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If you’re a professional who performs consulting or freelance work on the side or in-between jobs, include the experience on your resume to give employers a well-rounded view of your abilities. In particular, highlight contract gigs that showcase the skills that pertain to the type of position you’re currently seeking.
If you’ve performed contract work for two or three clients, list them individually on your resume, much like you would a traditional employer. Put them in the chronological mix of your employment history, noting the name of the employer, the work performed, the dates of employment, and put the term “contract” in parenthesis to indicate it was not a permanent position. This is an especially helpful technique if you used contract work to support yourself between employers, as it helps eliminate gaps on your resume.
If you worked with a number clients in a consulting or contract capacity, create a “contract work” heading on your resume. You may opt to list this at the top of your employment history section, or at the end. Base your decision on how recent your contract gigs were, how impressive they look, and how relevant the work was to the job you’re seeking. List the company name along with a brief description. “ABC Company -- Marketing plan development.”
If you worked as an independent contractor for an employer over several years, list the job as you would a regular full-time position on your resume. The fact that you were not officially on the payroll as a regular employee, but rather, as a contract employee, is not relevant to your job search. List the name of the employer in chronological order with your other work history, include your dates of employment and list your position as “contractor” or “consultant.”
Small Business Ownership
If you spent several years self-employed with numerous, ongoing overlapping, regular gigs, you fall into the small business owner or sole proprietor category. Make the most of this by highlighting your self-employed stint on your resume. If you had a name for your operation, use that, or your DBA, or simply use the heading, “Self Employment.” Write a brief overview of the services you provided and give a partial list of your most impressive clients.
Address Potential Concerns
An employer might question whether your side work is an on-going practice with the potential to create a conflict of interest or negatively affect a full-time job. Write a cover letter to accompany your resume that provides an introduction and an overview of your work history. Specifically address your contract gigs to allay any fears. “As you’ll see, I was self-employed for several years while I attended college, and I learned a great deal about self-motivation and perseverance."
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Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.