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The Proper Way to Put Contract Work on a Resume

Job seekers gain professional experience in a variety of ways; not every job seeker relies solely on a nine-to-five job. If you have professional experience as a contract worker, you might struggle with how to include this experience on your resume. Contract work can include freelance projects or short-term positions with organizations. You can format this valuable experience in several ways on your resume.

Short-Term Positions

If you have worked for years as a contracted employee, joining organizations for short-term or per-project work, you can format your work experience section to highlight these positions. Title this section on your resume "Contract Work" or "Short-Term Work." Employers will not look negatively on your job switching, as that is the nature of contract work, and many industries, such as information technology, rely on contract professionals. List these short-term positions in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent position, and include the company name, dates of employment and responsibilities for each position.

Freelance Jobs

Some individuals supplement their full-time work with freelance projects that they complete outside of their full-time position. If you fall into this category, separate your full-time work and freelance, or contract, work into two separate sections on your resume. You can title your sections "Full-Time Experience" and "Freelance Experience," for example. If you are currently working full time, list that section first; if you are not, include the freelance section first. List jobs in reverse chronological order in each section.

Contract Work Mix

Contract workers possess an array of experience. If your contract work experience includes both short-term positions at organizations and freelance projects, then separate these jobs into separate sections with appropriate titles. You want the employer to be able to distinguish between these positions, so including a "Short-Term Work" section followed by a "Freelance Work" section will show the breadth of your experience.

Functional Resume

A functional resume highlights skills sets rather than individual positions, and this can be a useful resume format for a contract worker. If you have a significant amount of full-time experience to include on your resume, stick with the more traditional chronological resume. However, if you are strictly a contract worker, you can separate your experience into skill sets rather than positions to highlight your abilities. Include a "Qualifications" section that lists specific qualifications you have for each position for which you apply. Follow that with a "Professional Experience" section that separates your experience by skill, not job. This eliminates listing dozens of contracted positions on your resume.


Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.