There are two ways to describe your work when you work freelance or on a contract basis:
- List the client name as if it were an employer.
- Create a consulting company name for yourself and list your clients under it.
Which way you choose depends on how much you work for any particular client.
- If you work full-time for one company – whether as a freelancer or under contract – list them as your employer. After all, you do work for the company and you were hired. Many companies are hiring people as contractors or freelancers for a variety of reasons. If you’re on payroll, you’re an employee. If you’re not on payroll, then you are a consultant and I recommend that you create a consulting company name and proceed from there. You can say that you work under contract in an interview, if it seems relevant. If you are uncomfortable implying that you are a full-time benefits-receiving employee, I recommend creating a consulting company for yourself and listing the company as a client.
- If you have several clients, make up a company name for yourself. It can be as simple as “My Name Consulting.” You don’t have to have an LLC or be incorporated to call yourself a consulting provider. You also can have a consulting company and have just one client.
Now for title. I have several clients who work as freelancers or contract employees.
- If you are a freelancer, I always recommend saying consultant instead of freelancer – it sounds more professional.
- If you work under a contract or as a full-time freelancer, use the title you either have or would have if you were a full-time employee. Make sure you tell your boss that you want to use a particular title if you don’t already have one. S/he will have suggestions and can tell HR what s/he wants your title to be. This is important in the case of reference checks – you want HR or your boss to back you up on title, or you will probably lose the job offer because you’re perceived as lacking integrity or lying.
Here are examples of both (click on link to PDF):
How are you listing yourself?