Resume Tips

How to List Contract Work on a Resume? Tips and Examples


The freelance economy has been booming for the past couple of years. Independent contractors now account for 38% of America’s workforce and contribute over $1.27 trillion in annual earnings to the country’s economy.  

Being self-employed indeed has its perks — unlimited earning potential, flexible work schedule, and variety in work. At the same time, operating as an independent contractor can also get tiring at times. You have less job security which can lead to gaps in employment and inconsistent earnings.

Whether you’re looking for a new project or considering the return to regular employment, your resume likely needs a refresh. And the natural question you have is: how do I list contract work on the resume in the best way possible?

We break down the resume formatting rules and provide several working examples of how to add contract positions to a resume. 

How To List Contract Work On Resume 

How do I include contract work on a resume? And what about freelance work — what’s the best way to describe it? We get these questions often. There are plenty of resume templates for your listing contract work (like our Freelancer’s template or other creative options!).   

And here are the seven quick steps for listing contract work on a resume. 

1. Decide on Your Resume Format

    The two resume formats are: chronological or functional. In a chronological resume, you’ll list contract work as separate entries in reverse chronological order, adding one contract position after another. 

    Here’s an example of contract positions on a resume: 

    Bookkeeper – Contract 
    Acme Financials LLC
    Jan 2023-present 

    • 12 months, part-time contract with an accounting services provider 
    • Maintain general ledgers for 10 customer accounts 
    • Manage accounts payables (bills, invoices, reimbursements) with high accuracy 

    Bookkeeper/Accountant — Contract 
    Bantra Bookkeepers 
    August 2022-Dec 2022

    • Full-time, 6-month contract position 
    • Handled payroll processing for 8 small-to-medium sized firms 
    • Provided budgeting support and expense management advice. 

    While a chronological resume is generally preferred by HRs, it may not be the best for full-time independent contractors. First, it may reveal some gaps in employment. Secondly, having too many short-term entries, especially when you did some overlapping projects, will either make your resume look too cluttered or too long. Neither is great. 

    So consider going for the second option — a functional resume

    On a functional resume, you can group different entries by industry or project type. Doing so helps you pack more information into one work experience entry to showcase a wider range of skills and competencies. 

    Here’s how such an entry will look on a contractor’s resume: 

    Freelance SEO specialist 
    Self-Employed
    Dec 2019-present 

    • Provide a range of SEO consulting services, primarily to companies in the SaaS space. 
    • Performed a technical SEO audit and made improvements to website architecture, which led to a 25% increase in organic traffic. 
    • Helped re-optimize  App Store/Google Play listing for a mobile banking app, which brought a 15% increase in app installs in 3 months. 

    Skills:

    • Keyword research (Ahrefs, Semrush) 
    • Technical SEO audits 
    • On-page SEO and content optimization 
    • Conversion rate optimization (CRO) 
    • App store optimization (ASO) 
    • Google Analytics 4 certified 

    To maximize the page space, try using a two-column resume design. It lets you display both your contract work entries and leaves room for a resume summary and featured skills section. 

    2. Create Contract Job Entries 

    Once you’ve settled on the resume format, start putting down your work history. 

    For each job entry, you can either use your registered business name, temp agency name, or employer name (if it was a direct contract). If you’re not incorporated, just add “self-employed” or “independent contractor” instead of an employer name. 

    Add a job title plus a “Consultant” or “Contractor” moniker.  Use a general job title that best describes your role e.g., software developer or engineering technician. Then add “Contractor” or “Consultant” after a comma for clarity. 

    List employment dates to clarify the contract duration. For short-term contracts, use the Mo/Year-Mo/Year format. For long-term work, use the Year-Year format. 

    3. Include a General “Contractor” Position 

    To present a credible one-page resume, limit yourself to 3-4 most relevant contract work entries. 

    You can “wrap” the remaining ones under a general “Self-Employed” entry to highlight more projects and achievements. Doing so, both saves you space, plus allows talking about some great freelance, project-based work you did. 

    4. Curate Your Projects  

    If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you have a lot of gigs under your belt. But again — not all of them should be on your resume.

    Always personalize your resume to the job you’re after. For example, if you’re a freelance mobile app developer, after a new ecommerce project, showcase projects from the same industry and/or the ones built with a similar tech stack as the one mentioned in the job ad. You can always showcase more projects on your LinkedIn profile and personal website. 

    Generally, for each job entry, list specific duties and share several accomplishments. Use resume bullet points to improve the readability of your work experience section. Aim for 2-4 bullet points per job entry on your resume.

    Pro tip: Don’t forget to include relevant resume keywords from the job entry to make your resume more compelling. 

    5. Include Portfolio Links 

    A resume gives you limited space for displaying your competencies. But unlike regular employees, you probably have a solid external portfolio of work to display. When listing different projects, you can always drop a link to a respective project (if it’s available publicly) to demonstrate as your work sample. 

    A well-organized portfolio puts your skills in context and demonstrates exactly how you approach work. If you’re an independent contractor in a creative or technical field like graphic design, architecture, videography, journalism, or mobile app development, a portfolio is a must-have! 

