Does a freelancer need a resume?

From Kristen Fischer’s forthcoming book, When Talent Isn’t Enough, the question of whether and when freelancers need a resume. What do you think?

When you become a creative professional, you tend to fall out of job-hunting mentality. Instead of targeting open positions like you used to do, you look at the companies you want to work for—hiring or not—and then pitch them.

It’s a smart tactic that creative professionals should deploy, but don’t stretch your sights too far from the corporate world. A resume is still essential whether you’re job-hunting or not.

I hear from countless creatives that believe their corporate days are behind them, yet many want to work for some of the top brands. How do you work for a company as an indie when you don’t speak corporate, though? That’s where the resume comes in. It lets you speak the language of big business—but it doesn’t have to be too stuffy in order to do that.

You can be as right-brained as possible, but having a left-brained resume is your ticket to securing clients. It can be useful not only when trying to approach a company about freelancing. When put on your website, a resume can also enhance your image overall.


Even when a company is not hiring a full-timer, they often want a resume from a prospective contractor in order to learn about their credentials. Therefore, while having a glistening portfolio is a must-have, a resume can be just as essential. Hey, some folks are old school and they also want a brief summary of your professional experience that a biography and clips just can’t provide.

Dig out your resume and take a peek at it. Is it tailored towards your 9-to-5 life? Have you switched gears into a more creative career? How can the material there translate to what you do now as a creative professional?

Mull it over, friends. In my next post, I’ll share some tips for how to draft a resume that speaks to corporations yet still allows you to thrive as an independent creative solopreneur.

What do you think?

Kristen Fischer is a copywriter and journalist based at the Jersey Shore. Her book, When Talent Isn’t Enough: Business Basics for the Creatively Inclined, is due out in stores during January 2013. For more information, visit

4 thoughts on “Does a freelancer need a resume?

  1. Darsey Landoe

    Piqued my interest! I wonder whether you’ll address traditional chronological resumes or skills-based ones. As a freelancer, I’m working on a skills-based resume to highlight what I do over where I’ve been (though I’ve been in some pretty cool places).

  2. Candace Nicholson

    I’m creative traditionalist I guess because I don’t think resumes have gone the way of the dodo yet. I have a freelance resume specifically for gigs with large companies looking for a freelancer or contractor to take on work. It’s not too different from my 9-to-5 resume — I use a functional resume for 9-to-5 job searches too — and I always tailor it for the prospective gig/client.

    I have clients who are interested in my medical editing and writing background, so I make sure those Big Pharma jobs and companies are listed. For music journalism, I make sure my freelance staff writer position for a music website is always near the top. Partner the resume with my best clips for the position and voila! My (offline) portfolio even includes my freelance resume in the front, along with references.

    I’m certainly interested in seeing the example(s) in your next post. Who knows? I may be doing it all wrong. And I’m always eager to hear how others are approaching something differently.

  3. Latte

    I have not updated my resume since I landed my (very stable) in-house designer position almost eight years ago. I’ve gained lots of new skills and experiences, and I don’t even know if I had to do a resume now if I’d do them justice! Very anxious to see the next post! 🙂