Whether it is due to the current job market, a need to stay home to care for children or family or the desire to start your own business based on your passion, more and more individuals are becoming self-employed. While being self-employed may provide you with the “luxury” of working from home, being your own boss, or bringing to life a vision, it is hard work.
Many self-employed individuals end up working much longer hours than they did in their corporate position, but it does provide some flexibility and freedom in your life depending on what branch of self-employment you work in.
Self-employment could mean being a freelance writer, independent contractor, or consultant, starting up your own business or shop, or becoming a musician and gig performer.
Experts recommend maintaining an up to date resume, that way if you need to re-enter the corporate world or produce a resume for a potential client everything is at your fingertips.
Whatever your self-employment path, we are here to help you craft the perfect resume to help you land the next contract or attract the next client. Read on for self-employed resume tips and examples.
Resume objective for self-employed individuals
An objective is a standard issue on most professional resumes, but after reading through several articles about self-employment, they all say the objective is not needed.
Dorothy Rawlins, a career coach, recommends replacing your objective with a short bio or profile. This will show potential clients who you are and what you are all about. The profile should make you sound interesting and intriguing.
An article written for Parade suggests you simply ditch the objective and go with the profile idea making sure to include your skills to show off that you’re a professional in your chosen field.
Experienced freelance writer and copy editor who has written for major online publications including Parents Magazine, The New York Post and BabyGaga.com. 15+ years of educational and parenting background working both with children and adults.
Resume skills for a self-employed individual
The skills section on a self-employed resume could be vastly different from person to person.
An individual who has opened their own bakery and excels at wedding cakes is going to have a very different skill section than a freelance graphic designer. That being said, there will most likely be some common ground that almost all self-employed individuals tread upon.
For example, self-directed, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, and delegation. Regardless of career, most self-employed individuals have these skills.
Since you will be applying for jobs within your skillset or career choice you should think about which skills are most likely to land you the job.
If you are a public speaker – what makes you the best? If you are a writer – do you excel at grammar and spelling? Or, if you are a personal chef – what feedback have you been given about your food?
A self-employed resume provides the opportunity for you to highlight the details of your specific abilities and make your skill section highly personal.
Excellent time management | Complete projects on time or early | Adaptable to changes | Detail Oriented | Self-motivated | Creative
Self-employed work experience
A self-employed resume needs to look just as professional as one for any other profession. And in fact, you may have traditional work experience to list.
The articles we referenced suggested listing your corporate experience even if it is unrelated to what you currently do as it shows you have experience in and understanding of the traditional workforce.
After reading through dozens of self-employed resumes, we recognized it was important to give yourself a title for each job. The Self Employed.com goes on to say that you should list the company, time, and a description of work performed.
While you may have many more jobs listed than on a traditional resume, if you are a contractor or self-employed potential clients will understand that. However, if you have dozens, you aren’t expected to list them all.
Maintain a chronological order, but highlight the most relevant or substantial ones in your work experience. This is a case where you may want to have several versions of your resume prepared or have jobs ready to cut and paste.
Sample Work Experience
Freelance Content Writer, 2019
Created web content, marketing blurbs and blog posts to highlight the benefits of using the app to promote math skills for children. In total, wrote more than a dozen pieces that are published on their site.
- Completed each project ahead of time or on schedule
- Followed constructive criticism and editing suggestions
- Completed research as needed and applied it to content
- Used time wisely to maintain productivity
Researcher and Freelance Writer, 2017-2020
Completed extensive research on STEM and its relation to girls and females. Explored socio-economic differences, gender differences, and accessibility. I wrote several articles that were published on their site, and contributed to their start-up marketing campaign.
- Compiled detailed research and logged information in easy to find files
- Suggested themes and topics for center and virtual workshops based on research
- Collaborated with founder and other employees to create content
- Followed detailed instructions to achieve results
Freelance Writer, 2017-2019
Created hotel descriptions, area and activity briefs, and tourist recommendations. Used various travel sites, books, and web content to create detailed hotel listings.
- Utilized various forms of research
- Delivered work on time with little to no edits required
- Compiled information into 1 page briefs for travelers
- Created spreadsheets listing hotel prices, airfare prices and best travel dates
Well this is where the fun starts because if you are self-employed your education could have everything or nothing at all to do what you are currently doing.
Of course if you open up a music store and you have a degree in business, music or music business that’s going to be extremely relevant.
However, if you have a degree in chemistry and decided that now you are going to teach violin and piano lessons that direct correlation may not exist.
