How to Include Self-Employment on a Resume (With Sample)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 9, 2022 | Published November 5, 2021

Updated September 9, 2022

Published November 5, 2021

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.

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Including self-employment on your resume can increase your chances of getting hired for a job. It communicates to prospective employers that you can think independently and take ownership of your work. Learning how to include self-employment on your resume can help you develop and effective resume and increase your chances of getting hired. In this article, we discuss why it is important to include self-employment on a resume, describe how to include it, highlight the different types of self-employment, and provide a template and example of a resume that lists self-employment to help you create your own.

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

Why is including self-employment on a resume important?

Here are some reasons including self-employment on a resume is important:

It demonstrates self-management and autonomy

Having your own business means you have control over every area of the business and the freedom to pursue work as you choose. Rather than reporting to someone else or operating according to procedures of a company, you are responsible for your own work and make professional decisions on your own. You can establish your own objectives, work-life balance, and vision. Including your experience of being self-employed on your resume demonstrates to your prospective employer that you can take initiative and ownership for your work.

Related: What is a Contract Employee?

It shows your experience with project management

Including self-employment on your resume allows you to demonstrate that you can complete projects effectively. Whether you work alone or on a team, you can describe how you find and apply the most efficient strategies to complete projects. This also demonstrates that you are skilled at solving problems and critical thinking.

It conveys your leadership skills

Being self-employed requires leadership skills to be effective. Incorporating self-employment on your resume can highlight to a potential employer that you have been responsible for yourself and others. Whether applying for a managerial role or as part of a team, you need leadership skills to encourage others to execute tasks on time and to help ensure productivity in your role.

How to write a resume including self-employment

Here is a list of steps you can take to list self-employment on your resume:

1. Start with your contact details

Begin your resume by including your contact details at the top. Include your complete legal name, city and province, phone number, email address, and, if applicable, your professional website. Verify that your contact information is up to date so that any prospective employers can easily contact you.

2. Include an objective or a summary

After your contact information, include either a career summary or a short description of your professional objectives. Most entry-level professionals opt for an objective to highlight their skills and goals, while mid-level and senior professionals typically write a summary of their achievements. Keep this section short and ensure it is only one to two sentences.

3. Describe your job experience

After the objective or summary, you can include a list of relevant work experience, beginning with your most recent position. Mention your employer's name, your position, and the dates of your employment. Then, organize your major duties and contributions into a bulleted list. Use action words to demonstrate your responsibilities and accomplishments to help demonstrate your suitability for the role to which you are applying.

4. Provide an overview of your self-employment history

Summarize all relevant self-employment history in a single entry within the job experience section. Create two or more entries in this area if you have performed freelance or contract work in more than one field. Include your company's name, your role, and your dates of employment in the same format as the work experience section. If you don't have an official business name, try describing your position and state whether you operate as a freelancer or contractor.

Related: How to Write a One-Page Resume (With Tips and an Example)

5. Emphasize your most significant accomplishments and responsibilities

Include a bulleted list of the significant initiatives you completed when discussing your self-employment background. Indicate your primary duties, any notable accomplishments, and, if possible, the client's name. Highlighting important professional successes, such as surpassing personal objectives goals or gaining industry-specific qualifications, can help you make a good impression on the hiring manager.

Related: How To Include Your Projects on Your Resume (With Tips)

6. Highlight your academic accomplishments

Following your job experience, briefly describe your academic achievements, beginning with your highest educational level attained. If you have not completed post-secondary education, include information on your high school diploma or equivalent. Following each diploma or degree, provide the institution's name, graduation date, major, GPA, and any awards you earned.

7. List any certifications you have

You can list your professional certifications in a section separate from your education. Indicate the name of each certificate, the issuing institution, and the date of receipt in this section. Including your credentials on your resume may be an effective approach to demonstrate your level of experience and help validate your skills and knowledge.

