Home » How to Put Self-Employed on Resume? Complete Guide With Examples

How to Put Self-Employed on Resume? Complete Guide With Examples

Not everyone looking for jobs is an institute pass-out or a professional graduate. A general surveillance and research study estimates that 70% of jobs in the corporate field are filled by self-employed individuals.

Companies are hiring people with relevant fieldwork experience from the past few years. They prefer people who have acquired skills through their previous self-employed or freelance work with specific talent.

Self-employment represents hard work, determination, resilience, and a knack for quality assurance. The skills and expertise one acquires working as a freelancer or in contract-based employment might exponentially help one achieve a good position in esteemed companies.

Adding a self-employed tagline will also cover the “employment gaps” in your work history that might hinder your job application.

This informative guide will look at some easy ways to add self-employment to your resume. But before that, we need, first of all, to understand what actually constitutes self-employment.

What is Self-Employment and Why it Matters?

What is Self-Employment & Why it Matters

Self-employment, for lack of a better word, is a much-preferred alternative to the traditional concept of 9 to 5 corporate jobs.

At its most basic level of understanding, it actually means that you are a skilled individual who works independently on multiple projects based on your own choices. In a self-employed role, you are not bound to any specific corporation.

Your representation in your resume matters a lot to recruiters, who will select you based on your years of experience and skills acquired.

The landscape of the employment sector is rapidly changing and advancing due to various technological innovations and the availability of digital interfaces.

To be a part of this revolutionary change, you must represent yourself as an individual who has acquired unique experience and expertise through his/her self-employment.

Key Characteristics of Self-Employment

Key Characteristics of Self-Employment

In a self-employed role, you are not an official company employee but a sole proprietor, business owner, or entrepreneur. Here, we are going to discuss some key aspects of being a self-employed worker on your resume:

  • Independence of Work: Self-employed individuals can make specific decisions about their work, including working hours of choice, desired quality, clientele handling on projects, and dependency on research material.
  • Financial Responsibility: Self-employed workers are fully responsible for managing their own expenses, including investments for work, insurance, and retirement savings.
  • Contract-Based Work: A Self-employed individual mainly works on contract-based terms for companies. These individuals have a fixed working relationship with clients.
  • Entrepreneurship: An entrepreneur also comes under the category of self-employment. They make their livelihood by constantly experimenting with their skills and years of experience on a specific idea that will take them toward their goal of building their own company.
  • Diverse Industries: Self-employment spans various industries, from freelancers in creative fields like design and writing to small business owners in retail or consulting.

Listing Self-Employment on Your Resume

When listing self-employment on your resume, it’s essential to present your experiences and skills in a way that showcases your qualifications to potential employers. Here’s a complete guide with examples of how to include self-employment on your resume:

1. Create A Professional Resume Format

Create A Professional Resume Format

A professional resume format isn’t about something that looks too fancy for the sake of being a creatively eye-catching piece of document. Subtlety and minimalism should always be the main criteria for creating a professional resume format.

For example, popular templates like the Cascade, Crisp, Diamond, Enfold, Initials, and Iconic are the most sought-after resume templates that can be a great professional representation of an individual’s candidature.

Here’s a perfect snap of a professional resume format that presents detailed information about an applicant’s work experience without being too showy or flashy.

Note: List your work in reverse chronological order. Focus on skills and qualifications rather than specific job history, especially if your self-employment experience is sporadic.

2. Include a Specific Job Header

Including a specific job title at the top of your resume header looks appropriate and very subtle. As a self-employed professional, you have the full liberty to choose your own job title based on your experience.

It should reflect the work you do and are most interested in. For example, if you are the owner of “Smith’s Marketing Consultation Service” list your job title simply as “Marketing Consultant” if that’s the desired area of work in which you want to excel.

Writing “Freelancer,” “Independent,” or “Consultant” for your job title sounds more like a self-employed resume.

Note: Mentioning that you are your company’s CEO or Managing Director might put off some recruiters. They might feel you’re overqualified for the job post and would not proceed with your self-employment resume.

3. Writing a Strong Objective

Writing a Strong Objective

The first paragraph of your resume is about your career objective. It should reflect your own personal ambitions for your career. Try to be honest and genuine while writing about your resume objective summary.

