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I've worked full time in a professional field for 15 years. About 5 years ago, almost by accident, I starting making a small additional income from freelance work in a totally unrelated field. This has grown over time to the point where it's effectively an additional 10% on top of my salary and I've had the opportunity to work with some big names in this area. However, these commissions remain occasional. I perhaps do four pieces of freelance work in a month, often for four different clients.

I feel that I now have enough professional experience in my freelance work to apply for full-time work in this area. However, I have no idea how I could go about framing my CV. The traditional format of "employer name - betweeen dates - list skills/achievements" just won't cut it. The work I've done, although high quality and for well-known companies, is far too fragmentary to list in that way. Plus, if I listed it alongside my full-time work it would double the size of my CV and I've always felt keeping it short and sharp was the best way to go.

To further complicate matters, although my full and freelance work are unrelated, a few of the skills are transferable. Not many, but there are occasions I'd need to refer back to my full time job. Even if only to demonstrate that I've held down a successful career in a demanding field for 15 years.

How can I best go about designing a CV for a job based on my fragmentary freelance work?

  • Let me guess, you work full-time in IT and did traduction related freelance work (just curious)? – Jean-François Savard Oct 10 '16 at 17:47
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    @Jean-FrançoisSavard Speaking of traduction, I think you meant translation. ;-) – Carey Gregory Oct 10 '16 at 18:39
  • @CareyGregory Umh, yeah, oops.. :) – Jean-François Savard Oct 10 '16 at 18:42
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    @Jean-FrançoisSavard You're right about the IT, not about the freelance. Sorry to be mysterious about it, but one or two of the people I've worked for on either side have been unhappy about my dual working life, and I've lost income as a result. So I'm a little paranoid about discussing it. – Bob Tway Oct 10 '16 at 19:57
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It's fairly easy: you just list your freelance activities as a single "job" on your resume, alongside your regular full-time employment. Just make sure you make it clear that your "regular" job is marked as full-time.

Senior TPS Report Writer - Company A (2006-present)

  • full-time [job description] ...
  • ...

Freelance Crocodile Wrangler (2011 - Present)

  • [what you did]
  • [things you accomplished]
  • [transferable skills learned]
  • [average hours per month / jobs or clients per year / whatever makes sense for this type of work]

Junior TPS Report Writer - Company B (20xx-2006)

  • ....

You'd need two versions of your CV of course: one that highlights your "normal" career and one that focuses on your freelance activities. To what extent you emphasize or de-emphasize each type of work on each resume will depend on the amount of overlap, the nature of the work and the type of job you're applying for. That's impossible for us to say here without more info.

Generally you want to make sure that your most relevant experience comes first and that you focus on transferable skills or general competencies when you're adding items to your resume that aren't directly related to your main expertise.

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    This answer makes me wish my freelance skill was Crocodile Wrangling :) – Bob Tway Oct 10 '16 at 10:12
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    @BobTway I've been in a similar situation and this is exactly how I structured mine. – Carey Gregory Oct 10 '16 at 18:40
  • The only thing I'd suggest is that if you're trying to get a full time job as a crocodile wrangler, you should list your freelance wrangling the top of your resume and put your full time TPS report writing job second. You don't want a lazy reader to glance at the first item on your work history and discard your resume without reading farther down because they assume your crocodile wrangling experience is either out of date or non-existant. – Dan Neely Oct 10 '16 at 22:55
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    @DanNeely Well that's what the last paragraph of this answer is saying, isn't it? – KPM Oct 10 '16 at 23:05
  • @CareyGregory Same here. I was about to suggest exactly that. – KPM Oct 10 '16 at 23:06

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