Freelance Resume Guide

In this blog post, we take a look at what you need to keep in mind while creating a freelance resume for software development.

As 2020 slowly approaches its end, the global freelancing market has continued its growth, which has been accelerated by the global pandemic. According to Fortunly, the total freelancing income is almost $1 trillion, with the highest paying jobs being in AI and blockchain development.

Further, many argue that post-COVID-19, freelancers will find even more opportunities to develop lucrative careers thanks to the inherent remote work conditions attached to the industry. More and more companies are on the lookout for freelance developers.

So, how should you optimize your freelance resume in order to stand out and meet their needs more clearly?

Let’s take a closer look at resume writing and optimization methods, as well as how freelance resume optimization will help you going into 2021.

Benefits of Optimizing Your Freelance Developer Resume

Just like optimizing your code makes it work better, optimizing your resume will help you land more job opportunities to advance your career in freelance development.

According to surveys, 70% of US small businesses have worked with freelancers at least once, with 81% planning to do so again. So, whether you’re a junior product designer, a senior programmer, or a UI expert, optimizing your resume is important in order to stand out from the competition.

Here are some of the direct and practical benefits of optimizing your developer’s resume for the freelance market:

  • It gives you the opportunity to reflect on your past professional experience
  • You can clearly outline your strengths and competencies to employers
  • It gives you the ability to optimize and fine-tune your resume for each company that you apply to
  • You will be able to present your writing and communication skills to employers

How to Optimize your Freelance Developer Resume

1. Showcase How Organized You Are

The first thing that will pop out when an interviewer reads your freelance resume is its structure. More specifically, how well-organized and structured the resume is, compared to other candidates.

With a well-structured freelance resume, you’ll be able to attract professional employers who are serious about working with freelance developers. So, some of the sections you should include in your freelance resume are:

  • Professional Experiences (latest to oldest)
  • Skills (Soft and hard, more on this later)
  • Formal Education (Schools you’ve attended)
  • Informal Education (Seminars and conferences)
  • Contact Information (for follow up questions)

Ideally, your freelance resume should not take up more than a single A4 page. According to Small Biz Genius, it takes around six seconds for recruiters to revise a candidate’s resume, with about 250 applications per opening. This can be a challenge for junior developers who have limited experience in writing resumes.

However, limiting your resume to a single page will drastically improve your odds at landing a freelance developer job, as employers would acknowledge your respect for their time.

2. Modify your Resume for Each Employer

Each role is different, and each employer could have different priorities in the skills that they are looking for. For example, one company may place a higher emphasis on QA and testing, and another on back-end development.

Hence, in your freelance resume optimization process, you should make small changes to the document for each company you apply for.

Research the background of the companies you want to apply for and go through their LinkedIn profile and company website before you apply. Gather as much information on the hiring contact for the role, and optimize your resume based on what you find out.

You can successfully apply for many companies by simply rearranging the list of skills and experiences you’ve had so far, highlighting the relevant info based on the employer and role.

3. Opt for a Keyword-Based Writing Style

The general rule of thumb with regard to resume optimization is to implement the so-called KISS (“keep-it-simple-stupid”) writing methodology. This method of writing will allow you to gain more attention from your potential employer.

A good way to optimize your freelance resume in that aspect is to infuse industry-specific keywords and phrases that interviewers are bound to look for.

If the position you apply for places great emphasis on PHP skills and experience, use plenty of PHP-related keywords in your resume. The same applies to full-stack, Android, and other developer positions.

Use the keywords your employer is likely to search for in the document, and you will grab their attention early on as a viable job candidate.

4. Include a Small “About Me” Section

Your resume should be more than just a list of skills and competencies you possess as a freelance developer. At the same time, it should also not become a cover letter or an essay about your persona. You can balance both sides by including a small “about me” section at the very top or bottom of your freelance resume, depending on your preference.

Limit yourself to 3-5 sentences of information about yourself, what you’re good at, and what your future goals are. Coupled with a headshot photograph, your resume will effectively communicate who you are to the employer in a few simple words.

This will significantly add to your resume’s personalization aspect and give a face to your skillset, rather than just presenting you as an available “resource”.

5. Clearly Separate Soft/Hard Skills

Though face-to-face interaction is limited in freelance development, you will still be required to work with others on large-scale team projects. This means that your soft and hard skills should be clearly separated in the resume to allow for a better overview of your competencies.

Soft skills relate to your abilities to cooperate with others, manage your time, lead a team, or otherwise contribute to the project apart from development. Hard skills, on the other hand, relate to coding skills such as JavaScript development, iOS or Android development, or other similar skills.

Make sure to write these down into separate categories to allow the employer to easily gauge your overall ability as a freelance developer. While some companies may need highly-technical coders, others might want to hire people with managerial or leadership skills – so be sure to present both your hard and soft skills separately.

6. Add Links to your Social Profiles

You can also showcase your skills and foresight to employers through online social profiles. The aforementioned LinkedIn is one example and will add to your credibility as a developer, as it lets employers know of your past experience and recommendations.

Further, you should also aim to establish a presence on GitHub and post coding samples there.

Standard Twitter and Facebook profiles can also be added to your freelance resume to allow employers to quickly gauge your personality and how well you’d fit in.

Most importantly, including social profiles in your freelance resume signals that you have nothing to hide, and provides social proof. Use the time between job applications to spruce up your social accounts and optimize them for potential employers looking for additional info about you.

7. Keep your Contact Details Updated

Lastly, while it is not directly related to resume optimization, including your contact information in your freelance resume document is important. Including your contact info within the document will allow potential employers to quickly contact you if they feel you are a good fit, reducing any friction.

Basic information such as your address, phone, email, as well as up-to-date social handles, should be included in your freelance resume. Depending on the type of position you’re applying for (remote, international, in-office, etc.), you may want to include or omit certain contact information.

For example, an overseas employer won’t benefit much from your exact home address, and sharing such info publically may not be a great idea in terms of data privacy. To avoid any miscommunication, be sure to check the functionality of each contact channel before you submit your freelance resume to any employer.

Parting thoughts

Writing and optimizing your freelance developer resume may seem daunting if you’ve never done it before. However, if you stick to a structured approach, it can be done easily.

You will learn to spot your own writing mistakes and get ideas on how to improve your freelance resume once you start working on it. As you get more comfortable in optimizing your resume, you will come to a point where you will be ready to apply for any work you want with minimal changes.

As a freelance developer, you have the option to opt for manual employer outreach or apply to a vetted talent network to get freelance development jobs.

Whichever approach you choose, make sure to add new information to your freelance resume and update it as you develop new skills and experiences. Once you find the right job at the perfect company, the work you put into resume optimization will be worth it.

Next, we cover the various websites you can make use of to find a freelance job. See you on the other side!

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