Contract and Freelance Resumes – How to Highlight Your Employment History

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If you have worked full-time for only one employer at a time, the Employment History section of your resume is going to be pretty standard. You list the names and locations of the companies you’ve worked for, your job titles,  and a description of your duties. It is pretty straightforward to write and easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to see your career progress.
However, writing your employment history when you’ve been contracting and freelancing is a bit different from full-time, permanent employment and can be tricky. If you are a contractor through an employment agency, while you may work at Company X, you are actually an employee of that employment agency. Some contracts specify that you cannot list Company X on your resume, which means you must list the employment agency and a description of your duties that also describes the company. So, for example, if Company X is a software design company, you may list one of your duties as software testing for a software design firm without specifying Company X. Other contracts may allow you to list “Company X contract through ABC Employment agency.”
Freelancers often compile the Employment History section of their resumes by listing a title such as “Freelance Website Designer”, the dates during which they have been freelancing, and something along the lines of: “Client list includes: Companies A, B, and C. However, you must be careful. If your freelance agreement specifies that you cannot list an individual company for which you have done web design, then don’t do it. Also, do not misrepresent your work and state on your resume in separate entries that you worked at each company as a web designer. Listing the companies this way can be construed as you were a full-time employee when you really were a freelancer. You must make it clear that it was freelance work and not ongoing work.
Before you start writing, know what your contract and freelance agreements allow/do not allow you to publicize on your resume. If you’re really struggling with the format and word choice, consult with a professional resume writer who is skilled in creating resumes for contract/freelance clients.