How to optimise your CV for a freelance career
Estelle Liotard works as a freelance writer at a paper writing service and an editor at a custom dissertation writing service. She enjoys living a freelance lifestyle and says that she will never return to office work. She keeps growing as a professional in her field and striving to achieve her big career goals. Here she offers advice on how to optimise your CV for a freelance career.
A freelance career is a dream for many mums
What about you? Have you ever considered choosing a remote work over traditional employment? The chances are the recent world events and COVID-19 lockdown have made you think about starting a freelance career. Being a freelancer means being able to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Isn’t that what mums are striving for? To succeed in freelancing, you should create an account on one of the existing freelance platforms and write a compelling CV. Here are my top tips on how to craft the perfect CV and win the clients’ attention.
Choose a skills-based CV format
If you want to get your CV noticed, don’t focus on a work history – focus on your skills. When it comes to freelancing, clients are not so interested to know how long the applicant worked for different companies. It is more important to know whether an applicant has the skills necessary to make their project a success. In case if you have already written your CV in a traditional format, I suggest you do the following:
● Replace the list of workplaces with the list of your skills.
● Don’t specify how much time you worked for each employer.
As a freelancer, you can work on a few projects simultaneously. One project can last for one week, the second one, a month, and the third one, a year. Traditional employment and freelance are two different things, so that you can’t use a standard resume when searching for freelance jobs.
Use keywords to optimise your CV
We live in a world where everything is automated, including the recruiting process. Gone are those days when hiring managers read each and every CV they get. Today, recruiters read only those CVs, which were chosen by ATS (applicant tracking system) software. To get a freelance job, you should create a keyword-optimised CV. You will need to include the keywords relevant to the job you apply for in the “skills” and “experience” sections of your resume. Let’s say you are a content writer. Take a look at the screenshot below and imagine that you are applying for the job described. What keywords should you use to make sure that your resume will get past ATS initial check?
Here is a list of the relevant keywords to include in your CV:
● Content writer
● Product description writer
● Social media content writer
● Social media manager
● Fashion writer
● Jewellery brands
● Fashion companies
Keep in mind that you should incorporate keywords in your CV naturally. Don’t add keywords for the sake of it! It will make your resume look like it was written by a robot, not a human. Overuse of keywords might help you to trick the ATS software, but it will not allow you to trick hiring managers. If you misuse keywords, you will not get invited for an interview.
Write about time management skills & self-discipline
In the world of freelancing, it’s not enough to prove that you are a great professional in your field. It’s also necessary to demonstrate that you have great time management skills and self-discipline. Let’s be honest. Not everyone can become a freelancer. Some people just can’t stay organised working from home, co-working spaces, or busy coffee shops. Employers know that. For this reason, they pay attention not only to work experience and professional achievements but also to freelance-related skills.
If you want to be considered for an interview, add the following skills to your CV:
● High communication skills
● Time management skills
● Collaboration and teamwork skill
● Organisational skills
● Passion for learning
● Critical thinking
● Stress management skills
Keep your CV short and simple
Do you want to make a good impression on an employer? Keep your CV short and concise. As the saying goes, brevity is the soul of wit. Don’t write about everything you’ve ever done before and after taking a career break to have children. Focus on the most important and relevant skills – that will be enough to prove that you are the best candidate. You should remember that your prospective employer is a busy person. Don’t expect him or her to read your 5-page-long CV. Create a compelling one-page CV that briefly explains why you are a perfect fit for the job.
What information should freelancers exclude from their CVs?
● Any outdated information
● Irrelevant skills (don’t write that you have outstanding web design skills if you
apply for a data analysis expert job)
● Wordy phrases
● Sophisticated, rarely-used words
Don’t skip proofreading
We are mums, and we are always busy. Sometimes we forget to complete simple tasks like unloading the washing machine or buying milk. And when it comes to CV writing, we tend to forget about proofreading. However, proofreading is an important task. If you don’t complete it, you will not get a job. You should reread your CV at least two times to make sure that you haven’t made any typos. What will happen if you don’t fix grammar mistakes and typos? Well, if you misspell the keywords, your CV will not pass the ATS check. If you make multiple typos in a one-page CV, the hiring manager will suppose that you are an inattentive person and that you don’t fit the job. We highly suggest you use online grammar checkers like Grammarly. These tools will help you to spot your mistakes and improve your writing.
Don’t overdo the design
Trying to grab the employers’ attention, some freelancers make their CVs look too catchy. Don’t overuse quirky fonts, bright colours, and other decorative elements. Your CV will look more like a wedding or birthday invitation than a professionally written document.
If you want your freelance career dreams to come true, strive for simplicity – create a simple CV design:
● Use a clean outline
● Keep your sentences short
● Choose simple, readable fonts (for instance, Georgia, Helvetica, Arial)
● Relevantly add headlines to each section
● Use bulleted lists where possible
● Keep paragraphs short
Customise your CV
Let’s make it clear. You can’t design one CV and send it to dozens of potential employers. It doesn’t work this way. Before applying for a chosen freelance job, you should tweak your CV a bit to make it a perfect fit for the position described. Let’s say you are a blog writer. You have vast experience in various niches. Today you want to apply for two jobs: fashion blog post writer and travel blog writer. Applying for the first job, you should put your fashion blogging experience first, and travel blogging experience second. Applying for the second job, you should do the opposite. Basically, you don’t need to rewrite your CV. You just need to make small edits to convince hiring managers that you are the candidate they are looking for.
The freelance job market opens new opportunities for you and your family. Don’t hesitate to explore these opportunities and take advantage of them. Optimise your CV today – take this simple step, and you will find the job of your dreams. You can do it!