How do you address consulting or self-employed jobs on your resume? These days, many people work for at least part of their careers in contract, self-employed, or consultant jobs. But could these jobs hurt your resume? Though each job may be short in duration and there may be many of them, they don’t represent “job hopping” in the traditional sense. Consultant, self-employment, and contract jobs are supposed to be short-term and are supposed to involve many different clients. However, if you list each employer separately and your work for each only lasts a month or two, your resume will give the impression you do jump from job to job. You do not want that to happen. Instead, group all of your contract or consulting clients under a single category. For example, Contract Positions or Consulting. Each employer then becomes a separate bullet point under that category. Another approach, particularly if you are self-employed, is to provide an overall company name for yourself; a freelance web designer might call himself “ABC Web Design.” Your company is treated like any other company on the resume and your position is (for example) founder and president.
Great news! You’ve landed either a contract or temp job, which suddenly has taken so much stress off of you from looking for a job. Now, you can pay the bills, settle in, and concentrate your focus on getting up to speed and making valuable contributions. But what’s the worst thing that can happen at this point? Becoming complacent in this moment of opportunity. But first, let’s be clear. Contract or temporary work does NOT guarantee a permanent job at the company in the future. It is exactly that: a stretch of employment that has a finite end to it, and you’re going to have to deal with an end point sooner or later. But despite not being a permanent employee, you have something vastly more powerful in your career arsenal right now than the unemployed job seekers:
- You have a foot in the door.
- You are a known quantity.
- And you have a chance to prove yourself.
Many job seekers look for full-time employment after spending a year or more at temporary or part-time jobs, sometimes working for several different agencies or volunteering their services. On their resume, they worry these experiences make them seem like job hoppers or undesirable full-time employees. In fact, part-time, temporary or volunteer work, especially work in your field or that keeps your skills fresh, shows your dedication and flexibility. It may broaden your appeal to companies in industries you never considered before if you include them the right way on your resume. In your resume, group these jobs under one title to create a unified history. Perhaps you’ve worked at several part-time jobs in restaurants as a waiter; you could group that experience under Part-Time Work in Restaurant Industry. If you worked for a temporary or contract agency, list the companies you worked for under your group title (Contract Engineer)—not the agencies. The experience you are highlighting is the valuable experience of working for multiple industries. You might be able to group your temporary, contract or part-time jobs as Freelance or Consulting Positions. You are contributing your job skills in exactly that way: you go from one company to the next, complete each job efficiently and then move on again. As for volunteer positions, companies are very aware of the leadership skills, teamwork and commitment that volunteer work requires. Create a section of your resume for Community Service and give yourself credit. Photo Credit: Shutterstock