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5 Freelance Resume Mistakes To Avoid

by Davis Porter

We’ve always praised freelance careers for their flexibility. They give you the privilege of working whenever you want, from wherever you want, and with whoever you want- without any specific rules. 

But freelancing has its drawbacks. 

If you’re trying to market your skills, for instance, writing a freelance resume can be a challenging affair – as there are no standard rules to follow. 

You somehow have to find a way of fitting all your skills and background information into 1-2 document pages. Your freelance resume needs to be brief but comprehensive enough to capture all the relevant details concisely. 

So, where do you even start? How exactly should you draft your freelance resume? And, most importantly, which mistakes should you look out for? 

5 Common Freelance Resume Mistakes To Avoid

Adding Fluff and Generic Buzzwords

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Some freelancers even exaggerate their qualifications with huge, fancy words, while others choose to apply generic buzzwords like “motivated”, “team player”, “hardworking”, etc. 

Well, you can bet your prospects won’t bother reading the buzzwords. Hiring managers are used to such phrases and ignore them. 

Replacing generic terms with fancy words won’t do the trick either. Although it’s always advisable to highlight your strengths, going overboard with huge words makes you come off as insincere or pretentious. 

That said, the best approach would be to tweak your descriptions to appear more practical. 

For instance; instead of describing yourself as a “team player”, consider showcasing a large team project, on which you collaborated with other professionals. 

Focusing on Job Tasks Instead of Accomplishments

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Interestingly, freelance resumes often read like job ads. And the reason is, freelancers tend to copy and paste job descriptions from their past employers. 

While this might be an acceptable way of documenting your previous roles, it doesn’t sit particularly well with recruiters. 

Recruiters are not amused by job descriptions like “introduced measures to boost revenue and minimize costs”. Instead, they want to know how you applied your skill sets in your previous assignments. 

To capture that, you might want to focus primarily on the resulting accomplishments, instead of just the job tasks

If you claim that you increased revenue, for instance, ensure that you accompany that with the specific figures. 

“Boosted revenue by 30% in 6 months through overhead cost reduction” sounds a lot better than simply “increased revenue”. 

Coming Up with Inconsistent Information

Sure, freelancing can get hectic at times, and you might have trouble remembering the specific details of all your previous assignments. But, that’s no excuse for letting inconsistencies slip through while writing your freelance resume. 

A single inaccurate date, job title, or job description could raise a red flag among employers, who might then dismiss you as a potential liar. 

To safeguard your reputation as a serious professional, ensure that all the dates and job details are properly aligned. While you’re at it, consider rechecking and proofreading your entire resume over and over again to confirm everything. 

Overdesigning the Layout

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It’s always a good idea to come up with a unique layout design that sets your resume apart from the rest. Basic attributes like text organization, font style, and page orientation say a lot about you and could go a long way towards influencing your employers’ decisions. 

Sadly, in their quest to impress employers, many freelancers end up doing the exact opposite. They go overboard and create layouts that are too busy. 

Some of the common design mistakes here include; using irrelevant images and colors; mixing up numerous fonts; irregularly indenting paragraphs; etc. 

Hence, you might want to avoid all the fancy extras in your freelance resume. Keep the entire layout clean and neat with uniform, legible fonts, plus short, fairly-indented paragraphs. That way, your prospective employers are bound to have an easy time reading through your important skill sets.

Adding Your Personal Hobbies

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Back in the day, it was common for job applicants to include their personal hobbies in their professional resumes. The trend, has since died, as today’s breed of employers is not interested in your personal interests. 

Therefore, you might want to save yourself the trouble and leave hobbies out of your freelance resume. In their place, you could add the few interests and skills you think would be relevant to the job. 

How To Craft a Perfect Freelance Resume

And now, after exploring the mistakes, it’s only right to walk you through the art of writing a perfect freelance resume. 

Here are some of the basic tips you should follow:  

  • Throw in a Call of Action: Don’t make assumptions about your employer’s course of action after reading the resume. Rather, include CTAs to direct them towards your website, references, etc.  
  • Add Keywords: If you’re planning to publish the resume online on a public platform, strategically add search keywords to the text. This will optimize the resume for search engines and consequently help you attract more employers and job opportunities. 
  • Include Links To Past Projects: To showcase your skills and capabilities, you can include links to some of your published best works. 
  • Keep Updating: A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always pan out well when it comes to freelance gigs. Employers are best impressed by freelance resumes that are specially customized for their job offers. Hence, you might want to tweak the finer details whenever you make a new application. 
  • Must-Have Sections: At the very least, your freelance resume should have the following sections: Name and Contact Info; Career Summary; Professional Background; Core Competencies and Skills; Education Background; Certifications. 

All The Best In Your Job Hunt!

With these insights, you can now go ahead and start developing a perfect freelance resume. 

In the meantime, we wish you all the best in your job hunt! Remember that every single word in your resume counts. 

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