Career Warrior Podcast #301) How Should I Include Contract Work on My Resume?
The episode kicks off with the fundamental principles of clarity and demonstrating value. We stress that regardless of whether your experience is contract-based, it is crucial to showcase your ability to perform the job at hand.
Next, we explore the nuances of presenting contract work on your resume. Transparency is a key aspect, and we discuss various strategies to highlight the contractual nature of your previous roles. One approach we recommend is placing the words “Contract Work” in parentheses next to your job title, not only to provide clarity but also to counter any assumptions of job hopping.
Additionally, we explore the benefits of using a two-tier resume format when you have held multiple roles, allowing you to clearly distinguish between full-time and contract experiences.
Chris Villanueva 0:00
If you’re having contract experience or not, you want to make sure that you include accomplishments, results and numbers on that. And find out how you can transfer those experiences going forward.
LinkedIn presents: and welcome to the Let’s Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast. If your goal is to transition to more meaningful work, achieve better pay or reach that flow state at work, this is your podcast. My name is Chris Villanueva, the founder of Let’s Eat, Grandma, the resume service that puts customers first.
Today we have a minisode, where I asked a commonly asked question, however specific about your job search documents? How do I include contract work on my resume? Maybe you were a 1099, Freelancer, Consultant, not-officially-employed-but-dating-an-organization, or you just simply work for yourself? This is a good question to ask and I get it from many job seekers who are either looking to continue their freelance work or looking to secure something more official with a company. Some cool things about contract work, being a contractor does present a better opportunity, I think, in many cases to present your accomplishments than perhaps a regular type of employment.
For example, I’m always telling you folks to be accomplishment oriented. But if you are either running your own business, or a freelancer or you had a contract with a company, you were hired more often than not to accomplish a specific thing. This also proves that you are focused on an end goal. So I like to think of your freelance work as a good thing. So use it to your advantage and do not be shy. But how do we include freelance work on our resumes, this becomes a tricky thing. Oftentimes, when we have perhaps mixed experiences on our resumes, perhaps we have had some contract experience in some experience fully employed with an organization. And oftentimes, it becomes very hard to include this under documents.
So I have a three step process here when it comes to thinking about how to include contract work on our resumes. But before we get kicked into that process, those three steps, I want to encourage you to go check out our website, letseatgrandma.com/podcast, we have so many goodies there that I would not want you to miss out, you can check that out by heading on over to your browser and typing in letseatgrandma.com/podcast, we have plenty of resources available for you if you’re looking to truly get your resume written or do it yourself.
Alright, so I was doing a project with my brother the other day on how to improve the customer experience improvement is a really important value for me. So I’m always thinking about ways to improve our experience and to improve our company said before I worked on this project, my mind was filled with these ideas and hopes and dreams obsessions, and a bunch of different questions on what we can do to make such an improvement. I probably spent hours in my head, mostly wasting time or ruminating on thoughts and ideas. But then I met with my brother in a quiet room and we began to talk about one specific thing. And that was the goal of this project. I know a lot of us who have we’ve had freelance work, we were focused on goals and objectives and things like that for our clients. But what about in our own lives?
Well, I ended up whiteboarding with my brother, the three top objectives we had for our Customer Success program, and we ended up coming up with some really good ideas. But most of all, I had clarity, and I had more efficiency going forward in working on the documents to help build up our organization. So that’s the very first step in the process that I will tell you to do when it comes to your resume, and even your job search in general, is get clear on your objective and what you’re trying to achieve here with your resume. Are you trying to use this resume or your job search to secure more contract jobs with higher pay? Are you looking to gain willful employment for an awesome organization with a great company culture with benefits? etc? What are you looking to do with this resume that you have? Where are you looking to apply and where what types of position titles are you looking for here? So that’s always step one. When it comes to the resume, I tell you this, knowing how much easier it becomes to write your resume in any sort of job search document when you’ve done some soul searching here.
The second thing you’re going to want to do when it comes to conveying your contract work on your resume is whatever freelance positions, whatever things that you’ve done before in the past, however small you want to get clear, you’re on what value you’ve not only demonstrated for that client, but how it will impact your future client going forward. So let us just take an example of me, say I have worked at a marketing my own marketing agency, I build something up on my resume that says Villanueva Marketing Agency and I picked up two clients over the last six months or so. And, you know, let’s say I want to take this resume, and I want to start applying for some full time marketing jobs. But obviously, I would tell you, regardless, if you’re going to if you’re having a contract experience or not, you want to make sure that you include accomplishments, results and numbers on that, and find out how you can transfer those experiences going forward.
Now, I have so many other podcast episodes on this. And if you’ve been listening to me, for a while now you know how much I prize in value accomplishment based resumes, and getting clear. But those first two steps I cannot skip, because I know a lot of job seekers just aren’t doing them. And just make sure you have that taken care of before moving on to step three.
