I work in a creative industry where it is common to use permalancers and I'm unsure how to list my job history.

I worked full-time staff at an organization for 5 years, was laid-off, freelanced for a variety of companies for a couple of years, was called back to freelance at the original full-time job, which turned into a 12-year stint -- the majority of which was paid contract, with the last few years salaried. That job ended 3 years ago and since then I have been freelancing for different companies, but want to go back to full-time staff.

How can I set up my LinkedIn experience section to accurately reflect my work history while at the same time not portray myself purely as a freelancer since I was effectively (although not acknowledged as) as employee on staff for the same company for 17 years?

Currently I've listed my freelance business first and included the clients I worked for after the original lay-off, the 12-year permalancer spot next, and then the 5-year full-time period last. I've been told this makes the freelance history look exceptionally long and that might work against me in my search for a full-time role. However, if I cut the freelance period down to 3 years, would I have to cut the names of the clients from the earlier freelance stint?


Given that you don't want an extensive freelancing period on your CV, I simply wouldn't refer to the 12 year period as freelancing at all (in my mind, "freelancing" at just one company for a decade doesn't really cover what most people think of freelancing anyway.)

I'd put it down as a normal period of work, and then explain in the description that this started as a freelancing role and later turned into a permanent one.

  • This answer may apply more to my situation and how I need to frame my experience. Then I could just title the last 3 years as independent, and still list the client names from the first freelance period years ago? Some of these clients are no longer in business, and though I don't want to draw attention to that, I think I need the names to flesh out the time frame. – Darla May 16 '17 at 0:03

I list it as working for a sole proprietorship. For example, if your name is John Doe, and you do graphic design, you can honestly say that you worked as a designer for John Doe Graphic Design for those years. It can help if you have a DBA (doing business as) name, but regardless, look at yourself as a small business owner with years of experience, rather than a freelancer for many other businesses.

  • ah, that is a great work-around that I didn't think of! I do have my freelance work period listed as "Independent." Unfortunately I don't have a DBA, and I am concerned that recruiters might think that since I've been my own boss for so long, I won't be comfortable taking direction from a superior. Also, my ability to be a "team-player" could come into question if I'm trying to get back on staff. – Darla May 15 '17 at 23:51

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