8. Compile a list of your hard and soft skills

Next, list your relevant technical and soft skills. Depending on your field, you may want to add the software platforms you work with, the computer languages you are familiar with, or other keywords that prospective clients and employers are looking for. When appropriate, you can also mention your degree of competency for each skill.

9. Incorporate client recommendations

Finally, consider providing references from clients. Include the names, titles, and contact information of current or former clients who have consented to act as references for you. This can increase the level of trust that your potential employer has for you and help them learn further information about you and your work.

Types of self-employment

The following are common types of self-employment:

Freelancer

A freelancer is an individual who works without a set employer and can have contracts with numerous clients at a time. Freelancers have the ability to choose their clients and the scope of work they accept, giving them more flexibility in working hours, their rate of pay, and responsibilities. In many situations, freelancers also have the option of working remotely, which adds to the freedom they experience while being self-employed. Some common freelancing roles are:

  • photographers

  • graphic designers

  • copywriters and editors

  • web developers

  • journalists

Related: Freelance vs. Self Employed Work: What's the Difference?

Independent contractor

An independent contractor is similar to a freelancer, and they operate on a contractual basis. This means that they have an agreement with a business to work with them for a defined amount of time or on a particular project, with the client exercising complete control over the project's result. Independent contractors usually have the same level of flexibility as freelancers but operate to fulfill the client's unique requirements. Typically, the contractor and the customer have an agreement on the compensation structure between them.

Sole proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a form of business in which an individual is self-employed. Freelancers are technically sole proprietors. As a sole proprietor, you are subject to province-specific restrictions. Your province may impose taxation on sole proprietors or require a licence to operate. You can verify your province's regulations to ensure you aren't breaching any regulations.

Self-employed resume template

Here is a template for a self-employed resume to help you create your own:

[Name]
[City and province]
[Phone number]
[Email address]
[Website]

[Objective or summary]
[Brief description of your career goals or short summary of your professional accomplishments]

[Experience]
[Title, Company: Employment dates]
[Bullet list that includes your responsibilities and contributions for each role, including a separate entry for your self-employment experience]

[Education]
[Degree, University: Graduation date]
[Mention of your major, GPA and honours you received]

[Certifications]
[List of any professional certifications you hold]

[Skills]
[List of relevant soft and technical skills]

Self-employed resume example

The following example demonstrates how to incorporate self-employment on your resume:

John Smith
Montreal, QC
418-555-7878
john.smith@email.com
johnsmith.com

Summary
Data-driven digital marketer with three years of corporate experience and five years of experience operating my own agency. Specialist in social media, search engine marketing, and search engine optimization.

Experience
Owner, John Smith Marketing: 2014 to present

  • Create search engine marketing campaigns using online advertising for clients in the health and wellness industries. Contributed to a 25% increase in annual revenue for client, Quebec Wellness.

  • Develop social media marketing strategies. Helped client, QC Beauty, gain 10,000 social media followers in one month, and helped client, Luxury Seven, achieve 3 million in organic reach in one week.

  • Write SEO content for health, wellness, and beauty clients. Contributed to a 900% increase in organic website traffic for client, Green Health Partners.

Search Engine Marketing Specialist, QC Clicks: 2013-2014

  • Designed search engine marketing campaigns using online advertising

  • Wrote copy and edited creative elements for beauty clients

  • Monitored advertising metrics and optimized campaigns to maximize results

Junior Digital Marketer, Miller Marketing: 2012-2013

  • Assisted with developing social media marketing campaigns

  • Created quarterly social media reports to track goals and monitor progress

  • Drafted copy for social media ads

Education
Bachelor of Arts, Green Acre University: 2012

  • Marketing major

  • Communications minor

  • GPA: 3.8

Certifications

  • Online Ads Certification: 2016

  • Online Display Certification: 2014

Skills

  • Copywriting

  • Project management

  • Search engine marketing

  • Search engine optimization

  • Social media advertising

  • Social media marketing


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