Contrary to popular belief, contractual work can be highly fulfilling if you are in the right industry. And when you plan to switch to a more organized sector, listing them on your resume can work to your advantage.
Working full-time as a part of an organization and being on their direct payroll has its perks. You get a chance to prove yourself and are likewise rewarded with benefits and better packages over time.
And yet, there could be several reasons you might have chosen to work on a contractual or freelance basis. You could be studying and working simultaneously, or you could have personal issues which made it impossible for you to spend long hours at an office as you needed to devote more time at home.
You could have wanted to try out different things to determine your true interests. Or, you could have wanted to travel for a while and work from wherever you were before deciding to go for a conventional desk job.
Venturing out on your own is never easy, and it takes a great deal of skill and dedication to earn a living while depending on contractual gigs. Your clients should be able to trust that you will submit the project within deadlines and that your fees are feasible enough. All those hours of work definitely teach you a lot.
After all, just because you weren’t commuting to a workplace doesn’t mean your work means less. And when you finally decide to opt for a full-time job, listing your contractual work will show your prospective employers that you have the required knowledge and experience to get a job done.
Is Adding Contractual Work to A Resume is a Good Idea?
Yes, even if you were into contractual work and were freelancing, listing them in your resume would help, especially if you have been doing it for a while. Most applicants are wary of doing so as they assume that it will make them look unsettled as if they are incapable of holding down a job.
On the contrary, it shows that you have picked up skills over the years and are updated about the new trends in the industry. This is a significant requirement because your contractual clients need to know that you are aware of the industry’s latest trends and best practices. It also shows that you are highly adaptable and resourceful because catering to the specific needs of various clients isn’t an easy task.
Moreover, it is an excellent way of showing that you were involved with the industry despite an employment gap- in case you were on a break from your full-time employment, most employers would consider this as valid work experience. You can always explain in depth during the interview why you were into freelancing and contractual gigs.
How Can You List Contractual Work on Your Resume?
When you decide to include your contractual work on your resume, make sure it is properly organized. Your prospective employer should get a clear picture of the various projects and tasks you have completed over the years, and here is how to do so.
1. Listing the Tasks Chronologically
It is essential that you list the contractual work on your resume chronologically, meaning list the most recent project at the top and so forth. Not dating, the gigs would seem like you had taken up projects as and when they came along.
Dating the tasks gives the idea that you have been into serious contractual work for a considerable time and have a record of all your tasks. It offers a more cohesive picture. If there are too many gigs, you might omit the smaller ones.
2. Grouping the Projects
Your contractual jobs might be related to one or multiple industries, and you could be doing contractual work in various industries before deciding which field you finally want to pursue. It is always a good idea to group the industries in such cases. Name the specific company you worked for, the nature of the project, the duration of the project, and the date.
Do this for the various contractual gigs, in reverse chronological order, for every industry you worked in. This will make your resume more organized despite having several contractual or freelance jobs.
3. Be Clear About Your Employers
You could be engaged in contractual positions for various clients and companies yourself or working for a third-party staffing company responsible for sending projects your way. In that case, the staffing company was your employer, not the company itself.
However, you can always include the names of the companies- unless bound by any confidentiality agreement- for which the projects were finally intended, especially if they are well-known names in the industry.
4. Highlight Your Achievements And Skills
It is important to mention any skills you have picked up during your freelance journey and how they resulted in accomplishing your project. Your prospective employers would be keen to see how you added value to your companies, and producing concrete results and facts would be an added advantage.
For example, you could say how you improved traffic to a company’s website by redesigning it as a contractual web designer, by what percentage did the number of visitors and the sales go up to make more profit for the organization. Your skills could be using and implementing the latest graphic designing tools, understanding web navigation, and use of SEO and link building to enhance overall website traffic. Comprehensive knowledge of website content and traffic could help you design your website better.
5. Be Creative
This might seem like a cliché, but you need to be creative when presenting your contractual work. Look at the resume and see how you can use creative formatting to highlight the various gigs. Have a dedicated section and talk about how your jobs increased customer satisfaction for the company, generated more revenue or resulted in more customers because of your writing skills.
6. Customize Your Contractual Tasks For The Individual Positions
If you have worked in multiple industries during your contractual work and are applying for a job in a particular industry, customize your resume accordingly. Only list those contractual projects related to the industry in which you are applying.
The other projects are unnecessary and would take up extra space in your resume as it is entirely unrelated and wouldn’t help your case. You might have a prepare multiple resumes, but tailoring your freelance work and making your resume industry-specific will help your recruiters learn more about you quickly.
7. Explaining Your Interest in Regular Employment
As mentioned earlier, there could be several reasons you might have taken up contractual employment. Still, it is always a good idea to return to the organized sector and have a steady source of income. Mentioning that you are looking forward to making a larger impact with long-term associations as a part of an organization would help your cause.
That way, your employers will not think that you are desperate for any job that comes your way or you would go back to freelancing again. If you are looking for stability in your career, you should mention that to your recruiters.
Format for Listing Contractual Work
You can use this format for listing contractual work to make it easier to organize your resume.
- Mention your job title or what you did and mention “Contractor” in brackets.
- Please write the name of the company you worked for and their office location. If you were employed by a staffing agency, mention their name.
- Mention the start and end dates of your contractual project.
- Write briefly about your role as the contractor and the projects you worked on, along with your relationship with the staffing agency.
- List the various companies you worked for with separate bullets.
- Use the reverse-chronological method to list the various positions.
- Use specific keywords related to skills and job requirements to be considered by applicant tracking systems.
Example for Listing Contractual Work
You can follow this format to list various contractual works. Customize it according to the position you are applying for.
Project Manager (Contractor)DigiSense Software Agency- Boston (June 2020- May 2022)
I have been working with DigiSense for about three years now, and I work as a project manager contractually, helping the various teams complete their tasks on time. The projects increased company profits by 30%.
Project Manager (Contractor)Color Palette Graphic House- New York (February 2018 – April 2020)
I was associated with Color Palette for a little over two years. I was responsible for overseeing graphic and web designing projects, ensuring the designs were created and delivered on time. The project was completed six weeks early.
Project Manager (Contractor)Soundwave Media- California (July 2017- January 2018)
I was associated with Soundwave for about seven months and was responsible for managing and implementing marketing campaigns
Overseen a team of 18 people, including marketers and copywriters, to ensure the marketing campaigns were developed and released on time.
The stigma around contractual work has largely receded, and employers duly recognize contractual workers’ skills, expertise, and knowledge. Most industries have become highly dynamic, and they know that contractual and freelance work can prevent stagnation. The contractual workers also negotiate hefty compensation packages based on their merit when they join full-time positions. Contractual offers also give newbies an excellent learning experience, and it creates a flexible work scenario that works in everyone’s favor as long as the job gets done. Hence, listing your contractual work will work to your benefit.