How to Highlight Your Independent Worker Skills on a Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working independently requires great communication and organizational skills. When applying for a job, it's essential that you highlight your achievements and experience to illustrate your ability to work in an independent role. Understanding the skills that are necessary for an independent employee may help you highlight these abilities on your resume, increasing your chances of obtaining a job interview. In this article, we discuss what an independent employee is, explore what independent worker skills on a resume are, explain why they're important, and share examples of how to showcase them on a resume.

What is an independent employee?

An independent employee is one that prefers to address their responsibilities by themselves. These employees are most effective when they work alone without interruptions and without the expectation of providing regular updates on their progress. Some characteristics of an independent employee include:

  • Prefer to work on projects alone

  • Ability to take on work with little instruction

  • Prefer to work in their own space where they can focus on the task

Related: 18 of the Best-Paying Jobs That Are Independent to Consider

What are independent worker skills on a resume?

Independent worker skills on a resume are the skills that illustrate that an individual can work with little or no supervision. Many job descriptions express the sentiment that the successful candidate exhibits these skills, although sometimes they're somewhat vague regarding the specific skills. Here are some skills that illustrate you can work independently:

Time management skills

The ability to manage your time effectively to complete your tasks and responsibilities is fundamental for an independent employee. Good time management skills mean that you have the ability to manage your day, prioritize the work that it's necessary for you to complete first, and set aside the time required to reduce your workload. When you have excellent time management skills, managers and supervisors feel confident about leaving you to work independently.

Initiative

Initiative means that you don't require constant direction regarding what to do next. It means that you have the ability to appraise the situation, evaluate your work to date, determine what the next step is, and begin working on it, without constantly referring to the supervisor or manager. When you have initiative, employers can be confident in focusing on the end result. There's no need for them to oversee the processes that lead you to an expected result.

Quality control

If you're working independently, it's essential that you can monitor the quality of your work, ensure it's at the standard required, and make changes to maintain a high-quality work standard. Employees that require their supervisors to oversee the quality of their work or to maintain a certain degree of quality are less likely to be effective when working independently.

Problem-solving skills

When you're working independently and a problem arises, you don't have the same network to call on for assistance. This means that problem-solving is essential if you're going to work independently. A proven record of being able to resolve issues that arise on a project shows an employer that they can have confidence that you can overcome any challenges when you're working independently.

Accountability

Accountability is a vital skill for an independent employee, as it shows that you consider yourself responsible for performing your tasks and addressing your duties. Independent employees take responsibility for ensuring they address any gaps in their knowledge or skills that might impede them from being successful. The employer knows that they can trust the person to complete their work in a timely manner and to the necessary standard because they're accountable.

Communication

Although independent employees prefer to work in their own space, this doesn't mean that communication isn't important. It's crucial for independent employees to ask the right questions and communicate effectively to understand the parameters of any project they're working on or want to undertake. Independent employees may work on one aspect of a project, so it's important that they can communicate with the others involved. Also, during emergencies or uncertain situations, knowing when and how to communicate information to a manager is essential.

Related: How to Become an Independent Contractor (With Tips)

Research skills

Independent employees take responsibility for ensuring they have the information necessary to complete the work that the employer allocates them. Sometimes they might require additional information to complete the work, or there may be a gap in their knowledge regarding a specific aspect of the work. In these situations, it's essential that the independent employee has good research skills, so they can remedy both of these cases.

Related: What Is Self-Employment? Definition and Common Types

Importance of working independently

Different personality types work better in different environments. What works for one person may not be ideal for another. For some employees, the opportunity to work independently is essential if they're to produce their best work. These employees are better able to make progress on the task.

For an organization, independent employees are an important part of the workforce. They require less supervision, resources, and training. This enables managers to direct their focus on other aspects of the business or employees that require their assistance or attention. Being able to identify employees that possess the skills to work independently is essential if the organization wants them to work to their highest potential.

Related: How to Become an Independent Consultant (With Tips)

Examples of illustrating you can work independently

Now that you know the skills required to work independently, it's a matter of presenting them on your resume in a way that highlights them to the employer. It's important for you to highlight this by showcasing your previous experience, accomplishments, and training that you not only possess, but have used successfully in previous positions. Here's a list of examples of showcasing these skills on your resume that you can consider using as inspiration when writing your own:

Examples of highlighting skills through your achievements

One of the easiest ways to highlight your skills is through your past achievements and accomplishments in previous positions. Here's a list of ways you can showcase achievements on your resume:

  • Recognized as the remote employee of the month in the monthly employee awards on four occasions during my 12-month contract with Montreal Buy Services.

  • Awarded a full scholarship to study the relationship between employee engagement and managerial input.

  • The community support package that I developed while working in mental health resulted in the number of readmissions to inpatient care falling by 34%.

Examples of highlighting abilities in the professional summary

The professional summary section is an effective place to highlight specific achievements that showcase your ability to work independently. Here are some examples for your review:

  • My research and advice on the benefits of offering flexible working schedules to working parents resulted in the client achieving a 20% increase in employee retention a year after implementing the policy.

  • A flexible working schedule meant that I was able to remain in full-time employment while studying full-time toward my bachelor's degree, which I achieved with honours.

  • I was asked to be part of the pilot remote working group when the company was considering adopting a permanent remote office.

Examples of highlighting skills through work experience

Another way to highlight your skills is to illustrate how you've successfully used the skills in your previous employment. This might be part of your explanation of the responsibilities and duties for a particular role. Here's a list of examples:

  • Reviewed postoperative outcomes in the orthopedic ward to determine the best practices for mobilizing patients after surgery.

  • Developed a research sharing tool I shared with 1,500 remote employees in the organization.

  • Started an extension of the project parameters after showing that redefining the way the company allocated resources for manufacturing might increase productivity by 15%. Negotiated an extension of my contract to complete the work.


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