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For the last 9 years I've pursued an extremely conventional IT career path with jobs of 2 - 3 years with increasing responsibilities. As such, my CV nicely represents a "reverse pyramid", with the best part of half a page of achievements from my recently left consulting role down to 3 lines for my first 1st Line role.

However, I've now decided to move into freelancing. My first contract has been an extremely short individual project and I'm struggling to find the best way to represent it on my CV.

For example, the first line of my old job is "Delivered [xx] solutions to [xx] customers, working as project lead". Whereas, of course, I've basically done one thing in this role.

Additionally, while I believe I've delivered well, I've ultimately delivered a single project to specification. This is something I've spent the last 3 years doing as an employed consultant, so it feels a bit hollow on my CV.

I've been considering breaking out some of my other achievements, and making them more generic under my profile. I.e., "Over the last [x] years, I've delivered [x]" rather than listing them individually.

Is this acceptable? Or do I just need to deal with going from a "big" job to a little one? Is there a better way to handle this transition?

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When I started out as a consultant, I got the advice to not describe what jobs I'd held. Instead, I'd describe what I had actually been doing in those jobs as projects.

In a traditional CV, I might write that I worked 1998-2005 at an ISP, where I was senior sysadmin and worked with mail servers, web servers, [...] including upgrades, systems and cluster design and setup, scripting, [...].

For my consultant CV, I'd split it up, like so:

  • 1998-1999 Postmaster, 3rd line support for mail systems
  • 2000-2005 Senior sysadmin, specifically responsible for all customer mail services
  • 2000 Technical lead in project to implement a load balancer built in Erlang to the existing mail system. This included writing test specs, testing (both function and performance), working closely with the developers of the system.
  • 2001 Upgrading existing qmail servers to new hardware, including making the technical spec, etc.
  • [...]

That way, everything I've done during those jobs gets presented as separate projects - which, in effect, they were. If you rewrite your CV to match that, the latest short project won't stand out as something very different. You are still truthful, you are just presenting the truth in a manner that matches what you do now.

If what you did was basically 3 years of the same project - then you can still split it up, unless you did exactly the same thing every week of those three years. You may have started out helping make the specs, gone on to choose hardware, install hardware, install OS, develop the app, testing, and so on... which you can split up where it seems reasonably natural to do so.

Of course, if you did spend three years doing the exact same thing, then you shouldn't try to fake three separate projects. Instead, rock the fact that you can work well both in long-term positions and in shorter projects and do well in both.

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It sounds like your current "big" job is freelancing in general, not this first project. If you're writing this resume for companies that might hire you as an employee, I might add bullets about your experience with the less-traditionally IT parts of freelancing (like customer acquisition) that you also had to work on, which can demonstrate affability and strong communication skills. If you're writing this resume for potential clients of your freelance business, I'd leave your freelance off the resume until you have more to say; after all, they'll already know you're a freelancer, and you can explain your first contract elsewhere, including in your first meeting. From what you've said, your past experience as listed on your resume should be sufficient to prove your competence.

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