managers will want to email or call a list of references you provide. It’s not usually a good idea to post your references on your portfolio site- just make them available upon request.
The Cover Letter
The dreaded cover letter. Does anyone enjoy writing this? If you do, please send tips to the rest of us.
Sometimes you can’t avoid it. Job postings often require it and it can be the thing that gives you the upper hand. You can create a simple cover letter that covers all the main points and then modify it for each job:
- Paragraph 1: who you are, what job you are interested in and the single most interesting fact about you that would make you a great fit.
- Paragraph(s) 2-3: pick out two bullet points from the job description and show proof of how you’ve been successful tackling this in the past
- Last paragraph: summarize why you are the authority in this space, thank them for their time, and indicate your interest one last time
We hope the templates we’ve provided can help jump-start your thinking about how to keep your self-employed resume up-to-date and working hard for you. Just remember, your resume, your LinkedIn profile, your portfolio site– they are all part of your personal brand, so make sure it showcases how amazing you really are.