    6. Incorporate Client Recommendations 

    While regular employees can only add references to a resume, independent contractors can display glowing client testimonials. First-hand recommendations increase the credibility of all the claims you’re making, dispelling any doubts a hiring manager might have about your qualifications. 

    Here’s an example of how to add contract work on a resume alongside a client recommendation:

    Videographer
    Self-Employed 
    June 2020-present 

    Visual storyteller, specializing in content for beauty, fashion, and sports brands. Produce content for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and interactive DOOH campaigns. 

    Select clients include: Glossier, Lululemon, Uniqlo. 

    “Jemma has the creativity, technical expertise, and strong listening abilities, which make every campaign an absolute success. She always delivers on-time and on-brief results. Highly recommended”. 
    Sarah Tomas, Brand Manager, Sporty Chic 

    Remember: a great client testimonial is short and to the point, commenting on one or two of your main skills and professional characteristics. It doesn’t have to be a page-long letter of recommendation to count! 

    7. Add Extra Skills 

    Still got some space left on your resume? Don’t leave it blank — instead, pack up some of your most marketable skills. 

    You can (and should!) list extra skills alongside contract job entries or your consolidated “self-employed entry”. Alternatively, you can include a features skills section either in your resume header area or as a sidebar if you’re using a two-page resume template. 

    Need some inspiration? Check our features lists of skills to add to a resume:

    Examples of Contract Work on a Resume 

    Showcasing contract work on a resume isn’t much different from styling full-time job entries. Your goal is to articulate your most marketable competencies, main work accomplishments, and general duties front and center. 

    To help you out, our team prepared several sample contract position resume entries for different types of independent work. 

    Full-Time Independent Contractor Resume Entry 

    Below is a sample resume entry for a full-time independent contractor/experienced freelancer, working with several clients at a time. 

    UX/UI designer, Consultant 
    Koch Group
    October 2021-present 

    A UX/UI consultant for mobile financial product development, hired for a 6-month project.  

    • Conducted user research and behavioral studies 
    • Optimized digital account opening process (from 22 to 8 forms) 
    • Reduced churn rates by 15% 

    Lead UX/UI designer, Contractor
    Prosacco LLC
    June 2021-present 

    Joined as the project lead for a team of in-house designers for an online store redesign project. 

    • Worked on-site with the client’s design and marketing team 
    • Provided CRO consultations for product landing pages
    • Re-designed checkout experience — which led to an 8% boost in conversion rates 

    UX Researcher, Consultant
    Berigns Foundation
    October 2020-Present 

    Part-time UX researcher, specializing in web accessibility research and website testing.

    • Verified and compiled new UX best practices for web accessibility 
    • Conducted user studies and focus groups 
    • Delivered a series of workshops for business leaders 

    Resume Sample For Temporary Contract Work 

    This entry shows how you can best showcase temporary contract work alongside regular employment. 

    Production Manager
    Shanahan Movies Inc – Full-Time
    December 2019-present 

    On-set production manager, responsible for managing “below-the-line” crew. Stellar budget management skills, strong time management skills, high levels of personal efficiency, and mental resilience. 

    • Shooting schedules management and coordination  
    • Quality control program development and implementation 
    • Over 50 vetted equipment suppliers on my books 

    Assistant Production Manager
    Faraway Studios – Contract
    June 2019-November 2019 

    Contract-based position to assist during the shooting of the first season of a new travel show. Provided location scouting help and performed coordination on the ground. Liaised with local suppliers, partners, and authorities in Spanish. 

    • Coordinated major project milestones and deadlines 
    • Obtained shooting permits from the local Tourist Bureau 
    • Facilitated relationships with the local show sponsors 

    Freelance production manager
    Self-Employed
    April 2017-present 

    Assisted on a number of short-term commercial shooting projects, primarily for fashion and luxury brands. Organized destination ad campaign shootings in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Facilitated street-style shoots on the ground in NY, Florida, and California. 

    Select clients include Fashion Housing, Ramires, Sana Tea, and Bloomington.  

    Personal website [your website URL] 

    Should I Put Temporary Contracts On My Resume? 

    Yes, if your contract position is relevant to the one you are applying for, do include it on your resume. If not, you can always just add the name of a staffing agency you’ve been with and provide some general descriptions to avoid having glaring employment gaps on your resume. 

    Does Contract Work Look Bad on a Resume?

    Not at all. Having a mix of contract and full-time work positions is pretty much the norm in many industries — and the acceptance levels are growing among HRs. Almost 30% of employees at large organizations are contingent (i.e., hired for temporary contracts as independent contractors). So having contract work on your resume is becoming quite normal. In fact, some employers see a lot of contract work as an advantage. Former independent contractors often have more diverse work experience and a more proactive “let’s make things happen” attitude than full-time office dwellers.

    Final Thoughts 

    In the next couple of years, 66% of businesses plan to hire more independent talent, meaning that more gigs are coming to the market. Dust off your resume and give it a good makeover to score some amazing new client work this year! 

    Author

    • Elena ProkopetsElena Prokopets

      Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice… more



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