3 Reasons Why Freelancers Don't Need A Traditional Resume

When you were in school, a well-rounded resume seemed like the Holy Grail. Extra-curricular activities, internships, grades…you pursued them all for the sake of  ‘the resume.’

But that was probably back when you thought all jobs happened in an office.

Now you’re an independent member of the mobile workforce, handling the marketing, client relations, and yes, the actual work pretty much all on your own.

If it’s been more than six months since you’ve even thought about the state of your traditional resume, you might wonder if there’s even a point in updating it.

And even if you want to build a traditional resume, you’ll probably find that paragraph-long snippets about your objectives and accomplishments hardly does the freelance experience justice.

So why bother? There are much more modern and efficient ways to demonstrate your professional prowess.

Here are 3 reasons why you can feel completely comfortable letting that resume gather dust on your hard drive:

1. Your Clients Don’t Want To Read It

Let’s be honest: no one ever found work because of a piece of paper listing their previous work experience and supposed accomplishments. Independent professionals aren’t seeking traditional jobs, so why would they marketing themselves in a traditional (read: outdated) manner? Clients will come to know you and your work in the same way: by meeting it face to face. When clients consider you for a project, they want to know how you work, what your work looks like, and whether you’ll get the job done right. These are all extensions of your personality, and unless your personality is similar to an 8.5 x 11 in. piece of paper and Times New Roman font, the traditional resume ain’t gonna do it justice.

2. Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words

Prospective clients don’t want to read about your alleged work, they want to see, feel, hear, and touch your actual work. Instead of slaving over a correctly formatted resume, why not create an easily accessible portfolio that demonstrate the true depth and breadth of your passion? I think Megan, a commenter on FreelanceFolder said it best:

“I have had some requests for resumes, and honestly I’m at a bit of a loss as far as why someone hiring a freelancer would want a resume, especially when I, like many freelancers, have a portfolio full of work for them to look at. A portfolio can offer so much more than a resume can, since a portfolio can have not only information on a person’s skills but examples of skills in use, and not only a list of prior employers, but actual examples of work done for those prior employers.”

I would add that you never think to ask a company for its resume, you ask to see examples of its work. And as a freelance professional, you’re a business and should present yourself as such.

3. There Are Websites That Do That

Paper is out, digital is in. Instead of forcing clients to slog through your attached PDF resume, why not provide them with a one-click ticket to a gallery of your work? A blog or personal website is the resume of a 21st century freelancer. If you don’t have the time to set one up, sites like LinkedIn, BranchOut, or ReferralKey are more efficient tools for hosting your work experience in an online format.

The Catch

Not everyone produces work that can be displayed easily in a portfolio or on a blog. Writers or coders are two that immediately spring to mind. In this case, I would suggest getting creative. Like this guy:


Or this one:

Or Miss Smiles at the top of this post.

Your turn: How many times has a traditional resume helped you get work in the past year? What do you use instead?

Image Credits: Flickr – jwynia | Ethan Hein | socialisbetter

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