4 Tips to Optimize Your Freelance Applications

At Space Chimp, our hiring process is quite tedious. After all, we take pride in only accepting the top 1% of global freelance talent into our community – and nothing short of it. Each day, we receive endless applications from freelancers who are hopeful of joining our Space Chimp community. We carefully review every application, each website and well thought-out pitches. Along the way, we’ve seen some incredible resumes and portfolios – and some bizarre ones as well.

Throughout our recruitment process, we have developed a trained eye when it comes to knowing which freelancers will knock projects out of the park. To those that we second-guess, we politely bid farewell too.

We might be sticklers, but don’t worry – we are here to help! At Space Chimp, we want to let you in on a few tips that some freelancers might overlook while applying for freelance communities or projects. So, let’s get to it! Freelancers – listen up.

  1. You don’t have a website? We need to talk.

A resume tells people that you’re great. However, a website shows people that you’re great. Whether you are a graphic designer, illustrator, marketing expert or copywriter, it’s so incredibly important to include your website during the application process. Even if your work and talents aren’t visually driven, having an appealing website is an important asset and proves that you are up-to-date with industry norms. In fact – at Space Chimp, the first thing we do while reviewing applications is look for a website link. We know we’re not the only ones.

Your website says so much about you and is the main form of evidence which suggests that your resume does in fact accurately represent you. If you are a designer, UI/UX expert or brand strategist, your website should definitely support that. If your talents are less visual, such as a copywriter or marketer, it’s still important to have a modern website to showcase your ability to impress your audience and represent your personal brand.

Don’t have a website? Does this make you feel guilty? Don’t worry. Check out our blog post on the 7 easiest website builder sites for freelancers. Regardless of your budget or technical expertise, there’s certainly a website builder that’s perfect for you. Don’t be shy – get started with your new website so you can finally get noticed and get to work!

2. Keep it cool, keep it current.

If you are a skilled freelancer, chances are that you’ve been perfecting your craft for years on end. Your portfolio and website will obviously present your expertise, but one thing is for sure – hiring managers tend to focus and value recent projects over those done over 5+ years ago. The reasoning behind this is simple – achieving industry standard means that your talents are evolving constantly and can keep up with the ever-changing marketplace. The projects that you had worked on in college many years ago might not accurately reflect the talents that are current this year. Don’t refrain from keeping your website up-to-date and be proud to showcase your recent talents and projects. Reflect who you are today.

Need inspiration? Check out how users on Dribbble showcase their work. You might notice that the most popular and influential freelancer profiles on Dribbble tend to update their content quite frequently.

3. Go ahead, drop a name.

Have you designed a tiny advertisement for Target? Did you design a Snapchat filter? Did your team work on an advertisement for Campbell’s Soup that your mom loved? Let’s hear about it. Don’t be afraid to boast. The companies and brands that you support can say a lot about your level of expertise and industry knowledge. When hiring managers are skimming over resumes and portfolios, they tend to seek big names in business to determine the talent potency of a freelancer.

It’s no surprise that working with big companies can give you a big edge. However, keep in mind that including smaller businesses can actually add to a positive impression. For instance, if you’re a serial app developer who loves to focus on creating awesome applications for new startup companies, let it be known! Although working with big companies does tend to suggest that you are talent that is well sought after, working with startups can also provide an advantage as it suggests that you are an innovator and that you aren’t afraid to build awesome solutions from the ground up.

Whether you have experience with well-known brands, or simply enjoy working with underground or upcoming companies, mentioning previous clients in your resume, portfolio or website will give hiring managers a different perspective on your talents as a freelancer.

4. Creative resumes are in, traditional black and white resumes are out.

Ah – resumes. The most picked-apart and adjusted piece of paper known to man. When applying as a creative freelancer, it can seem as if your resume is directly correlated to your career’s fate. However, even though a resume is non-surprisingly a staple aspect of the application process, norms are changing. If you are a creative freelancer and your resume is still a dull black-and-white document slathered in bullet points and Times New Roman font, it’s time to switch things up a bit. Want to stand out to a hiring manager? Ditch your boring resume and invest in a creative resume!

A creative resume is essentially a resume that is visually unique and allows you to highlight your skills and experience in a manner that is more visually appealing and engaging than a traditional resume that simply lists your employment history. Creative resumes are dynamic, and allow freelancers to showcase their individual style and talents. At Space Chimp, we’ve seen some pretty impressive creative resumes that give us a glance into a freelancer’s world in an artistic and informative way. A beautifully designed creative resume is refreshing and memorable.

Whether it be the incorporation of infographics, iconography or a mastered use of typography and color pairings, a creative resume can make your first impression a memorable one that allows you to showcase your individual talents.

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Conclusion

We know that there is plenty of puzzle pieces to fit together while applying for freelance work. Whether it be making sure your website is tuned up perfectly or that the headshot in your creative resume doesn’t seem “too much”, we understand that there is a lot to think about when seeking new projects (we’ve been there). Whether you are in our community of freelancers or you are an aspiring partner working on your skills and portfolio, we know that finding and evolving an identity for your freelancer brand is important to you.

If you would like and feedback on your portfolio, website or resume, feel free to drop us a line for advice. We would be happy to glance them over and provide you with some constructive feedback.

Are you a hiring manager and have tips to relay to the freelance world? Are you a freelancer who has made huge application mistakes in the past? We want to hear from you!

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