How to List Contract Work on Resume (2 Examples)

Contracting is a great way to gain career experience through exposure to multiple jobs and employers.

However, most people don't know how to put their contracting experience on their resumes.

In this article, I will show you 2 examples of a contractor resume: one for those who use a staffing agency and one for freelance contractors.

Contractor resume example 1 (no staffing agency):

Software Engineer - Contractor
Microsoft, Seattle (January - June 2020)
As a software engineer, I was responsible for the design and implementation of the payroll system used internally by the company.

  • Developed the software in record 6 months and within budget.
  • Implemented both the frontend and the backend while also being responsible for gathering user requirements.
  • Technologies used: C#, Javascript, React, SQL Server, Azure Cloud

How to list contract work on a resume:

  1. Include an entry with your job title followed by "Contractor".
  2. Add the company name and its location.
  3. Include the starting and end date of your contracting experience.
  4. Add a small paragraph with your job responsibilities and project(s) you worked on.
  5. Use bullets to detail your contracting achievements.
  6. List contract work in chronological order.
  7. Be precise, use numbers, and quantify‌ everything.
  8. Use keywords to bypass application tracking systems.

What if I used a staffing agency?

In that case, you need to make a few changes:

Here's an example of a job section using a staffing agency.

Contractor resume example 2 (using staffing agency):

Staffing Pros - New York City
I've been partnering with Staffing Pros for 2 years, offering my project management skills as a contractor to help companies finish their projects on time.

Project Manager - Contractor
Manhattan Media, New York City (October 2019 - Present)
Responsible for managing the implementation of marketing campaigns for clients.

  • Overseeing a team of 12 people including designers, copywriters and marketers.
  • Planned and managed a $5M campaign for IBM.

Project Manager - Contractor
Big Engineering, New York City (January - October 2019)
Managed the development of a new toy product for children.

  • Oversaw the design phase of the product leading to a 45% decrease in manufacturing costs per unit.
  • The project was 25% under budget and completed 3 months early.

Should you group your contract work?

If most of your job history is contract work, then group it together. And ‌definitely group work you've done under the same staffing agency.

If you only had a few contract jobs throughout your career, then it's ok to keep them separated.

Should you list all your contracting jobs?

It's not uncommon for contractors to work two, three, or even more gigs on any giving year. If you've had a long contracting career, then it's ok to abbreviate each gig.

Summarize your responsibilities and achievements for each job down to a small paragraph and skip the bullet points.

That said, some contracting jobs might not be relevant anymore, especially if you have a long career. You don't want your resume to read like an autobiography.

Is including contract work on your resume bad for you?

Some people worry that including all their contract work in their resume will make them look like job hoppers.

They think employers will not risk hiring a previous contractor because they might get bored quickly and move on.

However, not including those jobs will make it hard to explain job gaps, which is much worse. Also, there is no longer a stigma in contracting. We live in a gig economy after all.

Tailor your resume for each position you apply

This is a rule for good resume writing. You want to tailor your resume as much as possible to each position you apply for.

It might not be practical to change it for each company, but at least try to have a few versions of your resume in hand for each position type.

You don't need to create 100 versions of your resume. But having four or five will definitely help you.

Some resume writing tips

When writing ‌your contracting experience, focus on your accomplishments. Quantify your results and always use specific numbers to show your impact.

Show, don't tell. Employers want to know how the skills and knowledge you gained while contracting will benefit them.

Tip: If the dates for each gig are short enough, you may omit them completely.

Explain why you're going into regular employment

If you want to get out of contracting then you need to have a plausible explanation why.

You don't want your prospects to think you're just desperate for any job. Or that you will go back into contracting once you have better options.

Explain you're looking for career stability and want to invest your time in a long-term project where you can have a higher impact.

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