How to Create a Winning Freelance Resume

Think of a freelance resume as your winning smile, it’s your best foot forward and gets you in the door to a client. That’s why it’s highly important to have a winning resume because this is the key to unlocking numerous opportunities for freelancers. Without a resume, it’s very unlikely that you will ever get a freelance job.

A freelancer’s resume is quite different from those who are simply making a resume to get a full-time job. This will depend on a wide range of factors on how your resume will turn out. And a good resume will also be quite different, depending on the potential client you will submit it to.

The good thing is, creating a winning resume is quite easy, as long as you know what to put in. It will take a bit of work but it will be all worth it. Again, the resume is possibly the very first thing a potential client will see from you. Before you even get a chance to get an interview, your resume will be put under the microscope first.

Creating a Winning Freelance Resume

If you want a winning resume, you’ll have to start gathering all of the vital information about yourself when it comes to working. Once you have gathered all of the data, it’s time to sort them out one by one and figure out, which one is included and which ones need to be erased.

Woman with one arm up, smiling, holding an ipad with her other hand

1. Do a background check on the client

Check out the clients that you want to apply for a freelance job with. This will help determine what kind of information you should include in your resume. See the personality of the client, are they straight to the point and format? If so, then be prepared for a resume that is exactly like that, highly professional, and filled with facts.

Now, if you are trying to apply for a freelance job from a company that is looking for fantastic creatives, then it’s your time to shine. Make sure your resume resonates with how much of a creative person you are. Your skills should be able to shine through your resume. For example, if you are applying for a freelance writer for a magazine, do you think they’d be impressed if your resume has writing errors? Or maybe you don’t know how to describe yourself or your actual work clearly. That freelance job application won’t come off well for you.

2. Consider your branding

sample resume

As a freelancer, you are your own business. And if you want to be recognized in the freelance industry, you might want to consider having your own branding. Maybe you want to show that you are a truly creative person, so you show what you can do through visual aids. Instead of saying the levels of graphic design skills you have, you show them through a graph or pie chart.

3. Only include relevant information

Based on your findings on the clients, you need to filter out the info that you include. For example, how to list freelance graphic design on resume will vary depending on the job you are applying for. If you want an animation job, then highlight all of your animation skills. It might not be relevant to add that you create social media posts for previous clients or that you are trained in making advertisements.

4. Add client reviews or character references

If you want to wow potential clients, then it will really help to have previous clients showing their appreciation for you. It means that your services are “tried-and-tested” and that you are trustworthy. When you do this, make sure to inform your previous clients that you will use them as a character reference. You may also send your previous client a request to send a review about you.

Remember to always as in advance, you don’t want your previous clients to be caught off-guard when your potential client contacts them. It will also be worse if your previous client says they don’t remember you, it means your work is forgettable.

5. Link to your portfolio (if possible)

Since we are now in the digital age, it is easy to add hyperlinks to your resume. Clients these days want to know what you can do for them, and what better way to show them than through a portfolio? Don’t worry though if you are new in the freelancing industry, you can make a portfolio even without experience.

Resume Tips for Freelancers

To give you more ideas on how to make a winning freelance resume, here are some tips to help you out:

• Don’t go overboard with the design

sample resume

Of course, it’s nice to see a resume that isn’t just black and white, but some people go overboard and use the colors of the rainbow. That isn’t it, you have to remain professional. When we talk about resume design it’s not just about color. It’s also about word placements and blocking, the size of the text, where the eye immediately goes at first glance, and so on.

You will need help with the power of design when making a winning resume. You can always ask for help and you can search for some inspiration online. Remember it’s not all about aesthetics, it’s about enticing colors and strategic word placements.

• Use power words

If there is power in design, there is also power in words when making a resume. Just imagine when a potential client reads “helped with creating the new email marketing design” vs “initiated a new email marketing design that increased open rate by 10%”, which one sounds more enticing? Not only was a power word used for the second one but it also showed a result.

The use of power words is indeed powerful. So wield it wisely and make sure that the use of these words is not forced. If you really did just help with a project, don’t say you spearheaded it just to sound more impressive. You can simply say you “supported” instead of “helped”.

• Have a CV on file

Some people have a resume and a CV confused. A curriculum vitae is actually a document with your complete academic history as well as detailed work experience. You should have a CV on file, think of it as your “master list” of everything that you have ever done throughout your career.

With that master list, you can simply trim it down or alter it depending on the client to that you want to send your resume. This way, you don’t have to keep re-writing a resume every time you need to submit it. This can help you save a lot of time in the future and helps you keep on track of what you have already done in your freelancing journey.

• Only add your photo when necessary

This may seem a bit weird to some but there are actually clients that prefer to “have a “see” the people who may potentially work for them. The first thing you can do to find out if a photo is required is if it is indicated. If nothing is indicated on the job post, you may also check the client’s location or place of business.

If the norm in that location is to have a resume with a photo, then do add one. But, if the client resides or runs their business in a country that frowns upon this type of practice, then don’t add it. If you really have no clue, it’s totally your call if you want to include your photo or not.

• Have someone else read your resume

two women sitting in front of table with a laptop

Before sending out your resume, one of the best things you can do is to have someone else read it. A fresh pair of eyes can bring a lot to the table. They can check for errors or spelling mistakes and point out to you if there are some details that aren’t quite clear.

Never, ever send out a resume without double-checking it. If you don’t have anyone to help read your resume, the next best thing is to rely on grammar tools. You can also write your resume and then wait a few hours or even a couple of days before reading it again. This can help you catch possible errors. But the best way is still to have a fellow freelancer or a friend help you out.


Remember that your resume is one of the most important things you need to make as a freelancer. Without a winning freelance resume, you’ll never get the chance to show what you can really do. With that, you also need to keep in mind that a freelance resume is only just the beginning. It may give you the start that you need but your talents, skills, and work ethic will be the ones that will bring you to the finish line.

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