How to List Self-Employment and Freelance Work on Resume

How to List Self-Employment and Freelance Work on Resume

A step by step guide to listing self employment on your resume

First things first: Here’s a breakdown of how to add self employment to your resume.

  1. Give yourself a proper job title. Make sure it’s descriptive and clear about what you actually did.
  2. Add ‘Freelance,’ ‘Independent Contractor,’ or ‘Consultant’ to the end of your job title.
  3. List a company name — Your Name Consulting (or similar) is fine.
  4. Include a short blurb to describe the context and scope of your work.
  5. Detail your accomplishments in bullet points.
  6. Use quantifiable metrics (including specific dollar amounts).
  7. Include a resume summary to explain the nature and relevance of your experience (optional).
  8. Run your resume through a free resume checker to identify potential areas for improvement.
Step by step checklist of adding self employment t
Step by step checklist of adding self employment to a resume

An example of self-employment on your resume

Here’s a template you can use for listing self employment on your resume:

MY NAME CONSULTING SERVICES Independent Consultant / Freelancer [Try to add keywords to job title, e.g. SEO Consultant] New York, NY, 2015 — Present Developed strategic insights for seven medium-large companies ($5M+/year) to improve SEO, web traffic and conversions. Revamped and implemented new websites for four companies. Selected Projects Search Engine Optimization project for American pet store – Analyzed data from 25000 monthly active users and used outputs to guide marketing and product strategies; increased average app engagement time by 2x and 30% decrease in drop off rate

And here’s an example of what a work experience section might look like for someone who’s been self-employed:

Self employment is work experience and should be i
Self employment is work experience and should be included in the work experience section

To view and download the entire self-employment resume template, go to our resume templates page.


Freelancer Resume Is a No Brainer

Now that we have learned how to include self-employment in a resume let’s move onto Freelance. So, how does freelance differ from self-employment?

Although the word freelancer is commonly used to refer to self-employed people, that is not entirely correct. A freelancer is someone who is hired on a contract basis, instead of working for the company as an employee. A freelancer doesn’t have a long-term commitment to anyone or anything.

Great, now onto the good aspects that freelance resumes show implicitly.

Interpersonal Skills

You can easily build and cultivate relationships to acquire and maintain work. Communicating with partners, vendors, and customers across any brand is not a problem for you. You’re great at negotiation.

Growth and Development

You are a continuous self-developer and a lifelong learner. You stay passionate about your job. You strive for developing personal and professional balance.

Creativity and Visioning

You constantly initiate new activities to garner new work opportunities for yourself. You develop, maintain, and synthesize ideas.

Time Management

You are engaged in work, you love it, and you are self-directed. You know what to do and when it is appropriate. You masterfully manage all of the daily activities to complete them on time reliably.

What are disadvantages of self employment?

They’ll be explored in greater depth below.

  • Higher Taxes. First and foremost, you should understand that your taxes will become much higher as a self-employed individual.
  • Loss of Other Financial Benefits.
  • No More Insurance.
  • Working 24/7.
  • Prepare For Unsteady Pay.

Emphasize accomplishments over tasks

After choosing a self-employed resume format, populate each work entry with relevant accomplishments, not simply tasks.  For example, instead of listing that you "created websites," give a sense of the scope, volume and impact of these work products. Did your work allow your client to boost their digital presence or lead to increased online sales?  If so, express these accomplishments in your resume with available data to back your claims.

Should I put self-employed on my resume?

The short answer is yes! You can — and should — add self-employment experience to your resume! Self-employment and other forms of freelance work are great additions to your resume, especially for anyone who’s dealing with employment gaps in their work history.

Listing Freelance Work on a Resume

One of the challenges of listing self-employment on a resume is that employers may struggle to understand exactly what your work entailed. To provide the most complete picture, it’s a good idea to list all of your most significant achievements, such as improving a client’s SEO position, increasing web conversions, or growing social-media campaigns.

Whenever possible, provide specific data and percentages to drive your point home. Because many self-employed individuals have more than one client, it’s easy to lose track of your accomplishments on each job and for each client. A good rule of thumb is to write out a brief description of the project and its outcome as soon as you finish – you don’t want to forget anything that might help you land that new gig.

It’s also a good idea to include details regarding other responsibilities you held: It’s not uncommon for freelancers to wear a number of hats, so let employers know if you handled the company’s human resources and accounting needs along with your other tasks, for example. Listing all your skills and accomplishments shows the prospective employer your value as a potential employee.

How to put self-employed projects on your resume alongside a full-time job

Putting freelance projects on your resume that you do outside your full-time role is simple. When you format your resume, list two positions and make it clear from the dates that both roles continue to the present. Here’s an example:

Link out to your portfolio

Your CV should be around two pages in length. If you’ve worked on lots of small projects or have been self-employed for a long time, it can be difficult to fit your experience on your CV without compromising quality.

Don’t be afraid to link out to certain projects or even your portfolio at the top, right next to your name and contact details in your CV. As CVs are sent digitally these days, it’s easy to link out, so make the most of the opportunity to direct prospective employers to live examples of your work and abilities.

