When you review thousands of resumes a year like I do, you see all kinds of crazy stuff. Sadly, your resume will not have a better shot if it’s circular. Or pink. Or uses a zillion fonts. It’s a cute technique when used by Reese Witherspoon ala Legally Blond. Not so much for an interactive designer.
So when you’re a creative freelancer, what’s the best way to make your resume stand out? Here are five quick tips for highlighting your stellar creative skills.
1. Create a skills-based resume. Group projects together that highlight your top skill sets. For example, a freelance copywriter might group together different types of projects (websites, case studies, white papers, etc.) while a freelance designer might break their resume into the different types of design (microsites, advertising, etc.) or by skill types (design, project management, etc.)
2. Don’t limit yourself to just one resume. If you’re pursuing work for both agency and client-side projects, for example, create two different versions of your resume tailored to each audience. Highlight the experience that will be most appealing to each of these. Agencies likely want to see variety of work, and even better if you’ve interfaced directly with a client to win a project. Client-side hiring managers generally respond well to depth of experience in their field or project type. Be sure to pull out your relevant experience for each.
3. Explain your role. Hiring managers want to know not just that you can create appealing deliverables, but that those deliverables support their brand and business goals. Briefly explain your contribution to each project and whenever possible, always include business results of a project. Did that online campaign generate 50,000 unique visitors to the site? Put that in your resume! And if you don’t know, ask. (Note: In your portfolio you’ll then want to explain the thought process behind the creation of key deliverables.)
4. Show your best stuff. Your resume needn’t be in chronological order (unless you’re seeking a full-time or management role where you need to show the client you can STAY in a job and/or that you’re promotion material!). Regardless, highlight the work you’re most proud of and make your most important accomplishments stand out. Hiring managers don’t want to have to sift through reams of information to see if you’re a fit. If they have to work too hard to get the information they need, they’ll quickly move on to the next resume.
5. Give them more. You don’t need to cram everything onto one page. Include a call to action to visit your online portfolio or request additional samples. Just make sure what you DO give them hits the hot buttons for their particular opportunity so you get a shot to give them EVEN more by making it to an interview!
Looking for ways to improve your freelance resume? We’re here to help! Ask your Vitamin T agent to provide feedback on your resume.