Do Freelancers Need a Resume?
If you've come from the traditional employment world, there's a good chance that you have a resume. For years I didn't use a resume at all, so the one that I had was completely outdated. I don't think you need to have a resume to get started with any type of freelancing, but I do think it can be beneficial to have one on hand.
The Benefits of Having a Resume
The reason that it can be beneficial to have one is even though most of your clients won't ask for it, some of your more traditional clients like a digital marketing agency or a company that's hiring a freelancer for the first time won't know any other way to evaluate you.
When I have been pitching on jobs in places like Flex Jobs or found through other online remote work sites, a lot of them do ask for a resume. Or perhaps you connect with someone on LinkedIn and they respond, hey yeah sure, send me your resume and a couple of samples. You can post your resume up on Indeed, clarifying that you are looking for a freelance or contract opportunities.
Don’t Make It Complicated
If you do decide to create a resume, it doesn’t have to be complicated. My resume is very simple in a Word document; no fancy design or pictures or color, or anything like that. It's very much a recap of things that are most relevant to the type of job or freelance opportunity that I might be applying for.
It's a good idea to update your resume from time to time, perhaps by saving it on Dropbox where you can edit it direct from your Dropbox account, or in Google Drive so you can quickly update it with new accomplishments, certifications, clients and education. Put a reminder on your calendar once a quarter to go in and update your resume. That way, if a client asks for it, you have a resume that is up-to-date and you don’t have to spend hours upon hours creating one.
A Resume is Not the Be All, End All of Freelance Marketing
In general, most clients will not care about your resume. They will care about your pitch, they might ask for a cover letter, they might want to see what past clients have had to say about working with you. A resume is not the be all and end all, but it can be useful to have an up-to-date resume on hand to streamline your pitching process.