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Resume Writing - How To List Self Employment On Your Resume

Aug 20, 2008
Being self-employed comes with many challenges determining your niche, finding clients, having adequate insurance, hiring additional help, etc.

To succeed as a freelancer, contractor or a new business owner, you have to have determination, passion and patience, much of the same characteristics you need to successfully hunt for a new job. So why is self-employment on a resume a concern for your potential employer?

Listing self-employment on your resume when looking for full-time job can raise questions for your potential employer. They will ask questions such as:

1.Were self-employed because you were in between jobs, or because you wanted to start your own business rather than work for a corporation?

2.Are you still working on your own, as a freelancer or a consultant? If so, do you intent to continue this work in addition to your full time job?

3.Is your self-employment presenting a conflict of interest for the company?

4.Are you working as a freelancer or a contractor on part-time basis, and never intend to have this replace full-time employment?

5.Does your long-term career goal include owning your own business?

All of these questions are valid from your potential employer's point of view. Companies do not want to hire you, train you and provide you with benefits only to have you quit after a year to start your own business.

This is the main reason previous or current self-employment raises red flags for the hiring organizations. The best way to address any self-employment on your resume is to highlight the positives of working as a freelancer or managing your own business. It is important that your resume includes employment history that is honest and relevant to your career goals.

If you pick up a freelance project infrequently and do not intend to make this a full time career, you can omit any such experience from your resume. The only time you would list occasional freelance work on your resume is if it allows you to fill any gaps in your professional experience.

If you have worked as a contractor for a period longer than three months, or if you have ever owned your own business, it is important that you indicate that on your resume. Highlight those attributes of the job experience that qualify you as a perfect candidate for the job that you are seeking.

Your job responsibilities should be listed in the same way as they are for any other full-time job you've held; focus on those responsibilities which best meet your career objective and quantify your achievements when possible.

Exemplify your self-starter attitude under the Qualifications section of your resume. Make sure to list any employability skills you have acquired or strengthened while you were self employed.

As a final indication of your commitment to the job you are seeking. Make sure that your cover letter or email addresses anticipated concerns of your potential employer. Make references to anything on your resume that may raise questions.

If you still own your own business, but are looking for full-time work, for example, make sure to let your employer know what your long-term professional goals are and how you intend to balance your roles at both businesses.

Don't apologize for being self-employed. Your resume and cover letter should present you as a credible and passionate professional. Focus on the positive experiences and skills you have acquired as a freelancer, and make sure to let the employer know how these will benefit the company if you are their chosen candidate.
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