Is it better to say freelance or self-employed on resume?

When it comes to presenting your work experience on a resume, the choice of words can make a significant impact. One common dilemma that professionals face is whether to use the term "freelancer" or "self-employed" to describe their independent work. In this article, we will explore the difference between being a freelancer and being self-employed, discuss the pros and cons of each option on your resume, and provide guidance on how to choose the right title for your situation.

Table of Contents
  1. Understanding the Difference Between Freelancer and Self-Employed
  2. The Pros and Cons of Listing Freelancer on Your Resume
  3. The Pros and Cons of Listing Self-Employed on Your Resume
  4. How to Choose the Right Title for Your Resume
  5. Key Considerations When Highlighting Freelance or Self-Employed Experience
  6. Conclusion
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. 1. Is it better to say freelance or self-employed on a resume?
    2. 2. How do I decide whether to use freelance or self-employed on my resume?
    3. 3. Can I use both freelance and self-employed on my resume?
    4. 4. Should I include specific projects or clients under my freelance or self-employed experience?

Understanding the Difference Between Freelancer and Self-Employed

While both terms refer to individuals who work for themselves, there is a subtle distinction between being a freelancer and being self-employed.

  • Freelancer: A freelancer is someone who works on a project-by-project basis for multiple clients. They have the freedom to choose the projects they want to work on and typically have a varied portfolio of clients.
  • Self-Employed: Being self-employed means that you are running your own business and are solely responsible for its success. Self-employed individuals often provide services or sell products directly to clients or customers.

The Pros and Cons of Listing Freelancer on Your Resume

Listing "freelancer" on your resume can have its advantages and disadvantages. Let's examine them:

  • Pros:
    • Highlighting your experience as a freelancer demonstrates flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to work with diverse clients and projects.
    • It can showcase your ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and work independently.
  • Cons:
    • Some employers may perceive freelancers as less committed or less reliable than full-time employees.
    • If you are applying for a job that requires a more traditional work structure, listing "freelancer" may not align with the employer's expectations.

The Pros and Cons of Listing Self-Employed on Your Resume

Now, let's explore the advantages and disadvantages of using the term "self-employed" on your resume:

  • Pros:
    • Listing "self-employed" demonstrates entrepreneurship, initiative, and the ability to run your own business.
    • It can showcase your skills in managing clients, marketing, and financial aspects of your business.
  • Cons:
    • Some employers may view self-employment as a lack of stability or prefer candidates with more traditional employment backgrounds.
    • If you are applying for a position that requires working within a team or following a set structure, listing "self-employed" may not align with the employer's expectations.

How to Choose the Right Title for Your Resume

Deciding whether to use "freelancer" or "self-employed" on your resume depends on various factors, including the job you are applying for, the industry, and the employer's preferences. Here are a few considerations to help you make the right choice:

  • Research the company and industry norms to understand what terminology they commonly use.
  • Consider the job requirements and tailor your title to align with the skills and experience sought by the employer.
  • If you have a mix of freelance and self-employed experience, choose the term that best represents the majority of your work.

Key Considerations When Highlighting Freelance or Self-Employed Experience

Regardless of whether you choose to use "freelancer" or "self-employed" on your resume, there are some essential points to consider when highlighting your independent work experience:

  • Showcase relevant projects: Highlight specific projects or clients that are directly related to the job you are applying for. This demonstrates your expertise and ability to deliver results.
  • Quantify achievements: Whenever possible, include measurable achievements or outcomes to showcase the impact of your work.
  • Highlight transferable skills: Emphasize skills gained during your freelance or self-employed experience that are relevant to the desired position.

Conclusion

Deciding whether to use "freelancer" or "self-employed" on your resume is a personal choice that depends on various factors. Consider the job requirements, industry norms, and employer preferences when making your decision. Remember to highlight relevant projects and achievements to demonstrate your value as an independent professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it better to say freelance or self-employed on a resume?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the specific circumstances and the job you are applying for. Research the company and industry standards to make an informed decision.

2. How do I decide whether to use freelance or self-employed on my resume?

Consider the nature of your work, the industry, and the job requirements. Tailor your title to align with the skills and experience sought by the employer.

3. Can I use both freelance and self-employed on my resume?

If you have a mix of freelance and self-employed experience, choose the term that best represents the majority of your work. However, keep in mind that clarity and consistency are essential on a resume.

4. Should I include specific projects or clients under my freelance or self-employed experience?

Absolutely! Highlighting specific projects or clients that are relevant to the job you are applying for can demonstrate your expertise and ability to deliver results. Quantify achievements whenever possible to showcase the impact of your work.

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