The UK has over 2 million freelancers, and this figure is expected to rise over the coming years as this type of work allows for independence and flexibility. Rest assured that your self-employment and side gigs are legitimate experiences worth shouting about on your CV. Just keep these pointers in mind when documenting the details so you present your abilities in a way that benefits your job application.

Have you effectively included your self-employment on your CV? TopCV’s free, objective critique will tell you how you fared. Submit your CV here.

Outline the nature of your work and services

Like any other role on your CV, it’s worth outlining the nature of your self-employment or side gig. Just below your job title, company and dates of employment, add a couple of lines that summarise what you do, the types of clients you have or the industries you work across, for example.

Don’t feel like you have to go overboard with detail here. Ultimately, you need to give the recruiter a sense of what you’re all about, and, if possible, reference anything that’s in line with the job you’re applying for. For example, if the job you want is within the health care sector and one of your clients sat within this niche, say so.

Tips on how to list self-employment on your resume

1. Give yourself a job title that reflects the nature of your freelance work

Treat this work experience as other independent contractors and other freelancers would on their resumes — give yourself a title that reflects the type of work you were doing during your time of self-employment, and add the word “Contract,” “Consultant,” or “Freelancer” to that title.

2. Consider adding a company name for consistency on your resume

Some people like to provide a company name so the format looks similar to their other work, but that’s entirely up to you and will depend on the degree to which your consulting or freelance business is established.

Related: How to Handle Gaps in Your Employment History

3. Provide a summary of the services you offer

Below your job title and dates of employment, write a blurb that explains the type of work you performed as a freelancer. If you worked for multiple employers, you can mention how you did X, Y, and Z types of work for several clients in A, B, and C industries.

4. Use bullet points to highlight noteworthy projects or clients

If there are any particular projects you worked on that demonstrate your marketable skills and achievements, use bullet points to call attention to this relevant work underneath the blurb I suggested below.

How to Put Self-Employed on Your Resume

A. Give yourself a job title

Treat self-employment just like your any other jobs before. Just like traditional work, you need a job title. Make sure that it is right and it reflects the nature of your job. Avoid writing “self-employed” or “self-work.” Use a functional job title like writer, artist, or web designer. Just remember to use the term that best suits your duties.

If it is your first time to write a resume and apply, don’t worry. Here are some terms you can add on your job title:

  • Contractor (e.g., independent contractor)
  • Consultant (e.g., legal consultant)
  • Freelancer (e.g., freelancer designer)
  • President, CEO, Company Owner

B. Create your company name

Just like above you need a company name in every job position. This maintains the resume’s consistency. Again, consider the nature of your work. If you’re having difficulty, use any freelance business name generator. This will give you a bunch of available options.

If you are a freelancer, opt to list your client’s business names. Before you do this, make sure the company acknowledges you. Write the point of contact whom you’ve worked with. There’s a chance their human resources can’t verify your involvement.

C. Write inclusive dates

The reason behind this tip is to avoid the employment gap on the resume. Patching this up is better than leaving your work history with gaps. These are clearly red flags to employers, especially if you don’t have a valid reason behind them.

Your self-employed years are evidence of your career progress. So, before writing your resume, check out our resume writing tips.

D. List your offered services and highlight notable projects and clients

It is with great importance that you list the works you performed. In this part, be more specific. The employers need to see the specific services you rendered to your clients. Doing so will help employers see what you can offer to them.

Moreover, you highlight notable projects and clients on the inclusive dates. Use visual enhancers to highlight these such as bullet points. Use strong action words and power keywords.

Additional sections you can add to highlight your self-employment experience

Other things that might belong on your resume and fall under self-employment include:


If they’re significant (you don’t need to list every three-hour online course you’ve ever completed) and relevant to the position you’re applying for, you can list certifications in the education, projects, or additional section of your resume.


If you’ve been published in a journal, newspaper, or other reputable source, feel free to list these publications on your resume. Again, keep it to a small handful of the most relevant publications. A few strong examples can demonstrate your authority in your field and provide an additional ‘reference’ to back up your expertise.


If you work in a field like programming, writing, or design, it’s often standard to include a link to your portfolio. Make sure your portfolio examples are strong and relevant — your portfolio should be a selling point, not a distraction.

Community outreach

If you’re heavily involved in your professional community — through speaking at conferences, performing community outreach, or volunteering — you can list this on your resume provided it’s relevant and strengthens your candidacy.

Client references

Avoid including these directly on your resume, but think about who could be your references should the company you get hired by ask for them. Direct references are best — while things like testimonials have their place and are useful to collect, most hiring managers will want to speak directly to people who are familiar with your work.

Independent Consulting Jobs

Many professionals find success working as independent consultants for companies that contract for services that were previously done in-house. You can use your self-employment work history to leverage a position with a company in your industry if you’re considering a return to a salaried part-time or 40-hour week position to gain access to employer-paid benefits such as tuition assistance or health insurance.

Obtain prior permission from clients you want to mention by name on your resume or use as references. Hiring managers may reach out to your clients to verify the services you performed and the quality of your work. TopResume suggests including brand names if the products relate to the type of job you’re pursuing. Also, note the type of organization that employs you.


Independent Consultant, Denver, CO | 2015 to present

Offer consulting and web design support for small business startups in the digital health care field. Advise clients on defining their brand and optimizing machine learning in their communications.


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