Customizing a freelance designer's resume for a full-time job
April 7, 2014 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Graphic designers who work exclusively as freelancers might or might not reach a point where they want to get full-time jobs, perhaps because it gives them a chance to save up more, or maybe because it offers them a stable paycheck when freelance work is sporadic. Question is, when freelance graphic designers apply for a design job in a creative agency, how do they write a compelling resume?

I am aware that in the case of graphic designers in general and freelance designers in specific, the portfolio is the be all end all of discussion. But the resume does play a part when it comes to the HR gatekeepers who only have the "10-second' glance to spare, and if there is no sign of valuable past experience, then you don't have much of a chance. For that reason alone, how can freelance graphic designers quantify whatever experience they have in terms of bullet-point job responsibilities and tasks and such? Should they cite previous or ongoing clients as references for prospective employers? Do you know of any good examples?
posted by omar.a to Work & Money (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For freelancers, the strength of the resume lies in the names and varieties of clients, and the variety and scope of the projects. Basically, a client list and a synopsis of the projects involved.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:15 AM on April 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

My suggestion is to create a name for your business, so call your business,

Omar.a Designs. Or whatever you like.

Then do what Thorzdad suggests underneath, by listing customers and scope of projects:

-XYZ Company-Developed logo and branding for launch of new Gazingus Pin products.

-ABC Company-Created font and art for their monthly Newsletter, distributed to 10,000 customers monthly.

I would downplay Freelancing, and show that you ran your own business. Be sure to have some patter about why you want to move away from owning your own business.

"I've explored what I can do in a one-man shop, and I'd like to work on larger, more nationally known customers. Additionally, I feel that the energy of working with a team would bring a new dimension to my work."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:29 AM on April 8, 2014

I made that move, and on my resume I listed some of my bigger clients/contracts as their own entry, explained the scope of work and length of contract. I honestly didn't have a very impressive "client list" so I didn't go that route. If you do, by all means.

For smaller, one-off jobs of no-name clients I just lumped them all together under "Owner/Designer, Fontophilic Designs, 2009-Present" and explained the varieties of work and that they were freelance in nature.

The only place where having freelance work really hurts on a resume, is in government or big corporate HR type places, where work experience is a very well defined number of hours worked per week per year. Freelance experience breaks their grading rubrics.

And I can't sing the praises of creative temp agencies enough. Lots of temp-to-hire positions too. No one cares if the temp they're hiring has physical-office-based work experience; you just need to do good work.
posted by fontophilic at 6:58 AM on April 8, 2014

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