As the job market continues to change and evolve, self-employment is becoming more commonplace, including among new college and high school graduates. That means the first lines on your resume may not be the traditional fast-food job - that initial foray into the world of work could be delivering McDonalds meals for DoorDash or packing groceries for your neighbors.
Those side hustles can be valuable teachers of employment skills, driving home the importance of a strong work ethic in ways more traditional forms of employment cannot. But how do you document and incorporate those gig jobs and side hustles into your resume, and how can you prove the value of these work experiences to a skeptical employer? Here are some tips to get you started.
The Point of the Resume
It is easy to view a resume as a mere recitation of your experience, but in truth it is a marketing document. When you present your resume online or send it to a prospective employer, you are marketing yourself and your skills, and the document you present should reflect your accomplishments, not just what you have done.
Simply listing the freelance projects you have completed or pointing would-be employers to an online profile is unlikely to get results, so think strategically and put your gig work and self-employment in the best possible light. A bulleted list of your biggest accomplishments in the fields of gig work and self-employment can give you maximum impact in a minimum amount of space, helping you build a winning resume even if you have never worked a traditional job.
Group Similar Gigs Together
When you work as a freelancer, you may wear many hats, from website designer and programmer to content writer and social media marketer. Presenting all those projects can be overwhelming for a would-be employer, so take some time to organize your projects before putting them down on paper - or computer screen.
Grouping similar projects together will present a clearer picture of your experience, especially if you are seeking a job in a particular industry. If you are applying for a web design position, focusing on your relevant freelance projects and gig work while omitting the rest could be a smart strategy.
Include the Name of Your Company
If you have formed a separate company for your freelancing efforts, feel free to include it on your resume. As a self-employed individual, you are both employee and employer in the eyes of the IRS - and in the eyes of a prospective new employer.
It helps if your company has a robust and positive online presence, and the more professional your presentation the more likely it is to get results. You can even link to your company website or social media pages as you build your resume, giving the document an even more powerful marketing message.
Building a resume is always a challenge, especially when your employment experience mostly consists of self-employment and gig work. If you have enjoyed going your own way but are ready for something a bit steadier, the tips listed above can help you create the perfect resume, one that will get the attention of hiring managers and help you land your first traditionally paid position.