How do you format freelance consulting work on a resume?
April 23, 2013 4:30 PM   Subscribe

I've had a few freelance consulting projects for the past few months, and now I want to get a full-time job again. I'm having trouble figuring out how to put the consulting work on my resume. Hoping for suggestions.

I work in marketing, and most of my work experience has been typical full-time positions with large companies.

I left my job 3 months ago, and for the past 3 months, I have been taking freelance consulting gigs (also in marketing). I consulted for a non-profit, for a local small business, and for a programmer who has created a fashion app that he plans to build a future business around. There was some overlap as far as the types of things I did for them, but there were a lot of differences too (I only did market research for one of them; I only created a social media strategy for one of them, and so on.)

I have no idea how to list/format these jobs on my resume. I've spent a lot of time googling for how to format consulting work on a resume, but haven't found anything helpful.

Each of these jobs took about a month and a half, so they all overlapped partly in time. I'm most confused about how to format the third one - I was advising an individual person, not a business. What's more, with that gig, there are no results yet that I can point to, because he hasn't launched the business yet.

Has anyone else had to put this kind of piecemeal freelance work on a resume? Any suggestions for formatting?
posted by galenka to Work & Money (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also, I'm nervous that it won't be clear I was consulting, that it might just look like I was bouncing around from random job to random job. Wondering how I can make this clear.
posted by galenka at 4:32 PM on April 23, 2013

Name of Marketing Freelance Gig • Spring 2013
Freelance Designer/Consultant
Assert three major accomplishments/achievements. Lead with the one that makes this position distinct from the others.

Repeat until all jobs have been described.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 4:34 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

My resume is in what I think is called a "functional" format instead of a chronological one. Although I did it for different reasons than what you've got, it could work for your situation. Basically, you list all the tasks/responsibilities/improvements you made or did at your various places of employment, including your freelance work. Then you just list your places of employment in a simple list with dates of from when to when.

I did mine that way because my tasks at every job I've had in my field have been pretty much the same, and I didn't want to have to list the same thing over and over again, which would cause me to leave out some other bits.
posted by LionIndex at 4:37 PM on April 23, 2013

What I'd do is something like this:

Freelance Consulting * Nov. 2012 - Present
* Client 1: Tasks and outcome
* Client 2: Tasks and outcome
* Client 3: Tasks and outcome

If you're uncomfortable with using a phrase like "Freelance Consulting," you can also dub yourself Owner/CEO/Sole Proprietor/President of Galenka Consulting or similar.

I've been doing freelance work for so long now that all I have is a select projects list. Don't feel obligated to list every little thing you did, just the things you're proud of and would like to talk about, or that demonstrate relevant skills.
posted by Andrhia at 4:52 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Marketing consultant, Jan. 2013-present
Created a social media strategy, researched markets, and did whatever else for clients that included a mid-sized nonprofit, a local retail business, and a technology startup.

Copywriter or whatever, NameofEmployer, March 2010-Jan. 2013
What you did, etc.

This is the formula I used on my resume after years of consulting, and no one had problems with it.

There's no need to name the clients unless they're impressive or easily recognized. Naming companies no one has ever heard of would take up space and draw attention away from what you actually did, which is more important.

I would avoid the word "freelance" entirely. It sounds cheap to me. If you think "marketing consultant" doesn't sound self-employed enough, maybe you could say "Independent marketing consultant."
posted by ceiba at 5:31 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I do what Andrhia is suggesting, more or less. I don't list all my clients, just the 3 that are most relevant to whatever I'm applying for and capture them under a header with the name of my consulting business. My latest version went like this:

Name of my company, City, ST (2005 to 2007)
Communication consulting services for non-profit groups and ethical small businesses
• Clients included the This Organization (TO), This Other Organization (TOO), and This Third Organization Too (TTOT) [all of which I know the place I'm applying to knows and respects]
• Provided support and management for a Prestigious Funding Agent research project that examined the impact of cuts to social services funding on women in the That Big City
• Winner of the 2010 National Association of My Specialty award for best whatzit for TTOT's "Thingama Bob"
posted by looli at 7:24 PM on April 23, 2013

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