Step three for how to include your contract work on your resume, once you’ve gotten clear on exactly what you want, and to gotten clear on what value you’ve demonstrated for that past freelance jobs, whether that be your position, or working for another company. The third thing you want to do is to take care of the nuances of contract work on your resume. Now it can get tricky. The resume writing industry was built for a reason. And that’s how to finesse and wordsmith and figure out how to convey things in a smooth way that looks good on a resume. And one question that we often get is do I need to show that a particular job was a contract position. Now more than likely, I say yes, because I’m all about transparency these days, and it just becomes so much easier to be open about and, and to talk about in an interview. If you convey that it was contract experience. You don’t have to call it out big time necessarily. But remember that at the end of the day, at the end of the day, contract work is relevant work. So all you need to do is simply put the words contract or contract work in parentheses next to your job title. The other benefit of saying that a particular role was contract work is making sure that you don’t come across as a job hopper. And now, if you’ve racked up a bunch of contract positions, you may run the risk of looking like a job hopper just from having a bunch of different positions. But if you make a call out that this was contract work, then you immediately overcome this issue.
Another thing that you can do in your contract work resume here, or if you have to include contract work or going to is consider a two-tier resume. This was really good advice that I got from my professor in college about 15 years ago, who recommended a two-tier resume in some cases. Now what you can do in this case is you could include one section of your resume that says professional experiences. And then you can include another section that says contract work or freelance work or something like that. Now, by dividing your resume to two tiers, you can potentially push the things that you want to push to the top of the resume if you want. So for in this instance, I’m imagining your professional experiences being at the top if that’s something that you want to show, and it could give some clarity on your career history. This is something that can be useful if you need to distinguish between your contract work and your non contract work. We’ve done this for plenty of clients and it has worked for them to their advantage. You don’t have to do that, but it’s a tool you have at your disposal to showcase the things you want to showcase.
The third question we get is should I showcase my companies and or clients on my contract work? Yes, and I would recommend doing so if these companies you’ve worked for or these clients that you’ve served are either irrelevant or big names that would impress somebody. Heck, I had a creative director client who worked on a music video for Mariah Carey and I just thought that was awesome. And of course I’ve had clients who have worked for big name, Fortune 50 companies. And if you have permission to disclose these things, definitely include that because not only does it look impressive, it can be eye catching, but it also can show up in applicant tracking system scans. I’m not speaking for every person who has an ATS, but you can actually search and scan a resume to see if they’ve worked with or for a particular company. The fourth thing that you can do this is the fourth nuance to consider when it comes to contract work on your resume is hyper tailoring, hyper tailoring your contract or freelance or entrepreneurial work, you can do this this is one of the big benefits of having experience that is perhaps a little bit more flexible in nature is you have the ability more than ever to control and shape how that experience is communicated.
Now I’m not saying to be a total, what’s the word be a total chameleon and say that it was one experience when it was another. I’m not saying to be dishonest but you can shape that role in a particular way that looks good and relevant and targeted for whatever role you’re applying for. Do you have room in your last position to change your position title? For instance, for example, if you have the position title consultant, on your resume, maybe you can change the keyword to marketing consultant, or you can at least put parentheses marketing next to the position title consultant. This is a really easy, quick fix way to get that relevance on your resume in a place where hiring managers are looking, and heck, this may be just the one thing that gets you called into an interview. Just try that out. And again, we’re not trying to embellish or exaggerate on our resumes. We’re trying to be transparent and tell the truth. But ask yourself again, if there’s some wiggle room to change up that position, title or at least the keywords surrounding it.
Alright, this wraps it up for today. This was my how to include contract or freelance work on your resume. And I hope this was useful information for you. I’m speaking directly to the people who have this in the resumes and they may be unsure or unconfident about the way that it looks, I encourage you to go to our website letseatgrandma.com/podcast. Again, that’s if you want to check out any of our free resources or consider working with a resume writer. I always love love, love getting podcast guests who come full circle and we ended up meeting them later.
So thanks so much for tuning in to Episode 301. I’ll see you next week live career warrior podcast and before you go remember, if you’re not seeing the results you want in your job search our highly trained team of professional resume writers here at Let’s Eat, Grandma can help head on over to letseatgrandma.com/podcast to get a free resume critique and $70 off any one of our resume writing packages. We talk all the time on the show about the importance of being targeted in your job search and with our unique writing process and focus on individual attention. You’ll get a resume cover letter and LinkedIn profile that are highly customized and tailored to your goals to help you get hired faster. Again, head on over to letseatgrandma.com/podcast. Thanks and I’ll see you next time
Transcribed by https://otter.ai