It should be career-specific and related to your own professional dreams. Be straightforward, and try not to be too cocky with the use of fancy words. For example, look at this one paragraph that could be a good objective on your resume:

“To work in an environment that encourages me to succeed and grow professionally where I can utilize my attributive skills and knowledge in an organization that recognizes the value of hard work and trusts me with great responsibility and exciting Challenges.”

4. List Self-Employment as a Formal Job Entry

Treat your Self-employment like any other job in your work history section. Consider it a formal job entry with all the necessary details. You can use the following format as an example:

  • Job Title: Self-Employed (or use your business name)
  • Dates of Employment: (Start Date) – (End Date) or “Present” if still working
  • Company/Organization: Your business name (optional)
  • Location: Your city, state (optional)

5. Highlight Relevant Skills

Highlight Relevant Skills

Your skills are highly important for you to book the job. Some recruiters skip all the previous information about the candidate on their resume and go straight to the section on all the attributive skills.

Hence, it’s imperative to incorporate relevant information about all the skills acquired during self-employment. These mentioned skills will be the only thing that will eventually determine your overall position in the company.

It allows the recruiters to evaluate your candidature more specifically based on your relevant skills. Tailor this section so that it matches the job description accurately.

Some of the popular skills that are mostly included in professional resumes are as follows:

  • Graphic Designer (Adobe Creative Suite)
  • Business Development Executive
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Client Relationship
  • Cold Calling/Outsourcing
  • MS Excel, MS Office
  • Managing Google Sheets
  • Powerpoint Presentation
  • Financial Analysis
  • Marketing and Sales

6. Target Achievements and Revenue Generation

Recruiters prefer those resumes in which the candidates have mentioned a detailed description of their monthly target achievements during their freelancing days or self-employment tenure.

A quantifiable mention of certain revenues for a company that your self-employment journey contributed to creates a valuable impression of you in the recruiter’s eyes. It helps them to determine a well-deserved package for your employment.

For example, you can include revenue data generated in your resume, something like:

  • I increased monthly sales by 40% through targeted marketing and customer engagement strategies.
  • I helped generate $50,000 in annual revenue by expanding the client base through referrals and networking.

7. Address Gap Years in Employment History

Address Gap Years in Employment History

Cover letters attached to the official resume are also a professional way of applying for specific job posts. Suppose your employment history has a gap of some years due to your self-employment journey at various firms. In that case, you can include that description in your cover letter with the resume.

Addressing these gaps in your resume will prove your honesty in your job application. At the time of the face-to-face interview with the recruiters, if you’re asked about the specific reason for the gap, you can answer them with a logical explanation that doesn’t sound vague or made up.

A perfect resume for self-employment might look something like this: Please have a good look at it.


Q1. What if my self-employment is unrelated to the job I’m applying for?

Ans: Highlighting relevant skills that match the job description could be one way to apply for jobs where your self-employment is totally unrelatable. Emphasize skills such as communication, project management, and client relationship management that are commonly found in almost every job requirement post.

Q2. Can I include my freelance work that is separate from other self-employment?

Ans: You can mention your freelance work and other small business ventures or self-employment in separate columns. However, there is no such mandatory rule. That said, it creates a much more diversified palette of work experience in your resume.

Q3. What if I mention my freelance work having an NDA agreement with the company?

Ans: Companies that hire for freelance work with an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) might sue you in court if you breach the agreement by publicly mentioning it in other MNC companies. There is strict compliance with such NDA agreements. However, there might be some leniency for job applications if you get proper permission from the authorities before applying.


Getting a good job in an esteemed company is everyone’s common dream, but only a few can achieve it.

Only a few people with a knack for learning and experimenting with their knowledge can make it to the big MNCs with great salary packages.

Rather than enrolling in high-profile institutions or applying for expensive courses, people spend years in freelance work and self-employment strategies where they enthusiastically acquire great skills and hands-on experiences.

In this connection, a resume with relevant skills and hands-on experience in freelance work would count more than extravagant academic qualifications with no practical work experience.

We sincerely hope this article was worth reading. We wish you the best for your future. Till then, Happy hustling!