Job hunts are possibly one of the most daunting and stressful experiences you are ever likely to go through in your professional career. From the application process and interviews through to the nerve-racking selection verdict, it just doesn’t get any easier. However, there are a few things you can do that can lighten the load and make the whole experience run a little smoother and top of that list is a smashing CV.
Permanent in-house employment allows a sense of professional and financial security that a freelance career often negates but the stigma and risk that was once attach to freelancing is beginning to diminish. In fact by 2020, half of the UK working population is expected to be working in a freelance capacity so it’s more crucial than ever before that you get your CV just right.
Keep it short and sweet – Working as a freelancer means you are probably racking up a pretty hefty portfolio of clients and experience. This doesn’t mean you have to include every single detail on your CV though. Keep the document to a maximum of two pages (one, ideally) so as not to cause the reader to lose interest or become overwhelmed by too much information.
Put your business hat on – When applying for permanent in-house jobs, employers will be looking to gain insight into you as a person in order to assess your suitability for the role, as well as for the company as a whole. However when somebody is looking to recruit a freelancer, they are interested in you as a service more than you as a person. Focus mainly on what you can offer as a full service rather than your own personal attributes.
Put yourself in their shoes – This is a simple trick that can go a long way towards helping you perfect your CV, freelance or otherwise. Imagine the situation from the clients perspective in order to grasp exactly what it is there looking for. Imagine the shoe being on the other foot and think about what information you would want to be given if you were on the hunt for a fantastic freelancer.
Dare to be different – Nobody ever stood out by adopting sheep mentality and following the crowd did they and it’s much the same when it comes to the CV selection process. If you deliver a run of the mill resume that your potential employer has seen a million and one times before, you’ll likely end up tossed into the shredder and forgotten about forever more. However, if you take the time to think outside the box a little, you’ll create a lasting impression that will land you top of the ‘yes’ pile.
Organise chronologically – Displaying your experience in date order, from earliest to most recent will ensure the reader is able to better understand your progression and establish where you’re at professionally. Styles, ambitions and expertise develop and evolve over time and you want the potential employer to be impressed by the current version of you.
Don’t exaggerate – When you’re chasing your dream freelance job and you’re desperate to make a show-stopping first impression, it can be tempting to manipulate the truth a little bit in order to stand a fighting chance against the competition. But we have one word of advice with regards to this – don’t! Inflating the truth will only pile the pressure on you and lead to disappoint for the client further down the line when you cannot deliver on something you previously claimed you could. Just be honest.
Provide access to social media – On the subject of honesty, providing links to your social media channels is a good way to demonstrate openness and transparency to the reader, which are attractive attributes in an employee. Directing the reader to your social platforms is also a great way to show that you are up to date with the digital industry and able to manage an active online presence.
Link to your portfolio – As well as link to social media profiles, it’s also advisable to include a link to your own website or online portfolio. As we mentioned earlier, CVs need to be short and concise, which means you aren’t left with much room to show off everything you can do and have done. Enclosing a link to your site will allow further opportunity to showcase your client list, your skills and most importantly, what you could do for them.
Provide references – Although the content of a freelance CV is a little different to that of a professional looking for in-house and permanent positions, the function is fundamentally the same. The reader is going to want to see that you’re skilled, experienced, trustworthy and hardworking, just like any other prospective employers. Providing them with at least two references is another great way to demonstrate transparency and will project confidence in your own work.
Proofread – The importance of proofreading and checking over your own work has been drilled into your brains from the age of about 5, we know, so being told just one more time can’t do any harm. Spelling mistakes, inconsistent formatting and bad grammar are a sure way to bag yourself a one-way ticket to the ‘no’ pile so make sure you proofread that CV until your eyes begin to turn square!