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I currently am working as a software developer at a medium-sized enterprise in Germany. Officially I am a freelancer and this is my first job, that I have begun after graduating high-school. I work alongside of my time at college, studying Computer Science. The reason it is freelancing, is that it gives both me and my employer flexibility in terms of working hours and attendance at the office.

My employer is not an IT company and the software development team is just my boss and me (formerly there were two other students, one of them changed departments). I have learned a lot from my two years working with them, though it is not exactly picture-book development and technique that I have come along with. Basically I am doing everything from start to finish for developing the software, architecture, implementation, testing etc. which really taught me how to solve problems, manage time, and communicate problems properly and also deal with the pit falls that can occur.

While I am feeling confident about what I learned it is not a company specialized on software development, so they could not teach me about common practice that should be applied as well as knowledge about tools and programming in general. Actually it was more like the other-way around, because I did my best to learn about these topics. In the (distant) future I want to apply for an actual position as software developer, but I might lack some skills that they would expect for somebody having +2 years experience.

How would I list this job in my resume/CV and would I communicate my skill level properly (both on the CV and in case I would have an interview)?

I believe the correct way, would be calling the position "Software Developer" as this is what I was hired for. In case I would be offered a job interview in the future, I could then tell about all the different aspects of my job.

Please note, the question is not regarding freelancing and how it can be counted as work experience, but about my specific situation working for a non-IT company in an IT field. This is why I would not consider it a duplicate question.

marked as duplicate by IDrinkandIKnowThings, gnat, scaaahu, Masked Man, Alec Sep 29 '15 at 10:40

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Note for those who have seen my question on Programmers SE, that issue is solved and was a momentary issue of a big pile of problems that were to large to gasp at once. Some reading and planning solved it quite fast. – John Sep 18 '15 at 14:34
  • @Chad not really as this is more about the circumstances working in a non IT company, rather than the work being freelancing. – John Sep 18 '15 at 14:47
  • Why does that question not apply here. Your saying it is different is not enough. Why do the answers to that question not apply? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 18 '15 at 15:00
  • @Chad alright the later answers do put more weight on the topic I am dealing with, but they are not about how you actually describe it in a CV. It is more or less obvious that it does count as work experience, with minor deductions depending how much time one spend working. – John Sep 18 '15 at 15:08
  • that is probably because there is no ONE right way to do it. Instead they provide guidance on how you put the experience into your format. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 18 '15 at 15:19
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Well, keep in mind that the job of your CV is to get you to the interview, once you're at the interview you'll have time to communicate what relevant skills you have much much better.

Keeping that in mind. Calling what you did software development is entirely appropriate. When submitting a CV to the company I'd emphasize the relevant skills out of everything you did.

There is no such thing as picture book development, don't undersell yourself. What you did sounds like an actual position in software development. It is perfectly fine to list is as such and elaborate when asked about it in the interview.

I interview people who come from a project based or freelance background all the time - I don't expect them to go into specifics at all. All I care about at the CV level is whether or not there are any red flags and whether or not they have relevant experience.

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Every freelancing job is like a separate job in and of itself, but they're all listed underneath one basic block of "time" in your career so you need to be very meticulous in how you describe what you did. Employers want specific things, but they have a limited way of advertising for them. This translates to 5 years of Widget#, 3 years of Widget Management, etc. What this advertisement can't convey is that beyond the "years of experience" they want someone who demonstrates certain traits and capabilities within those years.

Your way to combat this with freelancing is documentation. Document everything you do for a client/project. Get all of the metrics, list all of the tools, techniques. Describe the problems, the solution and the gain. These should present themselves in a list format:

Widget Project for Cumberbund sales tool 
1.  Created workflow sheets for all cumberbund distribution channels identifying potential discrepancies in purchasing agreements with delivery statements.
2. Created data report to customize analysis of inventory purchase against sales receipts to identify margin discrepancies and shrinkage. Resulted in 35% decrease in purchase-to-market delays of product and 15% decrease in product shrinkage.
3. More metrics, tools used to make data report, worksheets, programs, policies. Whatever you did, list it.

While some of this may seem tedious and mundane to you, the employer wants to see that you did it, that you know what it is, that you know why it's important. Document, document, document. Especially if your work is very specific to a field for which the company is not specialized in. In your specific question it's a non-IT company, and you're listing IT freelance work. This would be just as simple if you had a freelance artist applying for a position doing ad work for a welding company. Your resume needs to be able to convey the skills they are looking for, and it needs to consider the idea that the interviewer may not understand how something might be relevant.

The key is to convey the important information with respect to the specific position and how what you did in your freelance position will benefit this new employer. They may not care that the system you built tracks 35,000 users, but if your system reduced internal call volume of those users by 25% that could be relevant. Target your bullets to the needs that you see advertised.

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    This would certainly show what I did in great detail, but isn't it far to much for a resume? I doubt the HR of any company likes to read many pages of lists documenting everything. I thought a resume/CV should be short and concise. – John Sep 18 '15 at 14:39
  • @John: Once upon a time short and concise was the order of the day, and the first two pages should definitely be on point, on target and as direct as possible. Keep in mind a resume/CV should be targeted so you want your bullet points to be relative to the position for which you're applying. It doesn't need to be wordy, it just needs to convey what you did, what you gained. Sometimes you need to convey why if it demonstrates a skill they're looking for (problem solving, decision making, leadership, etc). – Joel Etherton Sep 18 '15 at 14:52

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