That being said, you still want to include your education and academic achievements. For some individuals seeing that someone has a college degree automatically makes them rank higher.
That does not mean you need to have a college degree to be an entrepreneur or self-employed. But it can never hurt to list any education that you have.
Bachelor of Arts in English, 2004-2009
- Minor in Art
Listing courses could be a way to extend your education on your resume, particularly if it is non-traditional education.
You may have taken a course in business, or in english grammar that isn’t reflected in your degree.
There are many sites that offer courses online and many community colleges offer non-credit professional classes as well.
If you are embarking on a new venture or wanting to expand your expertise, taking some courses could not only help you with your self-employment but could reflect well on your resume!
- Effective Business Writing
- The Keys to Effective Writing
Similar to courses this is an area you may or may not need on your self-employed resume. A certification is certainly not required to be self-employed in many disciplines. But for some it would be necessary.
For example, if you are starting your own electrical repair business, you will need an electrician certificate. This information could also be listed under your education experience depending on how or where your certification was obtained.
- Certified Yoga Instructor
Complete self-employed resume sample
SInce being self-employed is an expansive category, we are going to take a look at one possible freelance job posting.
Of course, your job or skills may be vastly different from the sample below, but the set up of the following resume will be similar for any self-employed individual.
This particular post is for a freelance English tutor. It is a part-time job and does specify that applicants with a degree in related fields a plus.
They mention specific skills related to creating curriculum, lessons and tests.
10+ years teaching and tutoring elementary and middle school children in reading, writing, grammar and public speaking. I have worked with native english speakers as well as ESL individuals. My work is published and quoted on educational sites and I have presented writing workshops for adults.
Experience writing curriculum | Attention to Detail | Public Speaking | Time-management | Positive reinforcement & correction | Excellent written skills | Excellent verbal skills | Fluent in Spanish
ABC & Me Educational Services
Freelance English and Writing Tutor, 2013-2020
Worked with children in private and small group settings instructing them in English and writing techniques. Used a combination of prepared lesson prompts and unique material generated by me to conduct lessons.
- Successful increased children’s reading levels by 1 to 3 levels
- Received excellent feedback and reviews from parents
- Created and maintained my own schedule
- Adhered to lesson times and covered all required content
Private English Tutor, 2008 – 2015
Planned, organized and taught private lessons in English grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and writing skills. Primarily worked with children, but also tutored adults. Used gamification to motivate students to reach their goals.
- Developed my own lesson format and assessment procedures
- Created and designed supplemental materials for lessons
- Reinforced work with positive reinforcement
- Communicated with parents progress and activities to do at home
Freelance ESL English Tutor, 2006-2008
Conducted one-on-one lessons with ESL children ages 8-14 on written and spoken English skills. Used positive reinforcement and correction to maintain a positive and fun learning environment.
- Used pre-planned lessons to guide children through English lessons
- Assessed children and chose new activities and lessons based on skill level
- Communicated with parents on progress
- Maintained schedule and timely lessons
- Writing Strategies Certification
Bachelor of Arts in Spanish 2002-2006
- Minor in English Arts
- Study Abroad Program in Brazil
Making the decision to become self-employed is a multilayered choice. For most people there is no easy yes. But once you reach that decision you want to be ready to move full steam ahead.
When you decide to be your own boss the options are endless. You can do anything from opening your own coffee shop to starting your own scuba diving school.
In reviewing the list of self-employed opportunities on smartasset.com I was surprised to see just how many industries reported large numbers of self-employed individuals..
According to Forbes roughly 30% of Americans were self-employed in 2019 with 14% of those being independent contractors and freelancers meaning the other 86% of self-employed individuals work in a vast array of fields.
Key career-specific takeaway
- Self-employed individuals have a vast variety of options
- Education is not always the key to success, but it couldn’t hurt
- You can create your own hours, but be prepared to work long hours at first
Tips from Experts
“Design your business so that it serves your ultimate lifestyle.” – Michael Port, Author, Keynote Speaker, & CEO of Heroic Public Speaking
“If the problem is unemployment then become self-employed. But just do it.” – Kunal Jandial, Mental Health Advocate, Life Coach & Author
“Turning your passion into your job is easier than finding a job that matches your passion.” -Seth Godin, Author & Former Executive
“Whatever you do, be different – that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out.” -Aninta Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop
The numbers of self-employed individuals are continuing to grow, particularly in light of COVID-19. This is a great time to sit back and reflect on your career and what you want from it.
So if you are ready to take the next step, take a look out there and see where your skills and knowledge can take you!